Submission Challenge (Minneapolis) – 2015
I entered two advanced no-gi weight classes, 170 lb. and 185 lb. (at and one above my weight class). I won both, which helped alleviate some lingering self-doubt from the ADCC trials. In both matches at 170 I pulled guard and finished with a quick submission. In the first I worked a rubber guard game since my opponent’s posture was a little low and finished with a gogoplata from half-guard. In the second match I used my opponent’s butterfly guard pass attempt to set up a triangle choke (first a “bolt-lock” or reverse triangle that I switched to a traditional triangle). At 185, I had 3 much longer matches. I was able to finish my first opponent with a judo-style armbar from turtle after missing close toehold and omoplata attempts that showed me some things I need to work on. My second opponent would not engage no matter what I tried, finally after 9 minutes of trying to give up position just to get the match started, I gave up full back with hooks and reversed the position to finish with a rear-naked choke. In my last match I secured full figure-four grapevine control early in the match but my opponent had several great defenses, I was finally able to finish with an inverted heel hook after a long game of footsies.
ADCC North American Trials – 2015
I traveled to Coconut Creek, Florida for the North American continent ADCC qualifying tournament. Unfortunately, I lost to a Peruvian necktie in the first round. I learned a lot by competing and watching what should easily be one of the most stacked tournaments of the year and hope to give it another shot sometime. I wish I had one or two big areas of my game to work on, but I have probably 100 tiny things to work on, which means a lot of work to get ready for the next one.
Submission Challenge (Council Bluffs) – 2015
I placed first in the welterweight purple-black belt no-gi division after winning a wild overtime match with an accomplished competitor and securing a calf slicer set up as a reversal to my opponent’s twister roll (technique featured in the Turtle Position Review video).
(Video Coming Soon)
Submission Challenge (Des Moines) – 2014
I placed second in the open (combined) weight purple-black belt no-gi division at my second Submission Challenge tournament (name changed from Midwest Submission Challenge). I won my first two matches with an armless triangle choke and armbar that was set up with a kimura. I lost the final match after separating my rib at the beginning of the match. I thought for sure if I just laid there long enough I would think of an attack that my rib would allow me to do but eventually tapped to one of the many good choke attempts my opponent was throwing at me.
Midwest Submission Challenge (Des Moines) – 2013
My first (of many) submission-only tournaments, love this format and I’m glad it is becoming so popular. I won the 170lb advanced no-gi division by pulling guard, moving to half, and finishing with a toehold in both matches (not very creative). I also got a gi match in that I won with a keylock using a “cookie jar” setup after hitting a pendulum sweep.
Victory Grappling Challenge – 2013
I went out to Omaha to compete in an open weight no-gi tournament with a $1,000 cash prize. I placed second in my weight after winning by submission (I’ll check what it was when I upload the video) and losing a 0-0 match by advantage. I did okay in the open weight but couldn’t even get on the podium in a very stacked field (apparently $1,000 is just enough to enlist a variety of accomplished competitors). In the open division, I finished my first opponent (a heavy weight) by RNC, won by advantage against another heavy weight, and submitted the guy from my weight class again. I was then kicked out of contention for the cash when I lost by armbar to a 3x world champion and then lost the 3rd place match (need to check the video to remember how).
(Video Coming Soon)
NAGA Minneapolis – 2013
After a bit of a layoff from competition, a friend talked me into going up to Minneapolis for my first (still only) NAGA. I was glad he did, I had fun competing in a NAGA, very well ran and what are now an old school rule set. I won the 170lb advanced no-gi with a quick heel hook and a rear (“trash compactor”) triangle armbar after thinking I already won by toehold (exactly the same finishes as my previous tournament).
MFL Grappling Open – 2011
Normally you wouldn’t think a grappling tournament in a country western bar would attract much talent, but the Midwest Fight League entered the world of no-gi grappling tournaments in style by offering an AR-15 assault rifle (around $800 value) to the winner of each advanced division weight class. Another thing that made this tournament cool: Carl Edwards, a NASCAR driver, competed in the beginner division. I won my first two matches by rear-triangle armbar and inverted heel hook against some fairly talented competitors only to lose to my instructor at the time by submission. He got an assault rifle, I got a very cheap grey plastic medal.
Midwest Grappling Open – 2010
I placed runner-up in both the advanced no-gi division and blue belt gi division in this tournament. In no-gi, I won by toehold (video below) and lost by mounted triangle, both were great competitors that I knew at the time and are still active today. In gi, I won by points and lost by points. The video below shows the very end of my gi loss, where I am trying frantically to secure a submission. This is one of the few gi competitions I have entered; the matches from this tournament started to tilt me towards no-gi competition which is essentially all I chose to compete in today. I remember how much fun the no-gi matches were, I was actually smiling a few times because of all the action. The gi matches, however, were slow and way too strategic (read: points-oriented and heavy stalling). Another thing I learned: if you put the word “fail” in a youtube video title, it will get over 10x the views of another video from the same tournament.
MMA Big Show – 2010
This was my last MMA fight. I wanted to step-up in competition to see if I should go all-in on the MMA thing, I got the chance in a pro fight against Roger Bowling. At the time he had a 6-0 pro record, all by quick first round stoppages, and had just signed a StrikeForce contract. I did okay, I secured a takedown and had a great opportunity to finish a choke and I was the first person to take him to the second round. After this fight I decided I had the chin and maybe the talent to pursue an MMA career, but I also had a more sure thing as I was finishing grad school and could pursue a more traditional career while still training what had become a true passion: BJJ.
Week of the Eagles – 2009
After placing 2nd in 2007, I won the Fort Campbell Combatives Tournament (Week of the Eagles) in 2009. This was a unique format, the first rounds were submission matches with uniforms on (so essentially a gi match), the semifinals were Pancrase rules (limited kicks and punches), and the finals were full MMA rules. Below is the final match, which ended by RNC. I’m sorry for the bad shadow boxing at the end.
Bassfield Fallen Heroes Tournament – 2008
I won my weight and the open division of this Army Combatives tournament. The first two matches were by armbar (warning: I dubbed some corny music to the videos below). I don’t have video for the other matches, but I know I had a toehold and maybe RNC finish. I used a can-opener to pass guard in the first match; I think it was just a more violent time of my life.
We had some official tournaments in the army, but the most fun I had was the few weeks in Kuwait while waiting to begin my deployment to Iraq. The first day I rolled with a couple of marines and they started spreading the word within their unit: every night after that I was challenged to uphold the honor of the army (versus the marine corps) with an audience from each side. Very fun in a primal kind of way.