Somerset, KY and Ju-Jitsu

Yesterday, we travelled to Somerset, KY to watch our nephew, Christoper Caldwell, compete in a small Ju-Jitsu tournament.  This is the first time I’d seen any kind of martial arts competition in the flesh and I must admit, I was impressed.

When we got there, they were just about to get started.  There were a bunch of competitors in a wide variety of age groups and weight classes.  There were kids as young as 7 and 8 competing.  These kids were awesome.  They were pulling out submission moves I’ve seen watching UFC fights on TV.  The only difference was the kids were obviously not strong enough to really sink the holds in.

Anyway, Christopher was competing in the 14 – 17 year old age group.  Now, I feel we need a little bit of history to set this story up.  So here goes.  Apparently, Christopher had been a Ju-Jitsu practitioner since he was young.  Like, around 10 or whatever.  He had also won a number of tournaments, both with and without the Gi (I think thats how you spell that) and decided a couple of years ago that he didn’t want to do that anymore.

We found out on Wednesday that he had decided to compete and thought it would be cool to get out there and support him.  Christopher stands about 5’8″ tall, weighs in at about 160 lbs (~72 kg).  However, he can bench close to 300 lbs (135 kg), so it’s safe to say this kid is strong.  Really strong.  The tournament was a double elimination, submissions tournament, meaning you get AT LEAST two bouts and the aim of the bout was to submit your opponent in anyway possible, without bending individual digits (fingers and toes).  Now, back to the story…

Christopher went into this bout with little, or no preparation.  We kinda got the idea that he expected to be able to just pick up where he left off.  His first bout was against the eventual winner of is age group.  To start with, it looked like the fight was pretty even.  Christopher managed to get his arms under the guys chin and was applying a lot of pressure.  This was evident on the kids face, as it had quickly become a very dark red color.  Suddenly, the kid managed to pop his head out and was soon on top of Christopher.  Some seconds later, the bout was over and Christopher had lost.  When I spoke to him a few hours later, he said he had just burned himself out.

The second bout was against a kid who only 14 years old and much smaller than Christopher.  This fight was over so quickly, I can’t even remember how Christopher won, I just know he won.

This lead to the rematch with the kid he first fought.  Like the first match, it looked like Christopher had the upper hand to start with.  Also like the first match,  the kid suddenly had Christopher in an arm lock and began pulling back on his forearm, while pushing his elbow forward.  Needless to say, Christopher tapped out and took second for the tournament.

All Christopher said after the fight, was that he couldn’t do anything anymore.  He was a little out of touch with the rest of his competition needed to get some serious training done to get back in to shape.  It was very impressive to see what he and the other guys could do and to be honest, I am kind considering taking up the sport.  My only concern is that my shoulders are really shaky and I think there is a real risk of one of them getting popped out of the socket.  For the moment, I think I’ll stick with the bowling and think about it a little more.

We might be heading up to Columbus, OH in two weeks time to watch him fight again.  He hasn’t decided if he’ll actually go up to compete yet, but it would be cool to get out there if he does.  We may even take the bowling balls with us and throw a few games while we’re there.

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