Saturday, May 7, 2016

American Jiu-Jitsu Cup Day 2 - Team Results


What a day! Amazing performance by the adults! At the end of the day we brought back to Brentwood 7 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze medals.

Tina Erickson (bottom right) was the first one to go on Sunday. What an inspiring human being! 42, mom of 2 with a full time job located 35 miles away and still manages to train 4, 5 times a week. Got into a bad car accident last Summer that left her shoulder injured, keeping her from training 100% since then. Still decided to compete and display tremendous heart and technique to beat her two opponents and win gold. 

Denise Gallegos hasn't had a smooth past year either with injures who kept her from committing to the training like she always had. But the passion for Jiu-Jitsu that she has, allowed her to persevere, sign up for the tournament, prepare, compete and win first place as well! 

James Aguilar is one of a kind. This 16 year old has competed in over 100 tournaments in the last 3 years! He's gone almost every weekend with his family, who are extremely supportive of him and Jiu-Jitsu. They travel all over the state. Just last weekend he won a Pancration title belt by submission. This weekend, he submitted his opponent under a minute but ended up choosing the wrong strategy in the finals against the same guy and lost the match. Competition is as much of a strategy game as it is technical. 

Isabela Angus (top right) is just a phenom. She was a student in our Youth Program for two years back in 2011, when she quit at 13. To our satisfaction, she walked into the Academy exactly 3 weeks ago wanting to sign back up. She realized we were preparing for a competition and asked to join the roster a couple days later. 

Before deciding, we evaluated her training that one night and allowed her to register. It was amazing to see that almost 5 years later, Jiu-Jitsu was still sharply embedded in her! We gave her the ok and she signed up for the stacked adult division (she's still 17). We worked on a game plan based on her strengths and since she's been actively working out, we trusted she could do well. 

But she surpassed our expectations! Dominated all of her three opponents (first round arm bar finish, 23 x 4 win in the second round and triangle choke finish in the finals). She had to be promoted to blue belt on the spot! And she did. :)

D'Marcus Cooper (top left) has got to be one of the best competitors of our Academy's history. Not just due to his consistent great results on the competition mats. But due to his calm, collected and umperturned demeanor before, during and after his matches. His ability to stay patient and relaxed throughout his fights, regardless if he's behind or ahead in the score table has got to mess with his opponents minds. He's now a 3-time American Cup gold medalist at his weight class and a 2-time gold medalist in the open weight class. 

Bernard Figueroa (bottom left) is another student who really loves Jiu-Jitsu. There are those who casually train, then there are those who like training and then there are those who love the culture, embraces the lifestyle and love Jiu-Jitsu. He moved 40 miles away over a year ago, has a full time job and still manages to come train and participate in tournaments. He won gold by finishing his opponent in two different rounds with a choke from the back.

Kurtis Ogasawara from Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Napa was expected to face tough competition in the always stacked adult white belt division. With only 6 months of training, Kurtis was scrappy and used his Wrestling background to out scramble and outscore his first two opponents before losing in the semis to the division champion. Great job!

Wade Woodward, 52, also from Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Napa, is another example of pure heart! In his only match of the day, Wade used all experience he acquired in little over a year of training to beat his opponent by advantage and win gold. 

Joe Vernazza has put so much time into training in the past 8 months. A lot of group and individual training. He planned to compete at the US Open 6 months ago and signed up, but found out the day of the event that he had no opponent.

He continued training almost daily, improved his skill tremendously, but unfortunately, didnt get to the highest spot in the podium today. At the end of the day, it comes down to how much progress has been made and you, my friend, have achieved great things so far.

Warren Weatherford is a Dad who joined training soon after his 6 year old son did, who also competed. Tremendous heart displayed by Warren in his semi-final match, where he dominated his opponent, but especially in the finals, where he showed the never-quit attitude that makes the impossible possible at times! He lost by points but his desire to win was inspiring. 

Troy Rowe went 1-1 for a third place finish. Another dad who competed alongside his 6 year old daughter. How awesome is this? Two generations not only training together but also competing in the same event. Memorable!

Edgar Barajas, Mj Eugenio and Philip Arsenaultstepped up and fought hard until the end but their opponents were the better competitors yesterday. 

Like Troy, Warren and Joe Vernazza, Maris Goldsborough entered his first competition, also fought hard but didn't get the win. 

We can't be more satisfied with what we saw. Everyone trained hard during training camp, sacrificed life's pleasures for a while and displayed the desire to win. Some did win and some didn't. But that doesn't mean anything. If you truly gave your all and, your mind, did all you could do to perform at your best, challenged your comfort zones, then you are all winners.

Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu placed 6th in the overall team results, out of over 100 participating schools. Huge thank you to instructors Crosley Gracie Ac and Ryan Murphy for the hard, diligent work in preparing the competitors for the event.

Team photo album:
Official team and individual results here:

Congratulations, everyone! We'll see you in class!