State Championships Weekend

Wow I am exhausted, what a weekend.  This weekend was the Arizona State Brazilian Jiu Jitsu  Championships, and Kamuela Kirk’s Fight in Duel for Domination 3.  Friday night the weekend got started with Kamuela and I driving to Mesa for weigh-ins for Duel for Domination 3.  Kamuela made weight, weighing in at 144.8 lbs, his opponent weighed 148 for amateur status that means game on.  We returned quickly Friday night so I could crawl into bed early get rested up.  Saturday morning was the first day of the AZ State Championships so I cruised out to Mesa again (45min drive) with my sponsored athletes, The Castillos.  The tournament’s opening act were the kids, Siege MMA/Lotus Club had five competing.  Dylan Beebee was the first to go, he fought his heart out but came up a little short.  You know when you struggle opening up a jar and finally quit and give it the next person, and boom they open it up without even grimace on their face.  Well that was the role that Dylan played on Saturday because after he loosened up the jar his teammates were quick to capitalize with the remaining four all capturing Gold Medals.

Jordan Smith had a best out of three bracket with another kid where he the lost his first match before coming back to beat the kid two consecutive times capturing his gold.  Next up were sponsored athletes Xavier and Christian Castillo.  Xavier won his first his first two matches to put him in the finals against a kid he has had some problems with in the past.  Xavier showed off all the hard work the kids and their coaches have been putting in and finally got the monkey off his back and earning the victory and his gold.  Christian went up in age and weight, his opponents had a noticeable size advantage.  What you can’t measure is the drive and desire from within, he got down early in his semi-final match and then flipped the switch and refused to be defeated grabbing an arm and extending it for the submission.  In the finals he had little problems securing his second straight gold medal.  I am very happy to be working with these brothers and can’t wait to see what they are going to do at Worlds.  Last up was Yesenya Jose competing in the orange belt division.  Yesenya is the daughter of Siege MMA BJJ Instructor Jesus, she has taken a little time off of competing but has been training hard.  She had two matches that seemed identical and both ended with Yesenya having her hand raised capturing her gold medal.  The kids did a phenomenal job, it is a true testament to their hard work and the hard work of kids coaches Jesus, Kamuela, and Tyson.

The afternoon consisted of blue and brown belt weight divisions.  Blue Belt Mike Chavez had one of the stand out performances of the day coming off a long a break in competition and competing in his first blue belt tournament.  Mike decided it was time to get in competition shape a month or so ago and worked his butt of in practice to get there making himself a permanent fixture in class.  It’s not a miracle that his hard work paid off, he dropped the weight and captured a gold medal.  Now that he has the gold medal I hope we still see him practice.  Another stand out from Saturday was Blue Belt Robert Maloney, Robert is a teenager that like to challenge himself in local tournaments by competing with the adults.  Robert had some very entertaining matches giving grown ups the manchild beating guys at Siege have come accustomed to.  He landed himself in the finals against a previous European Champion and lost a very close match.  Siege MMA’s instructor Andrew Brittin competed for the first time in a couple years.  Competing as an instructor can be tough at times because you don’t always have the time to work on your own game.   It was  great to watch him compete, he had a very tough match with “Scoop” who competes all the time.  Andrew went hard on a toe hold that left his knee vulnerable and Scoop capitalized, it was a great match.  My Girlfriend Leslie Rials also competed in the blue belt division, she had a very close match that ended in a ref decision.  I’m always proud of her and excited to watch her compete, she is a beast.

I competed in the Adult Medium Heavy Brown Belt Division (195lbs) that only had two competitors in it, me and Curt Howard (Ruffhouse Jiu Jitsu).  Curt pulled guard that quickly turned into X-guard, he had my balance off from the start.  I have drilled x-guard passes and taught them several times, but when it was time to pass I had a competition brain fart and forgot where to be placing my weight.  It was no time at all before showed his brown belt skills and took me over with a sweep.  The only good thing about being swept is when you land directly into a triangle choke, and I wasn’t letting go.  I squeezed on the triangle and felt a slight tap, I let go a little but then realized it might not have been a tap.  I then focused my attention to the exposed arm inside the triangle and quickly put it in position to finish one of my favorite shoulder locks about a minute into the match.   With this gold I am now a 3x AZ State Champ (1 as a purple, 2 as a brown).

I hustled to grab my medal and get changed, after a long day of coaching and competing it was time to rest…Wrong.  I had been at the tournament from 10am to 6:15 pm and now it was time to hustle over to Duel For Domination 3 to corner Kamuela.  I got there just in time to meet up with Kamuela and new Siege MMA coach Santino Defranco and listen to the rules meeting.  This was the first time working the corner with Santino, and I am excited to have him part of the team.  Santino was a participant on the Season 9 Ultimate Fighter and has been in the fight game for a long time, his MMA knowledge is extensive.  Kamuela got taped up and was ready for war.  Kamuela stepped in the cage trying to remain unbeaten with a 3-0 amatuer record.  The bell rang and it was a don’t blink type of moment, both fighters came out swinging.  The fight quickly went to the ground where Kamuela found himself on bottom, that was only for a split second before he secured a sweep to mount.  His opponent then turned his back, Kamuela secured the Rear Naked Choke and it was all over but the tapping.  It was a great .37 second victory and a great way to end a very long day.  We went out and celebrated with a victory Mexican dinner then hustled home to arrive just after midnight.

Sunday morning came with a blink of the eye, I would be wrong to call it a good night of sleep.  Come 9am it was time to make the drive to, you guessed it, Mesa for day 2 of the AZ State Championships.  Day 2 consists of Blue and Brown Open weight divisions, and all Black, Purple and White Belt divisions.  First up in the morning was Erica Santana, wife of Professor Giva, they came out from California for the competition.  Erica started the day off right winning her division and getting the ball rolling for the team.  Next up was the Brown Belt Open weight division, there were six competitors mainly the bigger guys from the Brown Belts that competed.  My first match was a bye after my opponent didn’t show up, so I landed myself in the Semi-Finals.  I went up against the previous day’s Heavyweight gold medalist, a tough competitor from Nova Uniao Brazil.  In his corner was very accomplish Black Belt Bruno Bastos screaming instructions in Portuguese.  This alone might have been a bit intimidating if I didn’t have great coaches myself with Professor Giva Santana and self proclaimed handsome man Jesus Jose on my side.  It was a great honor for me to have Giva out coaching my matches and he even made the trip into Phoenix battling the 119 degree weather.  The match started with my opponent pulling the full guard and securing sleeve control.  I stood and hoisted my larger opponent in the air (my back wasn’t thrilled about that as I found out later), and was able to break the guard.  I went for the pass that let to a scramble, he was able to secure the top position and the points for the sweep.  I started working from my guard, my opponent was strong as on ox and I had a hard time getting him to move with the weight disadvantage.  I was able to open his elbow and wasn’t going to let it close, as he struggled to escape the shoulder lock I slapped and armbar on the other arm rolling to the top and securing the submission.  It was a great win for me that secured a spot in the Finals against Lotus Club Teammate Wellington Modena from Sao Paolo Brazil.  Wellington has been staying out in Irvine training with Professor Giva, Fabio and Laercio since Pan-Ams this year and plans to return to Brazil in August.  We decided that closing out the open weight division was good enough and that the Finals would be decided with a Gentlemen’s agreement, which turned into a fierce game of rock, paper, scissors.  Rock beats Scissors and received another gold medal and now 4x State Champ.  It was a tremendous feeling winning double gold in the State Championships and closing out the Brown Belt Open weight division with one of my Lotus Club teammates.

Lotus Club Purple Belts Keli Manglona and Matheus Spirandeli both did great closing out their medium heavy division and both making a good run at the Purple Belt Open.  Erica went on to get Silver in the Female Purple Open division finishing the day gold silver.  Steve Broad won the white belt super heavy division and Daniel Regalado finished with silver.  We had several other competitors placed bronze and I’m sure I forgot people as I am doing this all off what I remember.  I do apologize.  As a team Lotus Club took 3rd Place!  It was a long, tiring, sometimes painful weekend but I would and will do it all again for the great memories and accomplisments that were made.  Another quick shout out to my sponsors Shimono Kimonos, Performance Glass (I know you have a cracked windshield, go get it fixed), and Vitamin Authority I appreciate all that you all do for me.  Thank you to God, all my friends and family for keeping my life balanced and directed and last but not least my Gym and Gym Family for being the best Lotus Club!  What to do today, train in the morning, train in the evening.  Ossss

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