Masters of the Universe, Or At Least the World: IBJJF World Masters 2019
Five days of world class jiu jitsu in the Las Vegas Convention Centre and I walked away with a whole new understanding of what competitive jiu jitsu is about.
I hopped a flight from Canada to Las Vegas in the hopes of capturing gold or silver, but what I captured with was far more valuable than a medal: what the strongest athletes over 30 bring to the mats when it counts. Unlike the average IBJJF competition that happens in your local area, the World Masters attracts large numbers of competitors in divisions wherein a local tournament might only attract a few. In my case, I usually only find one or two combatants in my division, but in Las Vegas there were twenty-one in my bracket. You simply cannot find a better sampling of what is happening in Masters 4/Lightweight/Blue Belt, and there is great value in that simple fact of numbers.
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I arrived on Wednesday at the Convention Centre so that I could spend a day watching the black belt divisions and figuring out exactly where I needed to go when I was to compete on the Friday. Being able to watch jiu jitsu competition live without worrying about fighting yourself that day was a revelation. I watched my professor compete in his division, and then I watched almost a dozen other black belt matches before grabbing my event t-shirt and grab bag. What did I notice? The skills of black belts meant that errors for margin were razor thin, and the deciding factor in 2019 was often the IBJJF-legal straight footlock applied from unsuspecting positions.
Straight Knee Ankle Lock by Mikey Musumeci
Thursday brought me back to the Convention Centre to watch teammates and coaches battle it out on both Masters mats and the adjacent Las Vegas Open mats. The only barrier separating the two areas was a tempting acai bar. I had to remain strong. I had ben religiously following sections of Lockhart and Leith's 30 Day Fighter Challenge to drop my final eight pounds of weight, and I was not going to blow all of the hard work by not adhering to the basic rules. The saltiness of food in Vegas was making life hard enough with water retention, so I needed discipline. It paid off in the end, as I came in four pounds under the limit of fight day. So many simple concepts can be discovered in this video and ebook that can easily be incorporated into any weight loss strategy.
Reverse De La Riva Sweep by Romulo Barral
I attended one of the free seminars offered at the event, but I had to miss both Romulo Barral and Bruno Malfacine due to the timing of teammate's matches. It was disappointing because I enjoy learning from both Everyday Porrada Spider Guard by Barral and How to Beat Bigger Guys by Malfacine. Indeed, after seeing Malfacine in person I can see how his stature demanded techniques for dealing with some of the other monsters roaming the arena floor areas. I might suggest that you may want to compete before attending a seminar, because it would be a shame to become injured before your match. I only thought of this as mine finished; I decided to promptly leave before I broke a finger or rib.
Balloon Sweep Variation by Bruno Malfacine
For fans of BJJ Fanatics fighters, you might find yourself standing next to Travis Stevens or attending a packed seminar with Bruno Malfacine. I picked out at least twenty popular black belts roaming mat side during my five days, and while I wanted to ask all kinds of questions I decided to let each of them enjoy their experience without being asked for selfies or autographs.
By Friday I was ready for my own match. I ended up losing by two points in my first round to the athlete who would go on to win the division. I did not take home a medal, but I gained confidence in my techniques, I witnessed the current trends where the game is being taken, and I supported my entire team through both our wins and losses on the mats. Will I return to do battle again in Las Vegas next year? If I do, then I will definitely have worked on a few of the most effective sequences that I discovered while watching matches throughout the five days of action. If I do not, then this experience is something I will take with me through the rest of my jiu jitsu journey.
Musumeci is a MASTER of Details. The Power Switch Guard Retention and Genius Back Takes instructional is PACKED to the brim with these GAME CHANGING details. Mikey is one of the most accomplished grapplers on the planet, in his instructional you will realize he is also one of the best Teachers on the planet!