On March 28, 2015, the VIBJJ competition team participated in the Island competition Be First. The event was held at Eagle Ridge Community Center and was hosted by Crusher Combat Sports. It was a "submission only" tournament featuring four minute matches, conducted in a round robin convention. The winner was determined with a point system where the winner of a match earned 2 points, the loser, none and a draw resulted in one point to each of the competitors. Each competitor gained phenomenal amounts of competition experience as they were able to fight every other competitor in their division.
The competition team was made up of Myriam, Julian, Scott, Will, Jason, Tom and Andrew. We were joined also by the Ouellet brothers and Dan from Powell River BJJ, a sister school. Myriam fought well and won a silver medal in her gi weight division after five gruelling fights. She won two matches by armbar, one by referee decision (tie split), and two draws. She took a nasty heel kick to the face as her opponent tried to defend an arm bar which was unpleasant. Andrew and Tom fought a total of thirteen matches each, eight in the gi, seven in the no-gi. The pools were deep, making their divisions some of the toughest. The two did very well controlling positions and dominating from the feet; however, the two having not been accustomed to the submission centric format, had a hard time finishing matches. Tom was able to place third in the gi division after fighting to draws and winning a match with a triangle choke. Jason found himself fighting in a white belt division stacked with long-time grapplers from different backgrounds including MMA and judo. He fought hard using a seemingly impassable guard but was unable to place. Scott was subject to an unfortunate outcome as his opponent tried to pull him in to his guard utilizing panic stricken arm jerking techniques which ultimately pulled his shoulder from its socket. Myriam saw him off to the hospital before returning to fight her no gi division to the silver medal. Will fought in a no-gi division, having three fights. One of Will's opponents suffered a broken arm as he was unwilling to submit to a deep, controlled armbar. Will placed second for the silver medal. Julian fought in a no gi division with a rematch from the prior Be First tournament in which Julian had lost and placed second. This time Julian was able to defend a tight guillotine and complete the triangle choke for his gold medal. Will and Jason found themselves in an absolute division where weight and rank were combined. They were unable to place after fighting up to purple belts. Dan and Nic both won gold medals in their respective divisions. Congratulations! We are really proud of all of the fighters that chose to step up to the challenge that is submission only fighting. It takes a certain degree of courage to fight up to thirteen matches in which your opponent is literally trying to rip your arms out of their sockets.
The VIBJJ competition team would like to thank Crusher Combat Sports for hosting the Be First tournament. We are confident that they will rely on their experience and best judgment to continue to make improvements to each future event. A lot of hard work goes into this small local event, and the efforts of the volunteers and competitors is greatly appreciated!