This past weekend we sent a group of students up to Broomall Pennsylvania for the Naga Grappling Championships. In total we sent 23 students, a good mix of both kids and adults.
Being that this is the first tournament of the 2014 season, the turnout is always good and you’ll get many teams from up and down the east coast. This event in particular had at least 3x as many competitors as the last two events. Yes, that’s over 1000 competitors!
Ivey League is always up for a good challenge so the more the merrier is what we say. Bring it on!
Our students didn’t disappoint with most of them placing in the top 3 of their divisions, 13 of them took home 1st place honors. That’s not bad at all.
It was a really proud day for not only the students but also the coaching staff. To See them do so well out there makes all the brutal practices and endless drills worth it.
Below you’ll find a list of students who took to the mats and competed. You’ll also be able to find out were they placed in their respective divisions. Students who placed 1st are in BOLD.
Adult Competitors and Results for IL:
- Mark Saunders – 1st Place
- Jon Farley – 1st Place
- Jeff Blachly – 1st Place
- Cody Truett – 2nd Place
- Maxie Weisz – 2nd Place
- Chrissy Smith – 3rd Place
- Mike Sullivan – DNP
- Phil Higgins – DNP
Children Competitors and Results for IL:
- Patrick Ellis – 1st Place
- Joaquin Marquez – 1st Place
- Lauren Miller – 1st Place
- Zachary “Cutter” Gardner – 1st Place
- Seton Gerrity- 1st Place
- Kenny Brazill – 1st Place
- Matthew Graham – 1st Place
- Michael Graham – 1st Place
- Eric Graham – 1st Place
- **Michael “Mouth” Garlington – 1st Place and Championship Belt**
- Lauren “Katniss” Crino – 1st Place
- Joel Marquez – 2nd Place
- Jameson Gerrity – 2nd Place
- Jacob Miller – 2nd Place
- Grace Kirby – 2nd Place
- Collen Brazill – 3rd Place
I wish I could write detailed descriptions of everyone’s matches but sadly that would take me pretty much the whole day. I did however include some write ups for the students who I thought had the best performances.
If I didn’t write anything about you please don’t send me a hate email! I wish I could write something for all 23 but I just don’t have that kind of time and let’s face it; I’m not much of a writer 🙁
A Raging Bull Gets Let Loose in PA.
For the adults we had a few standouts but the one who’s really shown marked improvement is CAP Gold Student Mark “The Bull” Saunders. Don’t know why we call him the bull? Roll with him one time and you’re sure to find out haha.
Mark didn’t have anyone to go against in his nogi division and was a little disappointed. That’s okay though because he took his disappointment out on the folks in the gi division.
He won all his matches by submission and even managed to win one of his matches with the old standby technique, the paint brush. Mark cruised to 1st place and moved that much closer to his blue belt.
First time competitor and morning class warrior Jon Farley also scooped up first place honors. This was the first time out for Jon but if you saw the moves he was doing you wouldn’t even know.
Jon said his only regret about the tournament was not entering the nogi division. I must agree that most likely would have been another first place! Live and learn Jon but congrats are still in order 🙂
The change in our morning class staff 100% played a role in Jon’s performance. I’m happy to see it’s working…
I’d also like to toss some praise to Gold Member Maxie Weisz, who came up a little short of her goal of taking first Place, but don’t worry because it wasn’t for a lack of effort!
She fought very hard in a weight class that was 3 above her’s. Chin up young lady because you impressed the heck out of us.
Standouts From Our Kids Program.
Enter the Mouth of Cape St Clair…
Far and away the most impressive kid of the day was highly dedicated BBC member Michael “Mouth” Garlington. He not only won his division but he won it at the expert level! For those not in the “know”, it’s extremely rare to have a child win the expert division with less then 2 years of training.
Mouth also picked up a championship belt (pictured below) for his troubles.
I’ve gotta admit I’m pretty blown away by his achievement. He did write down in his list of 2014 goals to win a NAGA expert division and he did it. I’ve got the paper sitting on my desk to prove it. If Mouth keeps this up who knows…we might have a new yellow belt in town sooner rather then later 🙂
Blood (Literally), sweat and tears lead student to his first Naga title…
The other big time standout of the day was BBC Member Patrick “Blood” Ellis. We call this little guy blood because he always get nose bleeds during class. Let me assure you though, no nose bleed in the world would’ve stopped Patrick that day. He stormed through two different divisions and racked up a bunch of “W’s”!
Patrick used a wide variety of techniques to deal with his opponents. It proved what I’ve always said, that Patrick is one of our most well rounded students. He can use takedowns, sweeps from the guard, guard passing and of course, submission holds.
Patrick is a great example of a kid that does so-so in the practice room, but put him in front of a screaming crowd and he shines. Some kids just love the spotlight, Patrick is one of them and believe me he knows how to turn the motor on and win in tough situations.
In the end Patrick earned two gold medals and went undefeated for the day. It was a performance and one that almost brought me to tears. Some of those reading this might think that’s silly but it’s true and I’d like to tell you why.
When you’ve worked with kids for as long as I have you learn that not all things are created equal and some kids need more help then others. Patrick was a lot like me when I first started martial arts.
He didn’t pick things up super fast like some of the other kids. But what Patrick may have lacked in grappling “know-how” he made up for it with hard work and a never say die attitude. Believe me, talent is everywhere, great attitudes are not.
Seeing Patrick do so well really moved me. I mean I’ve watched this kid work so hard for so long in a lot of very hard practices. Through so many tough days, days that would’ve made most kids (and adults) pack up and just quit. Patrick is no quitter and to be honest the kid is just tough as nails.
So to see him finally winning and getting what he works so hard for, that just makes it all worth it. As you can tell It was a very emotional thing for me as I’m sure it was for his parents and family that attended.
I should also point out that this was Patrick’s first open field tournament. Up to this point he’d only done in-house events at Ivey League MMA. We couldn’t be happier for him and his amazing family. Now if we can just keep his Dad from having a heart attack during his matches we’ll be just fine…
Prototype Reminds Us Why We Nicknamed Her Prototype.
Here you have a little girl who, when she first competed a year ago, cried and froze out there. Long story short she didn’t do well.
After that performance I swore she’d never compete again. Not because I thought she wasn’t good or anything like that, it’s just that some kids have a hard time being in front of a crowd, it’s pretty common. Not ever kid needs to compete to enjoy the benefits of martial arts classes.
A few months ago she told her dad she was thinking about giving it another try. This was in part thanks to a little pep talk from her friend and fellow competitor from NJ, Isabella aka “Beans”. So Prototype decided to give it another shot…
Well we’re sure glad she did!
She went on to not only win her division, but she also won all her matches by submission. It was such a turnaround from what we saw a year ago we couldn’t believe our eyes, no joke. It was a totally different kid out there.
I just wanna say that for the record, I told her time and time again that she could be great, all she needed was to believe in herself. She only needed the light to show her the way. Thanks again Beans!
I’m glad I was right 😉 She believed in herself and because of this belief, she killed it out there on the mats. Next up for Proto is The Pan Kids BJJ Championships in California. Can she bring back gold? That’s 100% up to her. Believe Proto believe!
The Path to Greatness Takes Time, be Patient.
One last student I’d like to talk about is Ivy League MMA newcomer Grace Kirby. Grace is a transfer from another local BJJ school and has only been with us for a few months.
Grace placed 2nd at the tournament. So she came up a little short of her goal but in the end that’s okay. She fought with a lot of heart and that’s what’s important. Getting good at anything, whether it’s BJJ, chess or baseball takes a lot of time and effort.
I hope what I write below helps Grace to understand how things play out in something like BJJ (or anything else).
I saw a cool commercial the other day featuring a pro basketball player talking about what it takes to be the best. He said something that really stuck with me.
He said “My college coach told me you’ve gotta fall in love with the process”. My god, truer words have never been spoken.
The process means coming to class with a smile, working very hard, doing your homework, competing, eating right and so on.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and nether will your martial arts skills. Do all the right things and at some point you’ll begin to have success. No one can say when that will be because it’s different for everyone.
In that process you’ll get beat up, lose matches, have awful workouts and get frustrated. You might even at times question why you even do this stuff the first place! That’s normal trust me.
Here’s the thing: What separates the good from the great is that the great ones never let a bad day get them down. They dust themselves off and get right back in the game.
I want everyone to know that although we had a great showing this past weekend it hasn’t always been sunshine and butterflies. We’ve had our fair share of bad tournament where no one won anything. I admit those days aren’t my favorite sure but you need them. Without bad days you’d never appreciate the good ones.
Our goal here at Ivey League MMA is to help our students achieve great things and live better lives. We’re always here to help, feel free to lean on us at any time 🙂
Okay well I think I’ve typed enough. My fingers are actually sore! As always feedback is welcomed. In closing I’d like to say not only congrats to the students on an amazing performance at the NAGA but also a big “thanks”, thanks for helping make us (Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts) an elite leader in the MMA world.
Without our many great students, Ivey League would be just some crappy building with some mats and punching bags. Thanks again for everything. You guys and gals mean the world to us.
–Ivey League Staff
PS. Below you can find one of Mouth’s matches which includes the sound of my voice and a beautiful tringle finish over a solid orange belt. Check that out.