February is a big month for Ivey League MMA. Every year we always end up with a lot on our plate between grappling/BJJ tournaments, MMA fights, various events and flying to California for Pan Kids.

All this is fine by me because I love to stay busy. The more things going on the better in my eyes.

First up let’s talk about the resent NAGA Grappling tournament that took place on February 7th in Broomall Pennsylvania.

We took a smaller team compared to past NAGA’s and that was mainly due to the kids competing in California the following weekend. Our team consistented of the following students and how they placed:

*First Place Winners are in BOLD

Mike Sulliven
Worm Berret
Chrissy Smith
Logan Gatling
Wiki Avila
Cutter Gardner
Katniss Crino
Alexia Lara
Hawk Natale
Smooth and Roughie O’Shea
Darryan “Scarface” McKann
Nick Peters
Laith Hyali

Chris Houck
Jacob “Juji” Miller
Lauren “Prototype” Miller

Below are some write ups for a few of the outstanding performances that day. I wish I could write about everyone who competed but sadly I lack that kind of time. Just know I’m thinking of everyone, y’all rule haha!

Scarface gets it done and did so in exciting fashion!

Anyone who witnesses 8 year old Darryan “Scarface” McKann’s matches will surely tell you that he not only looked light years better then his last outing but he also upped the ante with his ultra fast and exciting style of grappling.

To say he was all over the place, scoring left and right would be a huge understatement. It reminded me of watching the flash fight crime only instead of crime it was the flash grappling other kids.

Scarface won all his matches, going undefeated for the day and winning double first place honors in both gi (with the BJJ uniform on) and NoGi.

The only folks happier then us would have to be mom and dad, as they should be. He was fantastic and showed that he’s got a very bright future ahead of him that’s for sure 🙂

The star of the day, young up and comer "Scarface" McKann. He's pictured here to the left along with his brother Darrell and Head Coach Danny Ives

The star of the day, young up and comer “Scarface” McKann. He’s pictured here to the left along with his brother Darrell and Head Coach Danny Ives

Iraqi Thunder makes good during his first outing at purple belt

It wasn’t just the kids who shined. For the adults, team caption and part time instructor/school teacher Laith Hyali AKA Iraqi Thunder was also having a good day on the mats.

He ended up winning the men’s purple belt heavyweight division and scooping up a championship belt for his efforts. What seemed to make the different for Laith was effective use of grip fighting, snap downs and guard passing.

I can tell you from personal experience that this dude is HEAVY when he gets on top. Long story short; you don’t want his big butt on top of you in side control! Congrats to Laith on a job very well done.

He wins the championship belt and what does this knucklehead do? He does home and headlocks poor Mom! We're sure she was proud of both the headlock and belt!

He wins the championship belt and what does this knucklehead do? He does home and headlocks poor Mom! We’re sure she was proud of both the headlock and belt!

Alexia Lara gets back to her winning ways…

BJJ Green Belt and longtime student 15 year old Alexia Lara got back on the competitive mats after a long layoff due to little injuries. I wasn’t the only one excited to see her compete.

So many of our youth students look up to Alexia and they were thrilled to see her back in action. Alexia like always didn’t disappoint. She had a great tournament, placing 1st in the NoGi expert teens division and 2nd in Gi.

The key to her victories was no doubt her much improved guard passing skills. She looked 1000 x’s sharper with her knee cut pass as well as defending attacked from the closed guard.

It’s nice to see a happy (and healthy) Alexia doing two things she loves, competing and winning. Welcome back kiddo, you were indeed missed.

A little goofing off between matches never hurts anyone. Pictured is Alexia and friend tossing up the famed "peace sign"

A little goofing off between matches never hurts anyone. Pictured is Alexia and friend tossing up the famed “peace sign”

First timer Nick Peters shows us he means business

After watching Nick Peters compete you’d be shocked to learn that he’s only got 5-6 months of total training time. He showed the composer of a seasoned tournament veteran in route to winning his NoGi division.

Nick made great use of his arm locking techniques, submitting a few kids with pretty much the same technique. It also didn’t hurt that Nick attacks with a very aggressive style that seemed to overwhelm the other kids.

Closing Thoughts….

It wasn’t our best NAGA performance but overall it was good. Many of the students that excelled were coming off a few bad tournaments so it was nice to see them get back into the winning category.

No matter what, i always tell the students, when you compete in a tournament like the NAGA or Grapplers Quest, win lose or draw you’re bound to learn a lot.

That’s what it’s all about, you either learn or burn. Use tournaments as a means to better yourself and learn. If you end up learning a few things about yourself, both technically and personally, right then and there you’re winning.

Keep an eye out for my write up about the kids in California competing at Pan Kids. Stay tuned!

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