This year I had the opportunity to participate at the Submissao Grappling Challenge, which was held in Karlsruhe, a city I consider my second home. It was around February and I wasn't particularly fit into grappling because I was training much more at the gymnastic rings and climbing a lot, but since the location was simply perfect and there isn't much happening around here I was certain, that I'll be there on the mats. Besides myself, only three guys from our team signed for the event.

Thereafter the good news started to flow. Firstly my family told me they'll come by, as well as my girlfriend and couple of other friends, which traveled with me to Karlsruhe. The small journey was all time fun and we had a great gathering till late in the night before the competition.

At the fight day I woke up surprisingly easy and felt fit to go. First of all I should tell that there was a schedule online before the competition with time of the fights and so on. I was pretty skeptical about that schedule, but was then proved wrong by the greatest fight event organization I've ever seen in my live. The whole event held on schedule and everything was perfectly smooth. Perfect timing, perfect conditions including warmup room, a lots of toilets, showers etc. Also the start-up price was fine, together with the coffee and cake prices. So uhm yeah, I watched two of my teammates, which had pretty good fights before getting warm for my first fight. It was a big group and winning seemed pretty impossible considering I had to win 5 consecutive fights. So this was pretty much out of my mind going out for my first bout. Other thought I had in mind, was there was no way I could tap in front of my "fans" :P

At my first bout, my opponent seemed much smaller than me, so it was clear I was going to submit him in the five minutes time, which happened around the middle via arm triangle. Overall it was a good confidence boost.

At my second bout I got a fresh guy, which got directly at the second stage, due to the participation quota. However I was fit and didn't took that as much of an advantage, besides that he should have seen me already and knows my style. The latter could be an disadvantage as well, cos he might got scared. Anyway, on the mat awaited me a big tall guy, which mean nothing else than taking him down easy to earn couple of points. He had good tight guard, which I was trying to pass. At a point of time I got his feet across and he had mine, but since I knew this was an forbidden technique I let his foot go and went to get up, while he was going to squeeze. At that time the ref came along and disqualified him. Well, his own fault, nothing more to say here. In the small rest between rounds I watched my third teammate having a great win in the last seconds via submission. Was very happy for him, since he was loosing with a wide margin on point up to the very end, where he turned things upside down.

My third fight grouped me again with fresh guy, who due to grouping luck and opponent not showing up got his first bout with me. He was pretty nervous despite looking pretty solid on the standup game. So I was pretty concerned no to lose by points and avoided taking risks in the first half of the round. Then I took the initiative mainly due to my physical ability and started an offensive game. At a moment I got his wrist very good and a moment before taking him down, he yawned at the ref, whether this was allowed. Well it was allowed, but it destroyed my good chance. Anyway a moment later I got his neck and tried to squeeze the choke, but was not that fortunate with putting the feet in good position, so it wasn't that tight and decided to let it go and get up immediately. This however gave me an advantage in a fight, where nothing was happening, which meant me being on the lead. At the end he tried a desperate double leg takedown, which allowed me to grab his head again, this time tight. Several seconds later he got very sloppy and the ref stopped the bout and he got up slowly on shaky legs. I thought it was a technical decision or a tap, but it was the time limit, which was hit and I won by couple of advantages. "A couple more seconds" I thought, while getting my hand held up again...

Shortly before my fourth fight I watched my teammate competing again and doing the same crazy win via tapping his opponent out seconds before the bell after loosing again on wide margin. How great! So happily i gathered concentration for my bout, this time with pretty muscular guy. I thought he would be very strong, but this wasn't the case. I mean in grappling, dunno maybe he is super strong at the bench press. So after he tried double leg I sprawled and got the dominating position to the end where I got him into an arm triangle from half guard. Was self-surprised he tapped, but as mentioned he had a big shoulders and back, so the choke should have felt definitely tight. Wow so happy, I was at the final and for first time I got the chance to watch my opponent on the other semi, which was a great and very tight match between two very even and similar grapplers.

The fact I've watched my opponent, didn't mean I had a plan at all. Just the usual stuff, get a grip to see, where is his weakness and go all in. Well he was very good in the grappling, but for his unfortunate, he was either not physically strong enough, or was just tired from the previous matches. So after couple of minutes stand up I got him on the ground and was able to get the side control, where he tried a typical kimura sweep. That opened the door to my favorite arm triangle, which I immediately held tight and after half minute he was forced to tap, after me changing the sides.

What a pleasant suprise - I became the champion! And we had a looong loong day and night in front of us :)

Here is a small video I gathered from some phone records:



First of all I want to thank to the organizers for this great event, where as mentioned, everything ran smooth and on schedule, which is actually the first time I anticipate something like this.

Then I want to thank to the other three teammates Dominik, who coached me, Nic and Dominik, for the good teamwork at the event.

Then I want to thank to Team Ballterrier and coach Dustin for the great preparation.

I am also very grateful to my family, friends and my girlfriend for showing up to support me - a clear sign that underperforming was not an option!

Please visit Team Ballterrier website