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This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in my first grappling tournament called Swiss Grappling League held in Lucerne. It was pretty interesting to step on the mat for first time check out the grappling scene in live. Overall, it is much better scene than the boxing scene, so I'll write about the differences and similarities down here and later on I'll write shortly about my personal fights and experience:

 

Similarities:
  • Organization
Just like in boxing the organization in grappling varies from bad to terrible. In all stages - from schedule through transparency to application of rules.
  • Grouping
Both scenes suffer from distinction between beginners and advanced pairing. In boxing the problem are mostly some soviet dickheads that coming out of they lands after having 100+ bouts, but having registered only couple of fights in their current place, are banging rookies around. Same happens with people having 50 thai boxing bouts, but landing in the rookies groups in boxing. Same happens in the grappling scene with people having dozens of bouts and clearly trained much more than the limits of the "beginners group". It was clearly observable that most of the people are openly lying about their experience and thus making the gap between "advanced" and "beginner" pretty much nonexistent. In grappling there is no such equivalent to the boxing pass, so they use years of experience, but you can hardly make the case that someone sticking perfect judo throw combined with tight armbar on multiple opponents is training less than an year. Same goes for someone who is judge and assistant trainer himself, but strangely appears signed with the "beginners".

 

Differences:
  • Trainers
Grappling scene has much better trainers than the boxing scene. The grappling trainers are mostly young and highly motivated. In contrast to that the boxing trainers are mostly old, stupid and simply blind for what is happening in their own sport. I have almost never saw a decent boxing trainer that has boxing background by himself, possesses solid practical and theoretical knowledge, is capable of teaching, can coach guys on the ring, is able to deal with the mental problems that most boxers confront. This is pretty much never the case in boxing, while in grappling a lot of trainers have the qualities mentioned above.
  • Dedication
Grappling scene is more dedicated than the boxing scene. Since boxing is much more popular and also Olympic sport, it deals with much more money. This means usually even being the biggest rookie you'll fight at least for free. This means the club will take care for your travel and entrance, also for your clothes and stuff. Even more the training fees are almost laughable in boxing. For the grappling people, they usually pay everything by themselves and deal with much higher training fees. Thus such people are really highly motivated in doing what they are doing - they are not doing it by coincidence (in this term this is similar to the climbing scene).
  • Audience
Grappling scene has much smaller, but much more intelligent audience than the boxing scene. Maybe since boxing is very entertaining and old sport it has much more bigger audience. This is not bad, but the masses that watch boxing and go to the shows are typically complete stupid assholes. The grappling audience consists pretty much of people doing the sport themselves or being close friends to the participants and thus also familiar with the sport. There is also a clear age difference.
  • Communication
In boxing you'll confront almost all of the time aggressive haters, while in grappling the connection between the teams is mostly friendly.

 


 

So after the small parallel between both scenes, I'll write couple of lines about my personal experience. Everything started with making weight as usual. So like in the other tournaments I took my Everlast equipment out of retirement. I had serious amount of weight to make and the weather was terribly cold for this part of the year making everything harder. Nevertheless after 4-5 hours drive to Lucerne the weight scales showed 69.8 kg which was perfect and I could drink water and sleep a bit ;)
Enjoying the sun and then 10 hours later traveling :)

 

After taking a nap it was time to warm up and step on the mat for first time - yeah!
Overall it was a nice fight, but my opponent was very tight and not willing to risk. So unfortunately, it ended up with draw. Note that the tournament was submissions only so despite me taking the action with take down, mount and side control, there was no reward with no submission end.
My typical strange look after fight :P

 

The second fight was pretty interesting. I managed again to take down my opponent, but could capitalize from that position. At one I had a tight omoplata position, but wasn't flexible enough to submit him. Even worse my knee cracked a bit, so I was forced to drop my advantage and tried to regroup. Although I was close from finishing my opponent, he was tough and survived it all. So this was another draw and by this my participation ended.
All images by pictures.enrik.lu so thanks :)
Again one of the tight positions, which I couldn't capitalize ;-/

 

At one point I would agree with the system, that if everyone in the group makes draw then everyone should be dropped, but then I disagree by making groups of three people instead of 5. Just because traveling 350 km for couple of fights with 5 minute limit and then being dropped by two draws sounds like an absurd.