Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More on The Snowman's reign in the UK

By: Jon Shotter
Photos By: Giuseppe Vitolo

The Hackney Empire theatre in London’s East End is no stranger to hosting the leading lights of the stage and screen. Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields, Stan Laurel and Marie Lloyd have all performed there and although the venue is now more accustomed to hosting stand-up comedy and touring orchestras and operas, on Sunday March 11th, the Empire was once again host to the World’s leading exponents of their particular art.

The 10K Ground Clash is the sister event to the 10K Karate Clash, an established part of the Martial Arts Calendar. The Karate Clash was dreamt up by the promoter Joe Long in 2002, his intention, to host a karate competition that was accessible to the general public at large, combining top competitors with quality surroundings, and boxing style razzamatazz and coverage. Looking for an opportunity to diversify, in 2007, the promoters of the Seni Show; Fighters Inc; Masters of the Mat and 3on3, in association with European Fight Network (the promoters of the Urban Gorillaz Grappling Challenge and Gracie Invitational) decided to create a grappling tournament with the same goal. 32 top Grapplers, 1000 spectators, one night, one winner, with the biggest grappling prize outside of the ADCC World Championships… £10,000 Winner Takes All.

The 10K Challenge rules had a twist on more familiar rules such as those used by the CBJJ and ADCC. In order to promote maximum activity and submission attempts, positional points were only awarded for the first half of the 6 minute matches, with points for submissions attempts awarded for the duration of the match. In result, 16 of the 31 matches ended with a spectacular submission. Another innovation introduced by European Fight Network supremo Jude Samuels was the use of yellow and red cards for warning competitors of stalling and other rules infractions, rather than the more commonly used hand signals which can prove confusing to some spectators.

The list of competitors included World, Pan-American and European Champions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Submission Wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts Champions and fighters amongst the cast of experienced British, Brazilian, American and European grapplers. The favourites coming into the tournament were Jeff ‘The Snowman’ Monson, the 2 time over 99kg ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion and UFC veteran; Braulio ‘Carcara’ Estima, the 2 time BJJ World Champion and 6 time BJJ Pan-American Champion and Rafael Lovato Jr, one of the most decorated American BJJ Exponents and a Black Belt under the legendary Saulo Ribiero.

Accomplished competitors deserve accomplished officials and so Andy Roberts a BJJ purple belt with enormous competition experience both as a competitor and as a referee and Felipe Souza, a World Championship medallist and BJJ Black Belt instructor at Roger Gracie Academy in Ladbroke Grove were drafted in to oversee proceedings. The scoring and judging table was manned by Jon Shotter, partnered by William Koplitz, Luciano Cristovam and Vitor Estima

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