Comp Review: MKG Tourney in Minneapolis 02/05/11

Sorry folks, no pics for this one. My camera was recently seized as evidence and by advice of council I will not explain any further.

But that's okay, I can come up with a thousand words or so to make up for a missing picture. And in the case of just about any tournament put on by MKG, they will all be good.

Minnesota Kali Group is situated rather nondescriptly in South Minneapolis of Chicago Avenue, just far enough from the part of town you would want a working knowledge of kali, muay thai or BJJ to walk through... probably not the case, but I am a sad, scared little man from the suburbs.

Gym manager Fabio always puts on a good show that exists for the simple purpose of having a competition in the Twin Cities. It is small, not very well hyped, but always attended by some truly high-class grapplers with great skills.

Mainstays at this tournament seem to be the guys from Fargo BJJ, Mario Roberto's in Rochester and Revolution fitness. But there are usually the scattered offerings of other (some much larger schools) like Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, MKG Duluth, Midwest Center for Movement, McCune Martial Arts (formerly No Rules, new link will be provided once complete), and even the less BJJ competition oriented Warrior's Cove.

This was an adults only competition as well as being a Gi Only competition. Normally when you throw both of those qualifiers out there, numbers tend to dwindle. It tends to scare away the rubber guard practitioners and the MMA fighters/wrestlers that only want to grind in out.

And you know what? That's okay by me.

What you get are those dedicated grapplers that not only want more chances to compete and train against other schools, but also those that want to show their support for the sport and any school that is willing to go through the headache of putting the event on.

I would say that there were around 50 or so grapplers at the event (I have been there for far fewer numbers in the past) and all of them seemed to have that look in their eye like they were ready to compete. The event itself cruised by.

Fabio and his associates did their best (for the most part) to keep the matches going, even if it meant starting new brackets to give recently finished grapplers a chance to rest.

A "Duh" moment that other events just don't seem to understand.

Fabio did make a major change to his scoring format. His old format only gave 1 point for each position and no additional points could be earned unless all positions had been achieved. This was in an effort to keep grapplers searching for the submission instead of point stacking.

Evidently this was met with some harsh criticism as of late (at least for the Gi tourney and I am guessing it was by wrestlers) and Fabio switched to the more widely used IFBJJ rules to accommodate (although not all points were getting noticed, again, no big deal as it didn't seem to matter much in any particular match).

There was an energy and camaraderie at the event that is rarely witnessed. Beyond the customary handshake, hugs were given, posed pictures taken, even jokes voiced mid match. All of which lightened the mood and made for a very fast paced flow to the day.

And with few muscle tweeks here and there (all of which pure accidents caused from unfortunate positions) the event went off without a hitch.

I, for one, always look forward to MKG tournaments. And it seems that Fabio, in an effort to keep events moving quickly, has decided to do Gi and No Gi tournaments separately, it just makes for even more chances throughout the year to get out there and compete in this great state of Minnesoooooota.

Special props to teams from Fargo BJJ, Duluth MKG and Mario Roberto's in Rochester for not only making the drive, but seemingly always making the drive to the Twin Cities to show their support and lend their top notch talent to the competition.