The Pacific Northwest's Premier Submission Only Grappling Tournament
It’s quite common for an idea to spring up that brings forth a new surge of excitement inside the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu community. These ever-growing possibilities produce many avenues for individuals in chasing their grappling dreams which in hand contributes to the evolution of our sport itself for future generations.
Setting in motion a new trend in his region of Washington with the establishment known as the ”Chess On The Mat" BJJ Submission Championships creator Michael Proctor hopes to give practitioners a new experience in competing that all those training in the Northwest will certainly benefit from.
BJJ Legends got the opportunity to speak with Proctor as he touches on his journey as a grappler into creating the event and exclusive details on what makes this tournament one of its kind.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your BJJ background?
Michael Proctor: I’m a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under Marcello C. Monteiro. I started training in 2001 and I’ve been training full-time since 2005. As a Blue Belt I basically started waking up and going to sleep on the mats. BJJ is all I do. I received my Black Belt November of 2012. I’m currently the Head Instructor at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Tacoma.
From the inauguration stage to their present status, everyone has their own tale on the effect Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has made on their lives. The rewards one acquires are quite beneficial which can carry ones march atop of the medal podium to positive modifications in their personal development.
Grateful for his current state life wasn’t always this accommodating for 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu blue belt Kevin Reed. The rocky journey he endured is a prime illustration of the impact Jiu-Jitsu can bestow upon an individual.
Down in the dumps everyday was a constant battle for Reed. The frequent bullying Reed suffered throughout high school would be the trigger to years of low self-esteem haunting his life. These past events continued to follow Reed after graduation. Over-weight, financially unstable, and mentally broken became the daily norm, as there seemed to be no solution for solving his problems.
“I got bullied a lot in high school. From grades 7-10 people would throw stuff at me on the bus, push me in school, and spit on me. It was terrible. It all ended eventually after high school but I was still super low. I hated life.”
Although stuck in a horrible predicament life always has a way of taking its course and fortunately, for the troubled Reed, help was just around the corner. A longtime fan of Mixed Martial Arts submission sector of fighting, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was one pastime Reed was always intrigued by. Eagar to learn from his self-teaching strategies with his brother to his fundamental beginnings at Zealous Nation MMA these small elements would set in motion a new path toward a more positive outlook for the New Jersey native.
“I had been a common fan of MMA for at least eight years. It started in middle school in 2004 with guys like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, and Tito Ortiz that soon turned into a serious part of my life around 2007. Finally my love for the sport just naturally progressed from watching it to actually doing it.”
Obstacles and Hurdles are common challenges every practitioner has to encounter being involved in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. While some of these problems appear difficult to overcome it is how an individual stands in the face of adversity that reveals their strength and character through it all. Since the dark day of June 29 2011 Frank Edge has been in a long constant battle against his diagnosed condition with Cancer. More bad has come out good during these trying times but through it all Edge has remained strong which has received a lot of attention and support in the fight community which Frank was open to touch on in this in-depth interview with us at BJJ Legends.
BJJ Legends: For those that are not aware of your condition could you describe the type of cancer you are diagnosed with?
Frank Edge: I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. I was told I had stage IIIC and it was a rare mixed germ cell.
BJJ Legends: To your remembrance is there any explanation as to how you came down with this disease?
Frank Edge: No there was no explanation however Doctor’s asked two questions and that was did cancer run in my family and did I have an undescended testicle as a child. There was no cancer in my family to my knowledge however many in the family seem to remember me having an undescended testicle however it was never documented.
In essence Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial arts system that contains a vast supply of knowledge for a practitioner to learn from. Its influence is unparalleled as the lessons acquired during one's time on the mat are directly transferable to life outside the dojo and competition arena.
Correlating two very diverse professions Ryan Beauregard’s personas as a BJJ martial artist and EMT has created a unique transferable lifestyle that's provided major assistance in both career sectors.
Like so many individuals have testified without question, “Jiu-jitsu Changes Lives” and Beauregard's involvement in it is no exception. Starting his training in 2005, Ryan Beauregard was just another figure making his rise through the competition scene while also using BJJ as a vehicle in his personal growth. The journey to betterment would reach a major pinnacle in 2008 as Beauregard’s years of dedication would allow him to reach a feat unheard of for an American jiu-jitsu practitioner during that time period by winning the BJJ World Championship as a brown belt.
Beauregard would continue to flourish, obtaining his black belt in 2010 from long time instructor Demetrius Ramos going on later to build his own legion of grapplers with the running of his own academy Team Beauregard Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. To say the least Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has made a profound impact on Ryan's life.
There is a wide range of personalities you will come across being involved in martial arts. Some individuals leave a bad taste in your mouth raising awareness of ignorance that festers in our community, while others will leave an everlasting impression of the positive people enriching our art and the world today.
Not too long ago I got the opportunity to meet an extraordinary group of individuals who take acts of kindness to a whole another level. Taking a break from Southern California I decided to pack my bags and venture to Denver, Colorado. In an effort to make the best of my experience I decided to compete at a tournament there while also hoping to get some great training at an academy.
Known for its outdoor activities and the famous gold rush Colorado is also known for having some great BJJ teams one of which happens to be the Relson Gracie Jiu-jitsu Academy Colorado run by head Instructor Steve Hordinski.
It wasn’t that long ago when a new fightwear company burst onto the martial arts market scene placing itself in the endless superhuman race to demonstrate its strength to service the BJJ community with their products.
Soaring high off the successful release of its debut kimono The Assassin, Jotunn Fightwear’s phenomenal introduction has already established themselves as a rising standout company looking in constructing its own lane toward greatness.
Picking up where they left off from the stealth like approach they formulated with The Assassin Gi model, the second edition to the kimono series “The Samurai “ offers not only a clean look for the serious jiu-jitsu athlete but also displays Jotunn’s daring in being innovative, versatile, and different with the creation of all its products.
Taking the gi out of the artistically designed Netted bag you will notice clearly that the Jotunn Samurai kimono goes in a totally different direction than the crystal-weave classic-like concept the Assassin gi offered customers.
The past 3 weeks has been a rocky moment for the BJJ community. From rape allegations to ethic/moral beliefs it clear that this is a sad and intriguing moment for everyone involved in BJJ. Emotions have definitely erupted over the past weeks causing a serious separation in two classes almost like a religious war –lol- which pits the proud 97%ers against the almighty 3%ers.
For those that don’t know what these #’s mean let me give you a brief synopsis. (don’t worry I will be unbiased)
3%er- is one that strives to reach his highest potential at all cost. In our world it is those competitors who aspire to be world champions with no other obligations but toward himself and his ascension in the ranks.
97%er- a person who isn’t concerned with glory or gold medals but more centered toward personal growth. They carry a strong since of “martial art values” which upholds the standards of those who love the martial arts, and train to build strong Character, for Sport and to develop skill and awareness for Self-defense.
Every fighter that has ever graced the mat carries with them a primary philosophy that guides them along their endless journey. With only two years of participation in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Clark Gracie Blue belt Harryson Franz has already developed a set of principles which has benefited not only his athletic pursuits but also his life outside the gym.
With eight years of prior Kickboxing experience to his cred Franz’s transition to the art of grappling offered the young prospect a new exploration of growth in his quest to becoming a better fighter.
“After 7-8 years of training I became increasingly interested in competing in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts," Harryson told BJJ Legends. “My coaches at the time, while fully supportive and confident in me if the fight stayed standing, knew that I'd need to have some kind of ground game to be truly ready to compete. So I left kick-boxing when I was 19 to focus specifically on Jiu-Jitsu and ended up falling in love with the sport.”
It wouldn’t be long before this passion for his new found hobby would supply Franz with the essential components necessary for improving many areas of his life. Through the various scenarios he has come across each event has given Harryson a clearer perception of what this sport’s original intention was for its participants.
“You have to understand that Jiu-Jitsu is more than just a sport or a self-defense system. There's a lot more to it than just learning different techniques on the mat and winning medals in competition. What Jiu-Jitsu really is at the end of the day, is a vehicle to better your life in every single aspect.”
When it comes to analyzing the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu it all comes down to expansion. Without it there would never be growth in making the sport better. Fortunately for us there is a massive wave of talented grappling practitioners brining their own flavor to the melting pot which not only helps with the evolution of jiu-jitsu but also instills a positive influence in other grappling hopeful's progression.
Entering into the mind of Rodrigo Pagani one will embark on an exploration filled with a vast wealth of knowledge from one of the best around. As a part of the first league of Ribeiro black belts, Pagani's victories at high prestigious tournaments like Worlds and Brazilian nationals is a testament to his talent and devotion to his craft which explains his progressive rise from his humble days as a white belt to the elite black belt level.
Hailing from Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Pagani began his journey at the age of 16 in 1992. Originally geared towards fitness and the self-defense aspects his participation introduced him to a new sector of education of this mythical art form. Competing under the Gracie Humita banner Pagani's confidence began to skyrocket in his mission of becoming one of the best martial artists around.
I first started in jiu-jitsu back in September of 1992, when I was 16 years old and I’ve never stopped training. I was very skinny by that time so I thought it would be a nice way to exercise my body and learn some self-defense to become a little more confident.
Always staying hungry his dedication and passion is unparalleled. In an effort to further his progression Rodrigo would soon leave his home country which travels would take him to the United States to train with the Legendary Rickson Gracie where he would get first hand tutelage of the true essence of BJJ.
The No-Gi Worlds is just around the corner and looks to be shaping to be a great event filled with many talented competitors. Apart of this fray looking to come out on top that day is two tough competitors who need some assistance with the funding of their trip.
Fight team representatives of BJJ Black Belt Jarrod Clontz Matt Larsen's Combat Fitness/ American Fight Company Eddie Wittern and Dennis Radonvich are amongst the many dedicated athletes making the trip out here to California to accomplish their dreams of being a world Champion. Aside from them being very successful competitors in the Texas grappling circuit they are also members of the United State Army.
SPC Eddie Wittern and LT Dennis Radonvich are both Iraq and Afghanistan combat vets, and are a part of the Wounded Warrior Program here at Ft Hood. They are also my Jiu-jitsu students. They have used Combatives and Jiu-jitsu to improve their selves. Both BJJ blue belts, Eddie is also a 4 degree black belt in Judo, and Dennis Wrestled at OSU. These guys fought for our country and deserve some type of gratitude for their services.