Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to competition again (again)

So, I decided to compete a little again. I have been waiting a long time for my prolapsed disc injury to get better so I could do some cardio again, but I realize that I have been waiting for many years now, and it's maybe never going to get really good again. An exciting opportunity for a little competition showed up and I decided to go. It was the German Open Hayastan Grappling Challenge in Hamburg, Germany, about four hours from Copenhagen.

The event appealed to me for several reasons. First of all, we would go a small team of experienced grapplers, so I didn't have to coach too much. Normally, I coach all the time and it takes a lot of energy during a whole day. Second, ALL submissions were allowed, no restrictions. Finally, it was a 16-man tournament for each weight class in a cage with finals at night during an MMA event. I really liked the concept and wanted to support it, so I signed up.

Preparations was terrible to say the least. First, I was three weeks in Fiji, only doing a little physical training, no BJJ. When I got back home, I had ten days to prepare for the tournament. First day back at the first round of sparring, I got thrown by one of our judo guys and posted my left arm straight on the mat, so it bend the wrong way and got completely fucked. Training was impossible, so when the day of the tournament arrived, I had not trained for more than five weeks. Luckily, adrenaline and painkillers took care of the arm :)

I had lost some weight during vacation and was around 81 kg, so decided to cut down to -77 for the tournament. With some highly valuable help from my teammates and the gyms physical coach, it was no problem and I ended up weighing in at 76.2 kilos on the day.

I have been working intensively on a very aggressive butterfly halfguard game for sweeps and submissions over the last few months, so I really wanted to test that. With all submissions allowed and me having absolutely no cardio, I decided to write down this gameplan flowchart for my matches:

This should hopefully keep my mind focused on just getting that heelhook :)



First match started out very weird, as my opponent immediately pulled x-guard. Very similar to what I had planned to do, so it was kind of funny. Luckily he was playing my own a-game, so I knew it very well and spun out pretty easily. There was no points in the first round and I wanted that heel badly, so I kind of dropped fighting for sidecontrol and let him get his guard back in order to try and catch a foot. He made one big mistake by going to the shin across guard, which is what one of my toughest trainingpartners is using all the time, so I am pretty good at catching the heelhook from there. He was not very keen on tapping, so unfortunately his knee made a very nasty sound when I pulled the heel. I hope he recovers quickly, he was a very skilled grappler and I could easily see him beat me another day.


This guy was very strong, I could feel it when I shook his hand before the match. I was a little worried that he might be a good wrestler, but when I got my guard, I could feel that he didn't have much base. I went for the heelhook from my butterfly half setup, but before I had a chance to finish it, the referee stopped the match. I think she was maybe a little nervous because of the knee popping in my first match. I would probably have gotten it sooner or later but I think it was a shame for my opponent that he didn't get a chance to fight more.


I was watching this guys previous matches and he looked very good there. Good base and solid positions. At the beginning of the match, I thought I would try a takedown and see if I could catch the foot in the scramble. Unfortunately, my armdrag single attempt failed pretty bad, but I didn't worry too much about it since I wanted to be in guard bottom anyways. I closed the distance and got the heelhook right away from my planned setup. He rolled out very good and would maybe have gotten out if it wasn't for the referee stopping the match again. They did proclaim that they would stop at heelhooks for safety reasons, which I think was a good and a bad thing. With this opponent, I would have loved to get some more roll going since he seemed pretty game, but I was content with the quick win anyways of course, saving the energy for the finale later that evening. I got to chat with the guy afterwards and he was very cool, asked me to show him my setup. That passion for learning is something I have always had myself, so I spilled him all my secrets with joy ;)


This was a little strange to mentally prepare for, because it was against my own teammate through many years, Kári. We know each others game in and out, so it would be impossible to surprise with anything. Also, he is the one I have worked mostly with on the butterfly halfguard project, so I decided just to roll and see what would happen, trying to steer around his very dangerous guilloutines and D'Arce chokes. We talked to the ref and kindly asked her not to interfere with the submissions since we knew what we were doing and it would be a shame to get a premature stoppage in the final. We both had some very good attempts at heelhooks from butterfly halfguard, but I ended up getting the tap at around two minutes in the first round, winning the tournament.

For the rest of the team, it also went very well. We had three first places and two second places. Also, we won the best team trophy, best technique trophy (team mate Milan's crazy footsweep to armbar in the finale) and best fighter trophy. We qualified five guys for the European Open in October and I think we are definitely going to see if we can get some more wins there. Perhaps I should try another submission there ;)

Competing again was fun and I learned a lot about cutting weight. Also, mental preparation before the matches was very good, I was not nervous at all and I think I performed very well under pressure. Many thoughts go through my head when I deal with competing though, but I think I have to write that in a separate post another day, since there is a lot to it.

It was a really cool little roadtrip and I had a lot of fun with all the guys. Will definitely go to some more tournaments around Europe this year, trying to get some guys to come with me. Here is a video I did on the trip:

Hayastan Challenge 2010 from Christian Graugart on Vimeo.


DirtyWhiteGi said...

nice way to win a tourney... heelhook all the way! nice set ups too, maybe you can put up some tutorial vids on it *hint hint*

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, as always. Congrats. You should check out Reilly Bodycomb's leg lock stuff. It will help with the finishes

Liam H Wandi said...

Congrats Christian. I dig your intricate game plan :)

Haraldur (Iceland) said...

Well done guy's cant wait to come train with you this summer :) go CSA

Unknown said...

Hey Christian.

I saw you in the finals of the Hayastan Comp, didn't realise that it was you though until I saw it on your blog :-)

The guy you beat in the first match, Douglas, is my trainer. His knee is doing better, but not yet 100% again - maybe a few more weeks.

Well done on the win - CSA really dominated the comp!

Christian Graugart said...

Hey Matthew, thanks for your message. Please say hi to Douglas and tell him I am really sorry about that knee :,(

Unknown said...

Hey Christian,
I notice you are competing at the Gracie Invitational this weekend. Good luck!!!!
Douglas would have been competing too (he is also in your category) and would surely have liked to try and make it 1-1 after his loss at HGC (his knee is just about better now), but is currently in Brazil on holiday.
I will keep an eye out for you and say hello!