By TXMMA Staff
Texas Tournament Series Profile – American Grappling Federation
January 6, 2015 – Welcome to 2015 and the dawn of a new Texas BJJ and submission grappling tournament season! As the community heads into the new schedule TXMMA wanted to take the time to profile some of the organizations that you, the competitor, will have an opportunity to compete for this year. These are Texans holding events for Texans. More often than not, they have been supporting our BJJ community for some time and so we wanted to give them a chance to share their philosophies and plans with the community.
TXMMA’s latest interview is with Chris Carlino of the American Grappling Federation (AGF). Working with partner Brandon Quick out of their home base in the DFW area, Chris and AGF have steadily put together a very respectable and consistent tournament series over the course of the last four years. With their first tournament on 2015 on the horizon, Chris shares with TXMMA’s readers his thoughts on the future ahead.
Read on for TXMMA’s latest interview with Chris Carlino.
Interview with Chris Carlino (American Grappling Federation)
Chris, tell us a little bit about your organization’s history and connection to Texas.
Brandon Quick and I started running tournaments back in late 2011. The American Grappling Federation (AGF) was formed back in March of 2012. Back then, we hosted about 6 tournaments a year, almost exclusively in the Dallas area. In 2013, we started to expand to Houston and Austin. Brandon moved to Texas in 2007 and opened up his BJJ academy, and I moved here in 2002 so we’ve been here awhile and love jiujitsu. We wanted to contribute to the growth of the sport in the state.
Our first tournament was the No Gi Fall Classic on October 29, 2011. Back then, we were known as the Killer Apps Tournament Series. Early in 2012 we adopted the name American Grappling Federation and never looked back.
What has your schedule typically been? Are you expanding it moving forward?
We visit the Dallas/Fort Worth area around three times a year; Houston and Austin areas once a year. It is our plan to expand to San Antonio at some point this year. Outside Texas, we visit Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Georgia and Kansas are in the works as new locations for us this year also.
You (AGF) travel often. What do you love about Texas grappling specifically?
We’ve both been fortunate enough to be able to travel and train in a lot of different cities/states, and while there are talented grapplers in those areas, the sheer concentration of skill in Texas is incredible. Mix in that Texas hospitality, we leave every tournament with new friendships. That’s one of the coolest things about this sport; you can know absolutely nothing about a person, and after spending five minutes with them on the mat, you’ve established a bond.
When is your next event? Is there anything new in the mix?
Our first tournament this year is the Dallas Winter Classic. It’s on January 17th at the Bob Knight’s Fieldhouse. If you’ve been to an AGF tournament, you’ll be shocked at what all has changed. We’ve stepped up in a big way. We’ve gone through some serious upgrades. We have new mats, new medals, and an overall new look. Our rules have been revised based upon feedback from our competitors and coaches. In order to provide a better value for parents, all of our kids divisions are guaranteed a minimum of two matches. We think it’s important to get kids started off competing at an early age to help boost their confidence and allow them to work through their nerves. With the cost of training, that’s really cost prohibitive for parents to consider. So, starting with our Winter Classic, our tiny kids divisions (ages 4-6) will be completely free. We’ve seen a strong response so far in registrations, so it looks like these divisions will have a lot of competitors. As far as consistency, we will continue to run our tournaments in the most efficient and professional way. We receive a lot of praise at each tournament on how well they are run, and we aim to continue to meet those expectations.
Are there any concerns or point you’d like to focus on for AGF to improve even further?
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to grow our female divisions. A lot of female competitors are wanting to compete, but are hesitant to register out of fear that they won’t have anyone to compete against, and don’t want to lose their money. That should never be a concern for them. If I don’t have matches for them, then I’ll refund their money. Women should also consider doing the open class. Typically, there’s not a huge weight disparity among the women and it allows for more competition experience.
What do you hope to do for Texas in the future?
I’m always looking to showcase the best talent Texas has to offer. We have some really cool and exciting things planned out this year. The only one that I can mention right now is our Blue and Purple belt qualifiers. This is an opportunity for each belt rank to participate in a submission only format tournament and compete against the best of each of the other qualifying states. The top two of each qualifier can compete in our Invitational being held in Dallas on May 16. More about our qualifiers can be seen here:
To everyone in Texas, thanks a ton for your support. There’s a lot of tournament options out there, and we are honored that you choose to compete with us. We hope to continue our growth in 2015 and look forward to seeing ya’ll soon.