By Tom Roush
Houstonian grapplers young and old enjoy a day of competition on the mats at Lone Star Grappling Championship
Houston’s F.A.S.T. complex was ground zero for the city’s Jiu-Jitsu community on Saturday October 8th as over 500 practitioners converged on the north Houston sports training facility for the North American Grappling Association Lone Star Grappling Championship.
The showdown had enough brackets and divisions to assure a day long series of competitive rolls, both gi and no-gi. Of the 500 entrants, 80 were experts with a minimum of five years training and either a purple, brown or black belt.
The day started with the kid divisions and these matches drew many kids with over three years experience which classified them as experts. Many of the youngsters were so fast and aggressive that head judge Ryan Cook had to instruct the other judges to pay special attention and call matches quickly to ensure the safety of the competitors.
“Some of these kids are better than the adults,” Cook noted. “The adults, we assume they know what they’re doing but the kids are so good and so fast, we have to be sure and end the matches before they get hurt.”
Match-ups were created using skill level, age and weight to create divisions. Boys and girls 13 and under competed in a division which then split them up by skill level and weight, and teens 14 to 17 were divided the same way. The over 18 crowd was divided by skill level and weight and then there was an executive division for rollers over 50.
Thomas Ames of Richmond, a life flight pilot for Memorial Hermann, entered his first competition in the executive division.
“I really wanted to push myself,” said Ames after his match. “And I was really nervous. It went by fast.”
Ames was taken down early by his opponent, but recovered quickly. After struggling to get out of his opponents guard, Ames lost his match near the end of the three minute round via ref stoppage.