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Back from yet another successful trip to the IBJJF Chicago Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Chicago Open is the toughest and most prestigious tournament the Midwest has to offer. Ran by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the same organization that runs the World Championships and Pans, The Chicago Open attracts the highest level of competition. Where as many local tournaments are unorganized and usually have sparse competition, the Chicago Open is both well run and contains numerous athletes in each division. The athletes that attend of of the highest caliber, including many international level competitors and world champions.
We started the First day off very strong, and while we had a smaller number of competitors than usual, they all rose to the occasion and took Medals in their divisions. For some of these competitors, it was their very first time competing, yet they seemed well prepared as the training leading up to this tournament was good and they all had spent a lot of time in the gym preparing. Our competitors know that there is no replacement for mat time when it comes to being prepared for a tournament. Overall we finished the First day with a strong start, bringing back 2 Gold, 3 Silver, and two bronze Medals to hang up in the gym. For those who didn’t win, but instead learned, they came back to the gym with plenty to work on and most of them didn’t even take a day off and were back training Monday morning to fix their mistakes. We love and embrace that kind of dedication here, it is what champions are made of. Saturday night was about food and rest as we prepared for the Sunday Gi divisions as well as NOGI.
Sunday started off well, with some of our white belts competing in their first tournament. Chicago is definitely a very tough place to start your BJJ competition career, but our newest competitors handle it like champions. Many great fights were fought and we were impressed with not only the physical, but mental performance of our athletes. It was amazing to see them fight with no fear and truly showcase what skills they have developed so far. Many bright futures ahead of them and for us a great sign of things to come for our team. NOGI went equally well as everyone who competed in NOGI took a medal home, which was amazing. Congrats to everyone who competed.
Next up we have competitors heading to Atlanta and then San Diego, before their trip out to California for World Championships at the end of May. There will be no break in the training as we have a local tournament (FUJI) in Waunakee in June and them another Chicago Open in August only two weeks before the Master World Championships. With a long and tough tournament schedule ahead, we will need the team in to train as much as possible to help their team mates achieve their goals.
Well, We are back from yet another successful trip to on of the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation’s Biggest Tournaments, The Pan Jiu Jitsu Tournament. The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation or IBJJF is the official sanctioning body of BJJ and there for is responsible for operating the biggest and most prestigious Brazilian Jiu Jiu Jitsu tournaments in the world’s. The Pan Jiu Jitsu Tournament is known as one of the big four, along with the World Championships, The European Championships, and the Brazilian Nationals. These are widely consider the most prestigious tournaments in the art of BJJ. As a team, Alliance is the only team ever two win all four in a single year. A matter of fact, we have done that twice in the history of these tournaments. Pretty soon it will be the Big 5, as the Master World Championships has surpassed some of these others in terms of attendance and prestige.
From here at Twisted Fitness/Alliance of Madison, we sent only 5 athletes to compete this year. That said, we returned with Three Medals. Over all we had Two Golds and a Bronze. First off was White Belt, Jason Meehan. Jason definitely has a lot of ability and it showed at this tournament. Jason had several tough fights in his division and showed some great technique. While Jason won some of his matches on points, he also won two by submission, including an omoplata shoulder lock in his Finals match. Jason has proven to be one of the best white belts in the Nation, and soon we will get to see how he performs at Blue belt, I’m sure!
Next up was Edward Flick. Eddie, as we call him, had a huge division of more than 75 Lightweight blue belts. There was a very high talent level in this division and Eddie was right in the mix. Eddie ended up losing a close match to a phenomenal opponent by only two points. Then next round that same opponent lost a referee’s decision (definitely a controversial one) to the eventual winner of the division. After seeing how well Eddie performed, there was no doubt he was among some of the best in that division.
Maxine Knetter would be the next competitor of the weekend. Maxine went into the Pans ranked #1 in the US and #9 in the world at female blue belts among all weight classes. That alone is a great achievement. Unfortunately, Max lost a battle of a match with the eventual winner of the division. She fought well, but unfortunately a few slight mistakes cost her the match. Making the podium at Pans requires a near flawless tournament performance. Max is already focused on fixing her mistakes and getting ready for the world championships.
The Black belt divisions are fought over two days on both Saturday and Sunday. People making it to the semifinals on Saturday will then fight the semifinals and finals on Sunday. Both Instructors Mark and Sonya Plavcan decided to compete again this year. Sonya had fought last year, earning a silver medal, losing the finals match by two advantages. She was looking to redeem herself and earn a Gold. Mark had suffered a lower back disc injury just days before the Pans last year, and while registered, could not compete. So for Mark, it would be his first BJJ competition in over a year and just a chance to get back on the mat and get back on track. Both Mark and Sonya would end up making it to Sunday and fighting in the semifinals.
First up on Sunday was Sonya. Mark was able to coach her during her first match of the day, but was called to the bullpen immediately after her victory. Sonya would then move on to the Finals match, while Mark was off to warm up for the Semifinals. As luck would have it, Mark and Sonya ended up competing at the same exact time, which was captured on a screen shot by one of our students. It was kind of special to see both instructors competing at the highest level in BJJ at the same time. Unfortunately Mark would lose by one advantage in the semifinals, not without a fair amount of controversy by a bad restart by the referees, which is clearly visible on the replay. That said, Mark was happy to get back out and compete at such a great event and after a very trying year of injury, return back to Madison with a Medal from such a high level tournament. Mark got done with his semifinals match and could only wonder what happened with Sonya’s finals match. He has always been able to coach her, so obviously he was nervous. But, Sonya being the champion she is, pulled out a submission win in the finals against her Brazilian opponent. Sonya was up 5-0 with a take down and guard pass and then secured the bread slicer choke for her victory and first Pan Am Gold Medal! Mark was just bowing off the mat from his competition when he heard Sonya’s name announced over the loud speaker as the Champion. Upset about his own performance, this was definitely some uplifting news! Sonya is now both a World and Pan Am Champion, making her the most accomplished Black Belt in WI. We are all very proud her, as well as everyone else who competed. It was a great tournament for a small BJJ academy in Madison, WI to be able to showcase how world class their BJJ really is! Next up is Chicago Open and then only a month to Atlanta Open and then the World Championships. The competition season is off to a strong start!
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to vote for us this year in the “Best of Madison” poll. This is always a huge honor for us. We work very hard as a team and it is always nice to be rewarded for our hard work. We are always striving to remain Madison’s PREMIER Martial arts facility. Providing World Champion level instruction in both Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication. We are happy that people appreciate the effort we are putting forth and we will continue to do so. If you haven’t yet given us a try, contact us for our free week trial and come see why year after year we are voted Madison’s best!
Big Congratulations go out to our very own Maxine Knetter on being the top ranked female Blue belt in the US and Ranked number 9 in the World! The rankings, recently published by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation are based on performances in the top tournaments every year. Maxine has reached the podium at every tournament she competed in this year, including many Gold medals in both her weigh class and the open class. But she isn’t done yet! Maxine has set her sights on the biggest tournaments in the world again this year, looking to conquer both the Pan Ams and the World Championships, as well as a few others.
As always, we have to make sure that everyone understands this was also a big achievement for the team. Nobody can do this by themselves. The fact that Maxine is constant thanking both her coaches and team mates, reminds everyone exactly how important it is to have a good team behind you. We all work very hard together to help everyone achieve their goals and this is just one more example of how great technique curriculum, great training partners, and great coaches/leaders in the gym can create champions.
The hard work we all put in and the focus on the best details and cutting edge techniques continue to put us a step ahead! We are looking forward to more from Maxine as well as all the other strong competitors we have looking to make a name for themselves this year.
Next up is the IBJJF Pans, only a few short weeks away. We have several competitors, including Maxine, who will be attending this tournament. Chicago Open is only few weeks later, then on to Atlanta Open in May before we journey to Long Beach for the IBJJF World Championships, the most prestigious event in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Nothing but hard work and (and hopefully some glory) ahead!
Even though there was a snow day in the City of Madison Yesterday, that didn’t stop many of our kids from coming to BJJ class and testing for their belt promotions. Promotions don’t come easily here at Twisted Fitness and these kid’s have spent lots of time preparing for these tests. Many hours were spent drilling the techniques to make sure they were ready to perform at the highest level when asked to demo for the coaches.
The kid’s were asked to demonstrate a variety of techniques from Passing the Guard, Self Defense, Sweeps from the Guard, Escapes from all the positions, as well as Take downs/Throws. It was great to see how much these kid’s have learned. For many of these kids it was their first belt test. As nervous as they may have been, they were very focused and everyone looked like they had been training for years.
Now, for the kids who have moved up a rank, there comes even more responsibility. Many of them will be asked to take leadership roles in the classes to help them develop other skills that are useful on the mats as well as off them. These responsibilities will help the kids advance even further in both the gym and their daily lives. Seeing this progression also gives the newer students something to shoot for. Next up for many of these kids will be competition training, since the competition season is upon us. The kids already started sharpening up their submission skills today as we began the first day of the newest part of their journey. We are looking forward to what these kids achieve next.
After the test, the kid’s were called up one at a time to be awarded their new belts. Many kids were also awarded stripes, which signify that they are moving closer to their next belt test as well. Each of the students is congratulated by each coach after their achievement. The students walk through the line and shake the hands of each coach and receive their praise. Afterwards we always say a few words about what it means to be promoted. We tell the students that promotions comes more responsibility. It also brings more hard work. We can never rest on what we have achieved, we need to look forward to what we will achieve next and work even harder to get there. We will still fall down, we will still lose and get tapped out in training, but we will be better every day because of it. It is great to see the kids absorb this knowledge and you can tell the truly understand what it will take to be even greater tomorrow than they were today. The sky is the limit.
Congrats to Zamy, Sevi, Andrew, Nate, and Owen on earning their Gray and White belts. This is the first step in a very long journey and you guys are off on the right path.
And special congrats to Rogue for earning his Yellow and White belt. Rogue has been with us for quite a long time now and has become a great leader to the younger students. He has accomplished several gold Medals at tournaments as well as grasped some advanced concepts for both throwing and grappling techniques. We are happy to see him take one more step forward!
This past weekend at Twisted Fitness in Madison, WI we held our second seminar in our competition technique series. We had a full academy and there was just enough room for everyone to work. This seminar focused on the Passing of 1/2 guard to the 3/4 mount and then continuing attacks to take the mount or back position. The focus was on complete domination of position and high point scores for competition BJJ. We started the seminar off where we left off in the last one, passing to the mount position from 3/4 mount. From there, we worked several different ideas on how to complete the pass to mount, which would net 7 points in a tournament situation. Each situation was dictated by the opponents reaction to the initial pass attempt. This gave the students several options to explore when passing from this position, all of which are very easy to apply and very dominating.
Next was the idea of forcing the opponent to expose his back from the 3/4 mount and we began to tighten up the seat belt position with everyone. Once the seat belt was applied, the back maintenance drill was all that was needed to secure the hooks and the points. This was definitely some technical details for all the competitors. By the end, everyone felt more comfortable with the 3/4 passing and the back attacks from 1/2 and/or 3/4. To top it off, we added in a choke attack when these options fail to work as well as a pass to cross body, which was the consolation prize for not being able to pass to the mount or back position. Once all the pieces were in place, all the students were immediately more comfortable attacking from these positions. We ended the seminar with some competition team training, trying to work the techniques that were just taught. It took only minutes for some of the competitors to see a huge difference in their mindset and attacking ability from positions they were uncomfortable with only a few hours earlier. Thanks to everyone who attended. As the competition season gets underway in only a few short weeks, we will be adding in some more seminars to tighten up as much as we can before Pans and World Championships. Stay tuned!
Maxine Knetter has done it again. Maxine, or Max as she is known around the gym, has been working hard to grow into her blue belt. This was definitely a big challenge for her. First up was her weight class, in which she had three matches. She dominated each match, never having a point scored on her. It was an amazing performance. Gold medal number one was in the books. Since she took a spot on the podium in her division, she qualified for the Open class. In the Pro tournaments, the Open class pays out prize money to first place. Money always brings out the higher level competitors. Max went to work, having to win four matches to take Gold in the Open. She got off to a quick start, winning her first match with a guard pull arm bar. She moved swiftly through her division, defeating her next two opponents on points. Stepping into the finals match, she knew she was going to have her toughest match of the day. There were no points scored in the finals match, but Max managed to achieve more advantages and come out with the win. Double Gold and a little bit of Prize Money, Max had a phenomenal day. After this performance, Maxine should be ranked in the top 20 Female Blue belts in the WORLD! She joins our number one world ranked Black Belt (Sonya) as another demonstration of not only how great our women’s program is, but how great the entire Alliance Curriculum is at producing top notch competitors. Max will be heading out to San Antonio this weekend for her last tournament of the year and then resume in Feb. 217 at the Atlanta Open, working her way towards a hopefully successful showing at the Pan Ams and World Championships in Spring 2017. Best of Luck Max, thanks for representing our team and Academy so wonderfully.
Hey guys, it is that time of year again. Please vote for us in the Best of Madison poll. Every vote counts and really helps the Academy grow! You can vote once per day per person/Account. Every time you vote, take a screen shot and email it to us at email@example.com This is part of a larger contest we are running, first place will receive a brand new Storm Competitor GI. For all the details, see a Twisted Fitness staff member for a contest rule sheet. To Vote, click on the Best of Madison box above and it will take you to the site. Make an account or use your existing account(s) to vote. Thanks!
Photo Courtesy of Ivan Trindade and Gentle Art Media
Congrats to Sonya Plavcan, Our new World Champion. This past weekend in Las Vegas, NV, Sonya set out to accomplish what is the Largest Goal for most BJJ competitors, to win a World Championship. Sonya, having just received her Black Belt this past February, jumped head first into competing at that level by taking Silver at the Pan Ams in March. Only a month into her black bet she lost her finals match by only 2 Advantages and never had a point scored on her the entire tournament. Not entirely happy with her performance, she returned to the gym and set her site on World Masters Championship in August. Well, her hard work definitely paid off. After a great 6 week training Camp, held at Twisted Fitness to prepare the students prepare for Chicago Open and World Masters, Sonya set out to Las Vegas to purse her Dream. Sonya’s first task, winning her division. Sonya was able to win her division without getting a point scored on her, making her WI’s first Black Belt world champion, Male or Female.
Next, Sonya set her sites on the Open class. Anyone who takes a medal in their division can enter the Open weight class and fight Opponents of all sizes. Sonya was the lightest woman, by weight, in the open class division. Sonya’s Semi Finals match put her against the same woman she fought in her weight class final. This time Sonya caught a submission on her opponent (knee bar) and moved on to fight the finals against a Super Heavyweight. In the finals match, Sonya pulled guard and quickly set up her half guard. She began to attempt to set up the sweep from the half guard, meeting strong resistance from her opponent, who outweighed Sonya by almost 40 lbs. She finally found the correct technique and timing and swept her opponent, then proceeded to try and pass the guard until time expired, winning the finals of the open class 2-0 on points. Again Sonya did not have a point scored on her in the Open class.
We are all very proud of Sonya’s performance and for everyone who knows how much she been through over the past few years, this has definitely been quite a momentous year for her. First receiving her black belt, next her stellar performance at Pan Ams, taking the silver only one month after being promoted to black belt. Then she goes on to take double Gold at the most prestigious Master’s tournament in the World, making herself a World Champion. Sonya is now THE Top Ranked female Black belt in the world in her class.