Only a month after his awesome Gold Medal performance in the Chicago Open, Tony Mangi repeats his performance in the Charlotte Open down in Charlotte, NC. Tony has been training with us less than a year and this is his Third Medal (Two of them Gold) already this year. Tony is a very dedicated student who spends lots of time on the details and tries to attend as many classes as he can during the week. Tony is proof that hard work, coupled with a solid Methodology offered by the Alliance Team, can create champions in a very small amount of time. We look forward to seeing what Tony will do at Blue belt as well, which is surely coming soon!
Better Late than never, finally our write up for the Master Worlds Championships has arrived. This year Marked another stellar year for one of our Head Instructors, Sonya Plavcan. Sonya took Double Gold in last years Master World Championships for BJJ, winning both her Weight class (middle) and the Open weight class (no weight limit). This is considered one of the “Big 5” by the IBJJF, the organization responsible for competitive BJJ all over the world. The IBJJF Master World Championships is the biggest title for any competitor over 30 years of age. Winning this is definitely no simple task and lots of preparation and hard work go into competing in an event like this. Of course, Sonya, know for her strong work ethic and determination, trained as hard as she could for this event. Weeks out from the event most of Sonya’s competition had moved down a weight class from Middle to lightweight. Rather than risk not having anyone to compete with, Sonya immediately made a few adjustments to her already strict diet in order to make lightweight. She made the weight with ease as she is very determined to be successful and stepped on the mats in the lightweight division. Sonya dominated the competition, again not having a point scored on her for the whole competition. It is hard enough to win a tournament like this, but doing it without having a point scored on you is almost unheard of. We also had a few other competitors compete this weekend and while they did not reach the podium, which is always very difficult, they fought great and really showed that they belonged their. Congratulations to Sonya and everyone who made the trip to compete. As Always thanks again to the entire team who helped prepare the competitors, the spot at the podium does not happen on it’s own. it takes a great team to produce great competitors like ours and we are very happy to have you all on our side.
Back from a great weekend at the IBJJF Chicago Open Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Championship. The Chicago Open is held twice every year and is by far the most prestigious tournament we have in the Midwest for BJJ. The talent level at these tournaments are higher than any other tournaments held in the area and attract some great competitors. Just looking through the brackets, you can see name after name of many world class competitors. Competing at this tournament is never easy. The team puts in lots of hard work on technique, conditioning, diet, and strength training to make sure we are ready to perform at our best. This was to be a one of the best showings we have ever had at this tournament, with almost every member of the competition team reaching the podium. This was just one more testament to how our curriculum and training programs are working so well. From White belt all the way through Black belt, we achieved medals in every division. Truly a world class performance from our competitors.
We have already had many fresh promotions this year, particularly to the purple belt, which is always a tough division to win. When we promote our students, we are always making sure they are ready to immediately be competitive at their next belt level. Our students proved this with two of the students recently promoted to purple belt took Gold Medals in their respective divisions. Always nice to know that the belt promotions were deserved and earned. It is never reassuring to a student when they can’t represent their belt level, so we always like to make sure we have prepared them for the next step in their journey. Overall, there were tons of medals earned and great technique shown on the mats. We know how hard it is to put it on the line and compete. To represent your belt and your team in competition, is the truest display of how great your BJJ is. Congrats to everyone who competed and the rest of the team that helped them prepare!
Stay tuned for the Master World Championship update coming very soon. Spoiler Alert……We had a phenomenal showing and a repeat World Champion!
After a little delay, we have finally had the time to get a write up for the Fuji tournament in Deforest, WI. What a stellar performance we had Adults and Kids alike. We are always proud of anyone who chooses to test themselves in the competition arena. While competitions is only a small part of what we do here and not the main focus of our program, we always like seeing our competitors be successful. this day would show us that we had a brand new crop of potential champions who took the mats for the first time in competition. They all looked prepared and the resulting Gold Medals were too numerous to count. We once again proved why we have the best BJJ program in the Madison area.
The day started with the Kid’s divisions and we got to work right away. We had 11 Kids compete at this tournament and everyone left with multiple medals. It was great to see these kid’s come together as a team to not only show case their skills, but to support one another in their competitions. Soon after the kids arrive at the venue, The more experienced immediately took a leadership role and began talking to the newer students about getting focused and talking to them about what to expect on the mats., They also lead the other Kids through warm ups and helped them with any last minute questions. It is always amazing to see our young talent take such great leadership roles.
The Kid’s got to work right away, taking their skills to the mat in phenomenal fashion. From Their wrestling and Judo to their Guard passing,m sweeps, and submission skills, no stone was left unturned. They dug deep into all of their training and unleashed some great Jiu-jitsu. One by one they began to rack up the gold medals, many of them having to face their team mates in the finals, which is never an easy thing to do. They showed great sportsmanship and whether they won or they learned, they smiled and performed their best. We are so proud of these young competitors and the example they set.
Next up was the Adults. Starting with the white belts, it was clear that we were going to continue having a stellar day of competition. The team showcased many of the techniques we have been working on in the academy, many finishing with submission victories on their way to the podium. Everyone who competed put in a lot of work in and out of the academy to be prepared. While not everyone can always be a champion, taking the time and effort to set forth a goal, push your self to your limits, test your self against other opponents, and learning how to both win and lose with humility are the reasons we love to compete. To say we were happy with the results would be an understatement. Between kids and adults we had close to forty competitors and not a one left the venue empty handed. There are more Medals than we can count, but inthe end, the memories of competing along side the team is always the best reward. We are so proud of everyone on the team, whether you compete, help other’s train to compete, provided a ride to the gym for someone, show up to train with a smile on your face every day, or just come out to support and cheer them on, you are all the reason we are the most successful BJJ team in the Madison area.
The first weekend in June marks the time when the best BJJ competitors in the World descend on to the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach California for the IBJJF World Championships. Make no mistake, this is the highest level tournament an adult BJJ competitor can compete at. The list of competitors is always a “Who’s who” of top level athletes. Every match is a tough match and nothing is given away, everything is earned. We are blessed to have such a great team and training environment here, that we are always able to send multiple competitors to tournaments like these. Being the only team in the Madison Area (and one of the only in WI) who is able to train athletes to compete at such a high level, we are always expecting our athletes to perform well.
While not all of our athletes will make the podium each year, they always go out and fight their hardest, never giving an inch and using a superior mindset, coupled with tedious amount of hard training, to apply superior skill on the Mats. This year we were lucky to see the culmination of a great two year run by Maxine Knetter at Blue belt. Max has spent the past two years competing all over the Nation at Blue belt. She took Double Gold Medals at the New York Pro, Gold in Chicago Open in both the Fall and Spring, Double gold in Atlanta Open, Gold in San Antonio Open, and the list goes on. Max then fought at the IBJJF Pans, losing a hard fought match to the eventual Gold Medalist. Max would get her chance at redemption, having her second match at IBJJF Worlds be a rematch of that fight. Max had worked hard on fixing her mistakes from the Pans, and it paid off, securing a victory over a very tough Brazilian fighter with amazing talent. Max would end up making it to the Semi-finals of her Bracket and would end up with a bronze Medal in her division. No easy task at the World’s and we were very proud of her. But Max wasn’t done yet. Making the Podium in your division means you qualify for the Open class, which is the top competitors from ALL weight classes fighting in one division. The open class is where you truly test your BJJ against both the smaller, faster opponents and the bigger stronger ones. Everything has to be right to win each match, it is always a showcase of high level BJJ. Most of the Blue belts in these tournaments look better than many Black belts from your local non competition gyms. Their skills have been refined to truly apply their BJJ in real situations.
Well, Max got to work and immediately found her stride. Max made her way from opponent to opponent securing a victory at a time and again made it to the Semi-finals. It seems the Gold medal wasn’t meant to be and Max struggled with some spider Guard passing and ending up again Taking the Bronze medal in the Open class. But two Medals from World Championships is definitely amazing and we are so proud of her. It is worth noting that the woman who won Max’s weight class also won the open class, proving that Max’s division had THE toughest competitors at Female Blue belt in the World. The fact that Maxine could not only defeat Many of them, but bring home TWO Medals, proves how well the system is working. It is also worth noting that Max is 100% the result of putting hard work into the system we use. Max started out as a White belt with no experience and has followed the Alliance curriculum to a tee, embracing the details and learning great BJJ. Our system is simple and easy to use, meant for EVERYONE to learn BJJ. and as we can see, it is also capable of producing very high level competitors. So Max returned to Madison and proudly laid her Medals on the Front Desk for everyone to see. We will hang them in the Gym with Pride as we begin to prepare for the up coming events still to come this season. We still have many more competitions this year and many goals have been set by the competitors, so let’s keep up these great numbers we have had as well as the phenomenal attitude being put forth in training right now. It is really something special.
So we decided to surprise Maxine, not long after she returned from the World Championships, with a belt promotion. After her performance on BJJ’s on BJJ Highest stage and winning more tournaments this year than one could remember, it was definitely well deserved. She has managed to make the podium in every event and usually with the Gold Medal. While she was not able to take Gold at World Championships, she proved beyond a doubt, that she was one of the best blue belts in the World this past year. So at the end of a long night of training with the competition team, We called Max up front, recapped her history as a White and Blue belt, then promoted her to purple. We assured her that her technique was already on it’s way to being a great purple belt and that she would be back on top of the podium soon at her new rank. We are always so proud when ever any of our students wins a tournament, but more important is how the represent the Academy and Team as a whole. Max always thanks her coaches and her team mates (Every one of them) for helping her get as far as she has today. She is a great example of what any our students are capable of when they take advantage of everything our BJJ program has to offer. We look forward to watching Max take the next step in her journey. Max proved how ready she was, winning her first tournament at Purple belt only a week after this promotion. But you will have to read about that in our “Fuji Tournament Recap”, coming soon!!!
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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!