Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crazy Things We Do For Love....My First Grappling Tournament

Meet Daniel.

Daniel is my wonderful boyfriend who has somehow managed to put up with my antics for over a year now. Over the duration of our relationship, Daniel has introduced me to a lot of new places and things that otherwise I would probably never experience. The reason for my gratitude about this is twofold - one, for him being willing to share his life with me; and two, the comedy that usually ensues makes for excellent blog material.

Daniel has been taking judo classes for about two years now at a dojo in Winchester. Dojo is the technical term for "gym-type place where people take martial arts lessons." In addition to judo, Daniel likes to participate in grappling competitions. I don't know how to describe exactly what grappling is, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and it says that grappling is "a general term that covers techniques used in many disciplines, styles and martial arts that are practiced both as combat sports and for self defense." There you go.

You can imagine my skepticism when my dear boyfriend asked me if I would like to go to a grappling tournament with him this past fall, especially when he told me that we would need to leave about 7 am in order to get to Louisville for the weigh-in at 8:30. Oh, the irony.....I'm what you might call a little high-maintenance in regards to personal hygiene & vanity, and so this meant that I would have to get up around 5:15 am in order to leave by 7. But, I wanted to be a supportive girlfriend, and I have to admit that my curiosity was getting the best of me, so I decided to go.

WELL. I can honestly say that I was not disappointed when we finally arrived at the gym at 8:30. I could immediately tell that the grappling competition was going to be a highly entertaining place. Basically how it works is a huge mat is placed on the floor (in this case, over half a basketball court) and the mat is divided into 6 areas, all labeled by number. Now when I say "divided," I mean, there are 6 tables around the edges of the mat and pretty much you just try your best to stay in the general area of the table while rolling around on the mat with another person. It was insanity. Matches were going on at all 6 stations at once, so at any given moment there were 12 men grappling with each other in generally the same area. It was a frequent occurance that one match would run into another and then it became really confusing because I couldn't figure out who was supposed to be where. I felt really fortunate that at most times I could pick Daniel out of the melee. Observe:

That's not Daniel, but on the left is Jim, one of Daniel's fellow dojo-mates who also attended the grappling match. Do you see what I mean? Look in the background.....those other two guys were a lot closer than it looks like in this picture. It's basically just a big free-for-all.

Jim, Daniel, and lots of medals!

We were at the grappling competition for about six hours, and while I was (and am still!) super proud of Daniel winning two medals, what I really came away with from the day were these three things:

1. There are a lot of male drama queens at grappling tournaments. I have never heard so many grunts and groans in my life, all from men who were shaved and spray-tanned like their life depended on it. Also, here's a hot tip if you are planning to invest in the stock market: high-priced sporting wear (ex. Under Armour, etc.) would be a great choice because let me tell you, some of the men at these grappling competitions are keeping them in business.

2. Some men should never, ever go shirtless in public, not for any reason. Self-explanatory. Come on fellas, if you know you are going to be shirtless in public, try and clean up a little. Your Teen-Wolf-esque back hair is not attractive for spectators.

3. It looks like half the guys at grappling competitions are deaf, but they aren't. It seems to be a popular thing to do to carry your mouthguard around your ear at grappling competions. This confused me at first because I was unaware that grappling was such a popular sport for deaf people. Upon closer examination, they weren't hearing aids, but mouthguards. My point here is, don't be fooled, everyone can hear everything you say.

All in all, my first grappling competition was a highly entertaining and fulfilling experience and I will definitely be attending another one. However, this time I will be focusing less on the action and more on the doesn't have anything on this crowd. Don't worry, I will take lots of pictures!


  1. halee,you are so very specialand i am very very lucky and fortunate to have you as part of our family.tony p.

  2. I'm sure when you signed up to date me, that you had just these kinds of things in mind :) As a people observing specialist, I know that you appreciate it! --DAK

  3. Thank you for your sweet blog comment the other day :) I am definitely praying for clarity, patience and faith. IT helps knowing I am not the only one struggling with these things! xo