By Bryanna “Pink Ranger” Fissori
Following on the heels of last weekend’s Icon Grappling submission-only tournament, Hawaii All-Star Jiu Jitsu held their first event featuring 10 of the islands best Jiu Jitsu practitioners.
The event took place on February 7th at The Fix Nightclub in downtown Honolulu. Presentation came together surprisingly well for this inaugural event with a raised mat in the center of the venue secured to a stage had to be constructed same-day in avoidance of the previous night’s “First Friday” crowd. Mat host Chris West kept the matches rolling at a smooth pace with no intermission, introducing each competitor and allowing them time to address the audience a the end of each match.
The night started off with a no-gi match up between Marcus Willson of Grappling Unlimited and Jeremy Nita of Mad Tiger Jiu Jitsu. Both players looked comfortable in both top and bottom positions with a number of sub attempts from guard by Wilson who eventually got the win Wilson with a Omoplata camel clutch (also called a inimari choke) that earned him “Sub of the Night” honors.
The second match was a hard fought match up between Luke Hacker of Longman BJJ and Neil Andre of Novo Uniao. The two athletes came to play hard and the crowd responded well to the energy they brought. Hacker, very comfortable with his bottom game submitted Andre via Brabo choke with less than five minutes left on the clock.
Frank Cabral of Brazilian Freestyle and Joel Bouhey of Maui Jiu Jitsu had the most aggressive match up of the evening, with dramatic takedowns and transitions that left the two competitors straining to stay on the mat, while the Hawaii All-Star BJJ crew made a consorted effort to keep them out of the crowd’s laps. This did cause the two to stop and reset in the center of the mat a number of times. The match ended up a draw.
Brad Scott vs. Alessandro Ferreira was cancelled due to injury.
Scott Junk of the UFC Gym and Patrick Stachel of Mad Tiger Jiu Jitsu faced off in a heavy weight no-gi bout at 280 pounds each. The bout went the whole distance with lots of movement from both opponents on the takedown attempts before Junk settled in to a dominating back position followed by side control in which he nearly finished Stachel via Americana in the very last minute making for an exciting finish, complete with a count down from the crowd.
The main event between Rhalan Gracie of Relson/Ralph Gracie Academies and Mike Fowler of North Shore Jiu Jitsu was what you would expect from two high-level, evenly matched masters of the art. Following dynamic takedown attempts, the two black belts fell into a standard position of Fowler on bottom with Gracie in his guard, which is where they stayed for the majority of the match making it a very technical performance which ended in a draw. There was a an obvious amount of respect between the opponents, setting a positive example for Jiu Jitsu etiquette and a calmness that can only come from a lifetime on the mats.
The overwhelming take away from the night was that every competitor was excited to preform the art on a larger platform and would like to see Jiu Jitsu grow and improve across the island. The sense of respect and commerodery between opponents is rare consistency in any sport, but has the potential to be a catalyst for the state to grow into a true Jiu Jitsu force to be reckoned with.