rene r. it wasn't your complaint that got the competitor stripped. Their was somebody in the intermediate (a teamate) and no advanced, in the end the competitor took home two belts from the advanced without a single match.

EmenGeeRoxx - At a recent tournament (not Joslin), there was a high ranked judo guy in a lower division. I went immediately and complained to the promotor, and he said to come back if the guy won and they'd deal with it then (because if he lost, they wouldn't have to deal with it). I don't know if that's normal, but it could be.

Kashk - I believe there was only 2 years and under, 2 years and over (beginner and advanced) for women, unlike the men's division. FWIW, the lady on my team did offer to have some matches in the higher division (and even higher weight-class, I think) just so she'd have someone to fight (outside the beginners) but we never heard back.

And I'd run from Gene Labelle in a beginners division too! ;)

FWIW - I do agree with Kashk that it was more organizational confusion that any foul-play going on. The girl in question suffered needlessly, and as much as anyone, as well (getting stripped and being mistaken for a sandbagger). That's one reason, IMHO, rules need to be clear for grappling experience and need to be double-checked at sign in.

Rene r. all I know is that there were three women's divisions in the gi, the one up from the competitor was won by her teamate. The competitor walked away from Joslins with two advanced division belts because there was no one to compete against.

Here is the rule I would follow in terms of sandbagging. Computerize your event,and require ID. That way nobody could enter and win a beginner divsion two years in a row.

Rene r., thanks for your fair minded comments, I feel really bad about that incident and I hope you don't feel that I directed it at you.

Anyway as for sandbagging, safety is a concern, and my first match ever was against a 342 pounder, who told me prior to our match ( I later got confirmation that it was true) that this was his first gi match in 7-8 years. He was a blue belt with 8 plus years experience, but trust me it was fair, and he was in the right division.

In BJJ I think the biggest problem with sandbagging is that instructors often don't promote their competition students in keeping with their skills, giving them at least a year to really clean up. Personally I think that's good for the sport, the higher the standard the better the art.

Hey Kashk,

No worries. I can imagine, as a ref, the last thing you need on top of having to watch carefully and make the tough calls, is stuff like that distracting you and all the competitors.

I think there's some confusion in the divisions. They advertised 4 (Gi 128-, Gi 128+, No-Gi 128-, No-Gi 128+), As you can see from their flyer but in Showdown Magazine's result section, they only show 2 Gi, and 1 No-Gi division as having been run, for a total of 3 over 2 experience levels (albeit they list the results incorrectly for the No-Gi).

Rene we totally hijacked this thread.

My main point is that if you stop sandbagging you will hurt tournament attendance, because many people will be afraid to compete at their experience level.

I think it cuts both ways. I've heard a lot of people say they don't go because of sandbagging; paying $35-$65 just to lose right away to an advanced person sandbagging, and maybe get hurt while doing it.

So, while you lose some, you may gain others.

sandbaggers are cowards.

"That way nobody could enter and win a beginner divsion two years in a row."

This is the only really fair an effective measure, even though it is contained to a local level.

Just because someone enters an event 2 years in a row in the same division doesn't mean shit; they could have been hurt, working two jobs, or whatever; but most importantly:

If we begin to automatically advance competitors to the next competition level the next year, what does this sound suspiciously like? McDojo ranking systems! BJJ is an extremely complex art which requires natural athletic ability and a lot of time to dedicate to training. Just because someone is a year further in their training doesn't necessarily mean they got much better!

If you promote someone just because they have been there a long time, you might as well have a family TKD studio. Some people take 6 months to achieve blue; some might take 3 years. That is the nature of the art.

Sandbagging sucks, no doubt. If you win a couple of beginner events, then you are probably ready to move up. I know some guys that have entered numerous tournaments over a couple of years time, and not won a match. But they love to go. Should they have to move up and fight more experienced guys next time out? Of course not.

Mike Valetine,

If a person enters competes in alot of tournaments at a certain level and doesn't win one fight (or relatively few fights) then he (or she) really needs to think about dong something else. Maybe this competition thing isn't for them.

Likewise if a person enters alot tournament at a certain level and wins all of his fights (or most of them) then he (or she) needs to move up.

The fundamental function of competition is "challenge". It is the challenge that illicts improvement. If the challenge is too much or too little than competition in and of itself really isn't worth anything.

In my opinion you can give excuse for those who are "afraid" to move up and challenge themselves. In my opinion alot of the so-called difference between belt is more psychological than actual.

There are many who could and should compete at a high level then they are competing in BUT won't because they actual psyche themselves out and refuse to believe they are potentially better than they think they are.

They are alot of people who are like that. They won't move up because they are afraid of losing and thus would rather stay where they are and keep on winning. I guarantee a good coach in another sport would be on their athletes but who had that type of attitude and mindset.

Such a person isn't a true competitor and really shouldn't be competing.

m.g. i thin kwe should encourage people to compete because it helps the sport grow, and serves as a great BJJ diagnostic for the individual competitor.

Maybe they just like to compete? Training in BJJ is a microcosm of the competition experience when they roll in class, so why wouldn't they want to try at the local comp?

Unless they have a shot of winning they shouldn't enter?

You talk about people not wanting to compete because they are afraid of losing . . . at least these guys are trying . . . and it helps support the promotors financially to assure we have more than 2 or 3 local tournaments a year, and I am talking about a major metropolitan area (Dallas) that has multiple BJJ black belts teaching, and Machado has had 1 tournament all year. Kenny Mcclure had another, as did Buddy Clinton. That isn't very many.

Mike Valetine,

I have competed. And competition in and of itself doesn't make you better or give the edge it is the "preparation" for competition that does that.

And if there is no challenge in competition then you won't push yourself when you prepare for it. How much of a challenge is it to compete against someone you know you can beat?

People will be drawn to competition (regardless of the sport) when there is true competition and not just the same old person winning time after time in the same division against the same people.

The good and talented fighters should fight other good and talented fighters and not fighter that are easy for them. This in and of itself will make the sport better. Iron sharpens iron. Magic Johnson was a better competitor and ball player because of Larry Bird and vice versa. A true competitor NATURALLY gets up, that is doesn't his best, against some one who is good and a worthy challenge because a true competitor wants nothing more than to prove himself against someone who is as good or even better than himself.

No person does his best against someone they know they can beat.

Like I said before a person who competes and wins often in the same belt level BUT doesn't make any effort to compete at a higher level simply is afraid of losing and really isn't confident in his skills against competitors of higher calibre.

"m.g. i thin kwe should encourage people to compete because it helps the sport grow, and serves as a great BJJ diagnostic for the individual competitor. "

Well put Kashk!

People compete for many different reasons, much like people participate in BJJ for many different reasons.

IMO there is a great gulf between those who wish to compete for competitions sake and those who are out there seeking recognition or re-affirmation of their abilities/skills. The idea that people who are consistently winning one division should be bumped up to a higher division is probably a necessity for the 'integrity' of the competition however far from an imperative for social players.

I'd liken this situation it to social basketball league: should the team win during the season, typically some players will move on and join in a higher grade competition next sesson, while others like the balance they've achieved. This doesn't detract from the enjoyment for those who wish to remain in the lower division but by the same token it is recognised by the wider basketball community that those lower grade competitors, despite their 'impressive' competition record are just that.