On Sunday July 17th, 2011 Scranton MMA hosted the Eastern Pennsylvania Judo Promotional Tournament.  The event was held at Scranton MMA due to the size of both the Judo training area and the Gracie Jiu Jitsu training area as well as having more than enough space for all the parents and guests to watch the event.

The event started with the testing of all the participants who were seeking promotion.  The Judokas had to demonstrate their knowledge and technical proficiency in Judo terminology, Judo throws, chokes, pins and armbars.  Scranton MMA had a bunch of kids seeking promotion and a large group of adults seeking promotion.

The instructors at Scranton MMA did not test any of their own students and since we were lucky enough to have a large group of instructors from other clubs come down for the promotional they tested all of our students and we did the same for them.  Even though we did not test our students we did get to see their test scores and everyone from Scranton MMA did very well on everything they were tested on.  This made all of our instructors very happy!

After the testing the competition portion of the event was held.  The competition portion is actually two competitions in one.  The first part is a kohaku or line up tournament.  The competitors are lined up by rank and weight.  Lightest white belt to heaviest white belt then lightest yellow belt to heaviest yellow, etc etc.  The first two competitors compete and the winner stays on until he loses. Constsantly facing heavier opponents, more experienced opponents or both! Everyone fought very well during this portion of the competition but we had two HUGE standouts that got everyones attention.  First Nick Shoemaker in the junior devision won 5 matches in a row.  He beat several people who out ranked him by two belts and had one victory that only took him five seconds total match time.  Nick fought until there was no one left for him to fight in the line up and then bowed off undefeated during the line up.  A great accomplishment especially considering this was only his second competition and his first promotional tournament.  In the adult division Jeff Reese also won five matches in a row.  Jeff had some great submissions along the way and won a match where he was outweighed by about 40lbs and out ranked by 2 ranks.  His only loss was to ‘Hercules’ who was 3 ranks higher than him (black belt / shodan) and out weighed him by over 100lbs. 

After the line up the competitors are then placed into pools and continue to fight.  Again both the kids and the adults did great.  Display great heart and determination as well as outstanding sportsmanship and control when necessary.  One stand out performance here was Jenn Williams who fought all the females in the competition despite being outweighed at times by 80lbs and won all her matches with Ippon.  She won matches both standing and on the ground.  She also displayed great control and sportsmanship by keeping all of her opponents safe and then even giving them advice on how to improve after the matches.

I wont go through the details on everyones promotion.  It might bore you too much.  I will say this everyone from Scranton MMA who was seeking promotion got promoted.  This is a great TEAM accomplishment.  Everyone worked hard in the weeks leading up to the tournament and it paid off big time.  I will mention some of the more noteable promotions.

Matt Leslie was awarded his Junior Brown Belt. 

Nick Shoemaker was promoted via Batsugan to Junior Brown Belt!

Dominic Dougherty was awarded his Senior Brown Belt.

All of our Yellow belts were promoted to Green belt.

Jeff Reese was promoted via Batsugan to Ikkyu or “1 step away from Black Belt”

Vito Picozzo was unamiously promoted to Shodan or the rank of Black Belt.

When you are at the Scranton MMA this week please take a minute to congratulate Vito on his new belt as well as our adult competitors who got promoted and especially our kids who serve as a great example to us on what the results of consistent training and hard work will do for us all.