Greetings from the Jigoku Dojo in Aberdeen, everyone!
The game has changed. The MMA scene in Scotland is increasingly shifting to a focus on Pro rules; with the new C class taking over at most events and we believe that this is a good thing. Fighting at actual ‘shows’ will now require far more preparation and the problems arising during discussions of the old ‘amateur’ rules now seem obsolete. A couple of years ago, when MMA tournaments in Scotland were still scarce, entering a competition was seen as an honour available to the few athletes most committed to the sport, training hard and pushing themselves to the limits. After the ‘boom’ which occurred later on, the amount of places available at tournaments increased and so did the number of people participating.
How did this affect the quality of fights? That is debatable.
Yet, one thing which was and is still missing is some sort of bridge between ‘the amateur’ and ‘the pro’ fighter. And, now that the bar has been raised in the latter, this gap has increased. Here, at the Jigoku Dojo, we think we’ve come up with an idea of how to solve this problem.
It is our pleasure of invite you all to the first tournament of SMMART – the Scottish Mixed Martial Arts Rookie Tournament.
The location: Aberdeen Sports Village, Aberdeen, AB24 5RU
The date: 17th of March.
Who we’re after: Aspiring fighters with no previous experience of participating in MMA competitions (those with one amateur fight in the ‘old’ rules format will be considered).
If you’re a BJJ purple belt, have won gold in eight grappling comps or have had ten Thai fights in the past, please remember – this is a rookie tournament and intended to be a learning experience. It has been created for those who wish to polish their skills and increase their knowledge so that by the time they enter the cage, they will already have some experience and feel more secure when competing at pro level in front of a crowd.
Rules format: All bouts will be fought in accordance with the new C class rules.
How do people feel about headguards? We know what you’re about to say – they’ll slip off, turn to the side, what about chokes, et cetera, et cetera. But this is about the safety of the rookie and let’s be honest there are fights around the world which are already being fought with headguards on (in cages, at real comps) and somehow it works. We got a grant from the Aberdeen University Sports Union to get a dozen of the best headguards money can buy (any suggestions?) and we’ll test them thoroughly at all possible conditions before we decide to use them at the competition. So watch this space.
Light Heavyweight (-93kg)
What we’re after:
A relaxed atmosphere:
No actual audience (fighters are discouraged from bringing a huge crowd of spectators with them), no chanting of phrases such as ‘kill him’ or ‘bust the cu**’* face open’. It’ll be just you and your teammates and you’re there to learn, to get to fight with people other than your own crew, who want to be beat you really badly.
A safe environment:
This is an amateur event. An amateur who decides that ‘snap before tap’ is the way to go and gets injured is never going to make it pro-level. That’s why we will take special care as to prevent this sort of situations. Our referees are going to be extra vigilant and this means that, even though you may believe you could have resisted that armbar or ground and pound expose for a couple of seconds more, we have the final say and will act quickly if push comes to shove. The competitor’s safety is going to be the top priority at this event.
No taunting, no disrespectful behaviour such as swearing, no taking your gumshield off and throwing it at the judges – to name a few. We’re a Mixed Martial Arts dojo, but our roots are Japanese martial arts and we are strong in what we call ‘budo’ – a real warrior’s code of conduct and it is going to be a value permeating the entire event.
We’re hoping that, if this event is successful, further tournaments will follow. This would be easier than in the case of pro-level tournaments as the event organisers are not aiming for profit – the entry fees will cover the booking of the hall, the medals and other minor expenses, but that’s it. This is an event organised solely for the purpose of helping out the young talent that’s out there, but needs some brushing up before it’s shown to the public. Everything else is not that important.
If you are interested in participating, send your name, the name of the team you will be representing, your weight and a short description of your martial art experience (any events you have participated in, what sort of martial arts you have trained and for how long etc) to email@example.com.
If you are a team leader and don’t have any exact names/weights yet, but are willing to participate and have a vague idea of how many guys you could put forward, then please get in touch as well! This will help us with the preparation process – the sooner, the better!
Any comments, thoughts or ideas are most welcome!
Sempai of the Jigoku Dojo, run by Shihan Marc Howes