2008 California State Pankration Championships

2008 California Pankration Championship

2008 California Pankration Championship

I wasn’t planning on competing in this tournament, but at the last minute the SDWA tournament I was going to the same weekend was cancelled. I had not been doing a lot of stand-up training and no Jiu-Jitsu, so we called Sensei Jeff Clark for help. He is such a cool person and great friend, that he made arrangements for me to train with Nitro Nick Garcia the week before the event. Sensei Jeff took the time to help me, even though he was leaving the next day to go to the Philippines with Brandon Vera.

Nick was the perfect choice to train me. First off, he won the Advanced Men’s Division at the 2007 Full Bred Pankration Championships. Second, he is a flyweight (under 130), so we can roll without him crushing me. And finally, he’s a super talented mixed martial artist that is great at teaching, plus he’s very chill! We met twice at MAI, my karate dojo (thank you Sensei Aaron for letting us use the dojo) to train submissions and Muay Thai. We also met up at The Compound the day before the tournament and I rolled in the cage a little with Jacob Lambert, the son of UFC Star Jason Lambert. It’s a great place to train MMA if you’re in the North County.

We drove up to Santa Ana College early in the morning. I weighed in at around 63, so I went into the Novice Flyweight Division. There were 11 kids in my division. My first fight was against a girl. I didn’t want to fight a girl, but I had no choice. Some girls are very tough, so I was going pretty strong at first and landed a hard Muay Thai kick to her ribs. I could tell she was hurt and then she started crying a little. I didn’t want to hurt her anymore, so I just danced around and hit her gloves. When the ref realized what was going on he stopped the fight. My next fight was against a boy. In the middle of the match I got ticked off so I push-kicked him and he went flying backwards across the mat! Pretty easy win. In the semi-finals I faced another girl. She was a Muay Thai kick boxer and very good at striking, but I was able to throw her several time for the win. Once when I did a nice throw, could hear the crowd go “ooohhh,” because there were a lot of people watching by then. She posted the video on YouTube:

After that I was in the finals! With less than one minute to go I was in his guard, up eight to one. I had taken him down and scored with some ground and pound. He caught me in a loose armbar. I stood up to shake him off, but sadly the ref stopped the fight. I didn’t tap or verbally submit. It wasn’t tight at all. When it comes to kids, they are very careful so no one get hurt. It hurts bad enough when you get beaten fair-and-square, but losing like this was the hardest loss ever. Now I know why many fighters say not to “leave it in the hands of the judges.” It was my fault for getting into that situation. I should have pushed him back down to get out. So, I took 2nd at the State Championship and it’s the second time I’ve taken second place doing pankration. Got to train harder…

After my matches, I got to meet Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver. I had seen him on TUF and liked his personality. He is also being managed by North County Fight Club now. He was very cool and has a killer tattoo on his hand. All and all it was a pretty good day.


~ by kidfighter on April 6, 2008.

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