Ladies & Gentlemen,
The WANG BJJ TEAM has just returned from the Pan - Asia International
BJJ Championships that was being held in the Philippines this past
weekend and thanks to the brave and courageous performances put on by
21 of your friends and teammates, we won the TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP!!!
Despite the presence of several strong teams, including a contingent
of the Philippine National Judo Team, we were able to capture several
medals and everyone involved trained hard, fought their best and
After accepting the team championship trophy, some of the guys came up
and thanked me for training and coaching them to victory; but it is
important to note that even the best trainer/coach needs men & women
that have strength and honor in their hearts and the desire to put it
on the line; YOU guys deserve all the credit and you have made me as
proud as possible. Thanks for the memories and we just won our THIRD
straight Team Championship and let’s get our fourth in July!
Following is a recap of how some of the members did and pardon me if I
leave anyone out or report anything incorrectly as I am going purely
off memory right now.
BRIAN CURRY did an excellent job and won one of the toughest divisions
in the whole tournament, the White Belt Absolute which is a division
open to any fighter regardless of size or weight class. He’s come a
long way and has victories in BJJ and MMA this year already and I look
forward to watching him get even better.
RICH HAMPTON fought his heart off and at one point was beating one of
the best competitors in the White Belt Open until he made a mistake
that cost him the match. Rich had a beautiful double-leg takedown in
that match and has shown so much improvement since the Jing-Mei days
and the one thing I heard the whole event was Rich encouraging his
teammates and he definitely played a large role in us winning the team
MIKE HARRINGTON who won his White Belt 85-95 KG division despite
fighting with what could be a broken thumb suffered during his match
when he got thrown by his opponent. He fought through the pain and
was able to squeeze out tough victories despite being handicapped by
the injury. Great display of heart and character and was
inspirational for all of us to see.
KAI HUNG captured the Bronze Medal in the 55-62 KG Blue Belt division
and despite limited practice time for this tournament (He’s working on
the last few requirements for his Master’s Degree in Electrical
Engineering) beat a guy much larger than him in the 1st round and
fought like an animal against a Olympic Judo player. Kai was a victim
of a BIG THROW but kept his composure, fought hard and earned the
respect of everyone there.
JOEY KOVACS beat one of the best Blue Belts in his division who was on
an absolute tear until Joey stopped him via points. Joey showed great
wrestling takedowns and good positioning on the ground and flashed
some of his enourmous potential.
ISAAC CHANG fought a tough first round match and lost when he was
ahead with about 50 seconds left. Issac lost because he did not want
to win on points and was gunning to submit or reverse his opponent
until the final whistle and although that mentality cost him this
match, his attitude and moxy will soon make him one of the most feared
SCOTT SOMMERS battled in one of the toughest divisions and despite
suffering an arm injury was able to capture a Bronze Medal in the
76-85 KG White Belt class. Scott was visibly tired in a couple of his
matches but refused to quit and fought until the final whistle.
Another example of hard work coming together with a no-surrender
attitude and reaping great rewards for it.
STEVE McMILLAN fought as hard as anyone on the team and did very well
considering he did not practice for a month leading up to the
tournament as he suffered a ankle injury in practice a while back. At
one point, Steve was pinned down with a Judo press and did a great
reversal to escape the hold. Steve fought as well as we could have
expected under the circumstances and the best thing was he didn’t use
his injury as an excuse and I know he will get better from this
BEN PRICE was the star of the show. First, let me congratulate him on
earning his Blue Belt from me immediately following the tournament and
second for winning the Gold medal for the 95+ KG White Belt division.
He put on a dominating performance and once again displayed the heart
and fire that I have come to know and expect from him. Let’s all
congratulate Ben on earning his well-deserved Blue Belt!
ERIC MAH quite possibly fought with the most passion out of the whole
team and was doing a fantastic job of posturing and opening the guard.
Eric is easily my most improved student and has done everything
possible to be a competitor. He made some rookie mistakes in passing
the guard that cost him the match, but has vowed to train even harder
to get ready for the next event. I know he will.
JUSTIN LEE had one of the most exciting matches in the tournament
where there were several reversals and escpaes. Although he came up
short this time, his non-stop motor and refusal to quit was truly
inspirational to watch. I expect him to be a medalist in a future BJJ
CHRIS JACKSON fought like a warrior and had a couple of really tough
matches. When I first started teaching BJJ here in Taiwan I didn’t
know how long Chris would last because he suffered an assortment of
injuries. Not only has he stuck around and become one of my most
improved players, he ALWAYS shows up ready to fight and gives it his
all. He made a mistake with the opening takedown attempt that costed
him the match, but he left everything on the mat and I’m very proud of
his effort this past weekend.
KAIDER SHEEN, fresh off his exciting triangle choke victory in our MMA
event, fought very well and earned a Bronze medal in the 55-62 KG
White Belt division. He used some slick ground work to win his first
two matches and then had a exciting match with an excellent wrestler
in the semis where he lost by points. Kaider is still young and
hungry and I know he will continue to improve.
JAMES SINDEN fought some rugged matches and once again showed the
intensity and desire to win that he displayed at the previous events.
In the Seniors division he fought a tough Japanese opponent where
James was able to execute a beautiful reverse from the bottom position
that had the whole arena clapping.
NICK STACH continued to show his improvements and progress and he’s
becoming a better competitor every time out. No one shows more effort
in practice and the desire to improve and I know Nick will continue to
give it his all in practice and competitions.
HAGAN COOPER came straight off the bus and into action and fought hard
against his nemesis Vaughn Anderson and had a few exciting matches.
More importantly, Hagan is getting married as we speak and is one of
the finest individuals I have met. He is a good man and we all wish
him a great and bright future with his wife and family.
VAUGHN ANDERSON lived up to his nickname of “Blood” by doing one of
the most ruthless chokes in the tournament when he wrapped a lapel
around the teeth of a 4th degree Judo Black Belt and made him tap when
the teeth started to crack! Vaughn captured the Gold medal for the
Blue Belt 85-95 KG category and everytime he competes, you know there
is going to be some serious action.
NICOLAI HOLT had a rough outing in the beginning but came back to have
two impressive matches as well as winning the Gold Medal for the
Seniors division. Nicolai, who is one of the most analytical students
I have, is a great example of how competing can really light a fire to
train hard and strive for perfection.
SEBASTIAN from the Taichung club was a rookie but fought as hard as
anyone in the whole event. In his first match he was being held down
quite effectively until he scroed a big reversal and changed the tide
of the match. Although Sebastion lost the match, he displayed the
no-quit attitude that all future champions have.
WARREN WANG celebrated his 29th birthday on the day of the event and
nobody cares about his teammates and Taiwan BJJ more than him. He was
helping with coaching even though he had to compete later on in the
day, he was right there on the edge of the mats for his teammates. I
don’t know if anyone took the time to thank him, but I know how
stressful and tiring coaching can be let alone worrying about your own
matches. Without Warren Taiwan BJJ could not have made it this far
and whatever successes we have in the future will be greatly
influenced by him.
And a special thanks goes out to DAVID SINCLAIR who came along to help
out the team members and was providing a lot of laughs and good times
to keep the guys mellow and loose during the trip.
We did it guys, we did it!