Tournament Review: The Crackdown Classic

A couple of months ago, I got to compete in a tournament called the Crackdown Classic.

The tournament had a different kind of rule set, similar to ADCC: a period of submission only, then a period of points. If no submission or points were scored within that time, three minutes of sudden death followed by a ref’s decision.  Also, all submissions and positions were legal in the gi.

The tournament was a true double elimination, which means that someone who loses in the first round can still go on to win gold. You have to lose twice to get knocked out of the running.

The experience was so unique and noteworthy that I feel that it should be shared with the rest of the jiu jitsu community

I will open up with the positives of the tournament:

  1. The rule set was literally the most open rule set I have ever competed under.  I know a lot of purists will say that heel hooks should not be allowed in the gi. Honestly after watching how people get stuck in them when in the gi, I understand why, but still it really did open the submission game up in an extraordinary fashion.
  2. The double elimination format made it so that competitors had the maximum possible number of matches.  When people compete, their goal should be to gain experience. The medal should really be the cherry on top. This gave competitors an opportunity to experience as many matches as possible.  Moreover, the format meant that matches could go a long time.  If you’re going to compete just trying to get medals, this format would not be optimal. But if you are trying to gain mat experience, this was amazing.
  3. The tournament was ambitious and offered many different divisions including kids divisions, adult divisions, and absolutes with cash prizes.  Oh, and it was gi AND no-gi.  This tournament did a LOT in one day.

Now for the negatives:

  1. The rule set was in some ways TOO open, especially for the venue and reffing staff.  One ref possibly prematurely stepped in on a couple of occasions to end matches in the expert division, leading to some complaints.  At another point, I tapped to a heel hook and my opponent kept cranking. The ref didn’t seem to notice my tap even though it can be clearly seen in the video.  Fortunately, I’m okay, but the injury could have been catastrophic.  If you’re going to have a diverse set of submissions allowed, you need refs who are able to keep a close eye without interfering.  Also, the refs were wearing shoes on the mat, which is in my mind a cardinal sin in jiu-jitsu.
  2. The tournament seemed to be trying to do too much in one day.  I think that having kids divisions follow a similar format to the adults may have been a mistake.
  3. The venue was small and poorly set up.  Four mats for around 90 competitors with gi, no-gi and absolute divisions was a tight fit.  Couple that with the fact that metal folding chairs were set up about a foot from the mat and there were numerous problems throughout the day.

For a first effort, the Crackdown Classic was a great tournament with lots of matches under an unusual rule set.  They are in the process of setting up another tournament for later this year, so keep an eye out!  I would definitely recommend it.

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Emil Fischer is an active black belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio ( and teaching at Ararat Martial Arts and FItness Center. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (, discount code EmilKatsu), Eddy's On Coventry, North Coast Cryo ( NottaRookie, YM ( discount code COOKIES), Defense Soap ( discount code COOKIES) Impact Mouthguards ( discount code EMILIMPACT), and North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear


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