Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Personal Example of a Slam

Searching for "BJJ Slams" on Google pops up with a match I was responsible for reffing two years ago.  It looks like I get to critique myself.

First, the relevant rules on slams.  According to US Grappling's rules:
No slamming allowed. Illegal slamming will be defined as slamming your opponent to escape submissions and/or to pass the guard; or standing from the guard and/or jumping from a standing position to slam your opponent. Slamming will result in an automatic DQ. There are no exceptions to this rule. Takedowns are NOT considered slams, but you must deliver your opponent safely to the mat.
 The IBJJF uses the following pictures to define a slam rather than text:

I would have preferred some text, but I guess those pictures should be the equivalent of 2000 words.  I personally look for the competitor to apply force before I'll call a slam.  If the competitor just drops his opponent, perhaps from a standing guard break, I'm much less inclined to call a slam.

Now that we've got the rules out of the way, let's look at the match.  This took place at the 2010 George Pendergrass Classic in the absolute division (hence the disparity in weight) under US Grappling rules:

0:21 - Hunter hits a massive throw.  I'm out of position here and the competitors collide a bit with the ref on the next mat over.  I realize I need to control my mat and run to get between my competitors and the other match.

Positioning is very important for a referee.  Moving yourself between your competitors and nearby obstacles allows you to quickly stop a match if the competitors are on a collision course with something bad (hard gym floor, other matches that are going on, the scoring table, etc).  Also, staying close to a match allows you to jump in and stop it if the safety of a competitor is in jeopardy.

1:58 - Hunter is locked in a triangle and looks like he is about to power bomb Joseph.  I immediately move closer and warn him about slamming.  I say a small prayer for Joseph.

2:09 - Hunter puts him down.  Crisis averted...

2:12 - Hunter confuses Joseph for a lawn dart and picks him up and slings him.  While I don't think this is technically a slam (it's probably more of a throw), it definitely deserves a DQ.

Joseph ended up being OK, but I think he hurt his neck and was dazed for a bit afterwards.

The thing I'm most disappointed about is that I lost confidence in my call when I began to argue with Hunter's coach and I almost overturned myself.  I was scared to actually disqualify somebody.  Fortunately, the head referee and organizer quickly appeared on scene to support me and I upheld my decision.

I learned from this and I try not to get sucked into arguments anymore because:
  • It's not good for confidence.  Acting quickly and decisively as a ref requires extreme self-confidence.
  • It wastes too much time.  Time I spend arguing is time I'm not spending running the next match
  • It invites more arguments.  Once you open the door for coaches to intimidate you, it's hard to get the door shut again.