Let me start with... whoah. I have to thank my friend and teacher Garry St. Leger for getting me to go to this event. This was my first live Judo event, and it was amazing to see such a large crowd gathered at the New York Athletic Club. It makes me believe that there is a corner in this city to fill anyones interests.
This was a 6 team mens tournament including: France, Germany, Canada, USA, Japan and... Japan again. While none of these were the A teams of each country, this was still world class level Judo. The US and Canada were knocked out early in the tournament, and the big dogs were left to fight it out. While I am still very green to Judo, the intricacies of grip fighting and kazushi were much more apparent watching live.
Japan seemed to have the best technique despite being a university team and giving up at least 20lbs in each division. In the end, France showed that they are one of the foremost nations in Judo, and took the tournament on the last bout.
I always regret not bringing my gear and relying on my camera phone, but this time I feel that I was able to take in the event even more. Sometimes when you're out there in the orange vest, you only see through your lens and everything else gets lost.
Maybe we'll see some of these guys in Rio 2016. Keep me posted Garry!