Submission Pro Tour Sacramento Open Recap

In case you have not been following my Instagram feed, it has been a few days since I competed in the Submission Pro Tour Sacramento Open. It was a very well run event and all the staff, refs, promoters and competitors were very friendly and helpfull. Now onto my reflection of the event.

I am very satisfied and happy with my performance. I was able to take home a third place finish, with two matches in total. My bracket was awfully small for my weight class. I competed in the 181 pound class and assumed it would be stacked, although there were only five competitors total in that division. Due to the odd number of competitors, I was the first match of the tournament and the winner of the first match would move onto the semi finals with the rest of the competitors. My first match was a tough one. My opponent came out strong and aggressive right off the whistle. He was quick to establish grips and attempt to pull guard. I was able to stay out of his guard and upon standing back up, attempt a guard pull of my own (I will create a more in depth breakdown video of each match for my YouTube channel). My opponent was aggressive throughout switching to different attacks one after another. At one point he had a kimura grip on my left arm looking for a submission. I had a strong grip on my l’appelle preventing my shoulder to be compromised. He proceeded to yank on the grips he had in order to break my grip and isolate my arm. It was at this point I realized he was exerting himself. The match was five minutes long and resulted in no submissions, leading to over time. I was able to make it to the end of the third overtime. I knew I was down on the time carbs and needed to accumulate a significant amount of riding time to lock in a guaranteed win. At this point my grip was fatiguing and instead of clinging onto his collars for positional control, I switched to classic collegiate leg riding techniques that learned in high school. I kept both hooks in and used a power half series that I was particularly fond of in high school. My opponent did a very good job defending the few submission attempts I went for. After about three minutes of riding time, I saw an opening for an armbar attempt. I did not have good enough control once my hips were set and my opponent was able to slip his head and arm out. After the officials calculated the total riding time, I was awarded the win based off of overall riding time.


After this match my grip was pretty shot. My forearms were so pumped! I felt more pumped in my forearms after that match than I ever have during a killer arm workout. I ate a banana to get some quick energy back before my next match which was about ten minutes after my first match. My second opponent was coming in fresh and ready for action. He came out strong just like my first opponent. Although he did not have as much control over the positions and left openings for me to scramble, he did have me in danger of a sneaky Ezekiel choke from mount. Like my first match, no submissions during regulation resulted in the need for overtime. I chose the back just like I had in my first match and made the mistake of not being aggressive off the whistle and looking for an escape. I remained calm and collected, but was not as active during the first overtime round and gave up about a minute of overtime for my opponent. I was unable to have prolonged control of my opponent like I did in the first match. At the end of three overtime rounds, my opponent had longer riding time locked in than I did. He was earned his raised hand by the ref and moved on to the finals leaving me in third place.

My experience at the Submission Pro Tour was a great one. All week and during the weekend I was working on homework and other academic responsibilities. This pressure to complete all my assignments on time throughout the week of the tournament and even the morning of allowed me to use the tournament as a break from the noise. I went to have fun and learn. Even though this is the lowest placing I have earned since beginning my competitive grappling journey, I am most satisfied with this result. The competition was game, I saw major improvements in my own jiu jitsu skills, and learned what I need to work on next. One of the biggest improvements I believe I made in preparation for this event was my submission defense and ability to stay calm and collected. I have been competing in grappling related sports since 2011 and have had my fair share of matches where I went out too hard in the beginning and or panicked when I was in bad position. This event I was able to relax throughout each match and remain cognitive throughout. Something I need to work on for my next competition is my grip endurance. The strength is there, but the ability to last several matches unfortunately is not. I also need to work my escapes from bad positions as well as my ability to capitalize in scrambles to obtain dominant positions. I am not sure if I will compete again during 2017, but I am looking forward to improving and bringing heat in 2018.

For more information on my grappling journey and training, follow me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage). For more information on personalized training programs, and customized nutrition guides for any grappling oriented sport, email me at


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