Edworthy Trains for Worlds
BRYAN YOUNG/St. Albert Gazette
The moment of truth for Tyler Edworthy was walking onto the mat for his match against a larger and younger competitor and a trip to the world professional jiu-jitsu championship on the line.
“It’s probably the most honest you ever have to be with yourself because you have so many questions and so much negativity going through your head,” said the 39-year-old purple belt from Morinville. “It’s a really weird feeling when you’re standing there. The guy I had to face in the final was a big guy, well over 270 pounds, and about six-foot-six or six-foot-seven.”
The six-foot and 225-pound Edworthy rose to the challenge at last month’s United States national pro jiu-jitsu tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif., to win the open purple-belt division and an all-expense paid travel package and registration for worlds at Abu Dhabi in April.
“I didn’t really know what to expect going in. There were a lot of questions, definitely,” Edworthy said of entering the Brazilian jiu-jitsu event on short notice for a crack at the travel package.
“It was my first professional tournament and that one basically will draw a lot of the top competitors because this is where the rankings come from as well,” he added. “They didn’t have my actual weight division, which is super heavyweight, so I had to compete in the ultra heavyweight and in order to get the travel package prize that I won you have to place in your division, which is first, second and third, which I ended up winning, and then you have to win the open, which is all purple belts in your division.”
The Morinville Jets alumnus was a perfect 6-0 in the ultra heavyweight and open divisions combined without surrendering a point. Matches are a maximum six minutes in length and Edworthy did all six during a two and a half hour span.
“I landed one arm bar and in the final in the open I had landed another arm bar but time run out just as I applied it,” said Edworthy.
He was joined at the tournament by Luke Harris from the Hayabusa Training Centre in St. Albert.
“Luke has been my trainer since day one so it means a lot to me what I did. I’ve put a lot of effort into competing and a lot of effort into training so it just translated really well for me. It’s kind of a feather in the cap for myself but an even bigger one for the program that we run at the Hayabusa Training Centre,” Edworthy said. “We end up competing against a lot of mixed martial arts fighters and we have a lot of them at our gym. I’ve done a lot of that training myself in the past as well.”
Edworthy credits his Hayabusa training partners for toughening him up.
“They humble me pretty quick. We have a really high level of competition in the gym that surpasses a lot of other places you can go to. The amount of pressure that we can put on other athletes just defines us differently.”
Last year at a tournament in Chicago, Edworthy swept the super heavyweight (under-222 pounds), no Gi ultra heavyweight and open divisions in his first international meet as a purple belt.
Worlds at Abu Dhabi promises to be a life-altering experience for the operations and sports development coordinator with the Town of Morinville.
“It’s the biggest professional tournament in the world. It draws all the top competitors so just to go in and rub elbows with those guys will be a huge honour,” he said. “My goal is ultimately to win. You never want to go in thinking you’re not going to win.”
Edworthy described himself as a grinder and points guy.
“My philosophy is position over submission so I make sure I have a really strong top control game. That will be the game plan going in (to worlds); work on some takedowns and make sure that I can end up on top right off the bat.”
Edworthy’s ideal competing weight is 215 pounds but is bulking up to surpass the 230-pound mark for the ultra heavyweight and open divisions at worlds.
“I will have to face the big guys again because they don’t have my weight class at Abu Dhabi,” he said. “I’m not the most fit guy right now but that will come in the next couple of months.”
Edworthy logs 10 to 12 hours a week sharpening his skills at the Hayabusa Training Centre and will work with a personal trainer supplied by the facility leading up to worlds.
“It’s is one of the only sports that you can compete even in training at one hundred per cent without seriously hurting someone, in addition to testing yourself mentally and physically every day and the amount of knowledge that you gain. I’m six years into this sport and I’ve just started to learn most of the aspects of it but every day when you go to the gym you learn something new, like a different position you haven’t heard of, and with the sport being relatively new it’s constantly involving and that’s what really attracts me to it.”