November 10, 2012

MARTIAL ARTS: Maine Skirmish takes place Sunday

Kennebec Journal Staff

WINSLOW -- The 17th Maine Skirmish will be held Sunday at Winslow High School. The grappling tournament, which began in 1996, is again sponsored by Huard's Martial Arts.

The Skirmish runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and admission is $8.

Typically, the Skirmish will draw about 200 competitors from several states. There are nearly 50 categories, ranging from one division for boys and girls age 6 and under, to split novice and intermediate/advanced classes for women ages 17-39 (depending on weight) to the Men's Masters Division, with lightweight and heavyweight classes.

Naturally, the rules differ depending on age and experience. If you're under 10, you start on your knees, If you're a girl under 17 or a boy under 13, there are no submissions in the bout. If you're a novice or under 17, you can't do leglock submission moves like the kneebar (hyper-extending the knee) or the heel hook (twisting the foot).

At the same time, a lot of the focus in on sportsmanship and respect for the competition. The entry form warns grapplers against sandbagging, and says that a win in the novice division moves you to the intermediate/advanced level in your next bout. Making comments to an official, your opponents, or the crowd can result in immediate disqualification.

One highlight of the event is the sumo competition at 10:30 a.m. There are nine divisions for junior sumo, and all competitors are age 16 and younger. The top two competitors in each division move on to a "yokozuna" match for the title. With the Skirmish being held on Veterans Day, the competitors will enter while holding American flags to honor United States veterans.

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