Navy grappler wins top prize at annual CAF tournament
By Ryan Melanson,
For the first time since the event’s debut in 2013, a member of the Royal Canadian Navy has outlasted the competition to bring home the championship trophy from the Military Combatives Grappling Championship (MCGC).
The MCGC is a pan-CAF military combatives exercise that takes the form of a tournament with multiple weight classes and skill levels.The annual event was held on June 23 at Garrison Petawawa, and PO2 Greg Fillmore of Naval Fleet School (Atlantic), who trains with the local 12 Wing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club, was named the tournament’s Absolute Champion. To do this, he was first required to win the gold-medal in his division, then defeat other gold-medal winners in an openweight tournament of champions to secure the top prize. In total, he won six matches, coming away with the gold medal, Absolute Champion trophy and ceremonial sword, which he’ll hold onto in Halifax until next year.
PO2 Fillmore first attended the grappling event in 2017, winning the silver medal in his division after a close-fought final match. To take it a step further this year, with the gold medal and Absolute Championship trophy, was gratifying, he said.
“It was a very redeeming moment for sure. I thought I had a shot at it last year and came up short, so it was quite nice to accomplish that this time around.”
PO2 Fillmore added that he was thrilled to represent the Navy in being the first competitor to ever take the championship trophy out of Petawawa. Only two sailors registered out of 168 grapplers, stacking the deck strongly against the RCN.
His final match came against MCpl Darren McGuire of 3 RCR, who took the Absolute Champion trophy in 2017. With a size advantage, as well as experience watching MCpl McGuire compete last year, he said he had a slight edge on his opponent.
I had an idea of what he was all about and what his game was, so I played it smart and I was able to win the match.”
The 12 Wing club also saw good overall success in Petawawa. Despite bringing a team of only four individuals, the team finished in third place for overall points, up against other teams composed of a dozen or more members each. PO2 Fillmore’s six straight wins gave them a big boost in points, while silver medals wins from MCpl Ron Dixon and Cpl Steve Canel in their divisions also contributed to the team’s score. While all competition is one-on-one, forming teams is encouraged to promote camaraderie and build esprit de corps among CAF members.
The local club has seen slow but continuous growth since being founded in Shearwater a few years ago, and have recently partnered with the civilian-led Halifax Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu society, opening the door for more advanced training for some 12 Wing members through guest seminars and occasional training sessions alongside the civilian club.
“They’ve been helping us out a lot. They have some elite guys thats we’ve been training with, and that’s helping to bring our people up to the next level,” PO2 Fillmore said.
“I’m one of the instructors for our club, so I try to get out there and train with their people when I can, so I can pass that knowledge onto our students.”
The 12 Wing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club hosts training sessions in the basement of the Shearwater Shearwater Fitness, Sports and Recreation Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., along with extra sessions on the weekend. The group is always looking for new members, and open to all experience levels, including those who are brand new to the sport. For more information, contact Scott.Rose2@forces.gc.ca or Gregory.Fillmore@forces.gc.ca.