Brazilian jiu-jitsu is almost as much fun to watch as it is to participate. In addition to watching various MMA competitions which often showcase some solid BJJ skills, there are several key jiu-jitsu tournaments throughout the year that are worth a look. Attending or watching a tournament can be a way to inspire a fighter to continue his or her studies of jiu-jitsu.
The most prestigious BJJ tournament, the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, typically was held in Brazil. However, in 2007, the tournament was moved to Long Beach, California. While this took the championships away from its place of origin, it did raise the interest level in the tournament significantly. This tournament, which is also called the Mundials, has competitions for men and women. Divisions are separated by weight class, but there is also an Open Weight or Absolute category. Few fighters have more than one championship title, and even fewer of these mutli-title winners are from a country other than Brazil. Roger Gracie, who has been successful in both MMA and BJJ, has earned 10 Mundials championships.
The Pan-American Championship is another of the largest BJJ tournaments in North America and falls under the guise of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. Thousands of athletes take part in this multi-day event, which has several different categories for fighters. There is a juvenile division for BJJ fighters, 16 or 17 years of age, an adult category for those age 18 to 29, a Master skill division for those between 30 and 35 and three Senior divisions that span the age from 36 years old to age 50. Fighters also are organized by weight class.
Wanting to spread the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu around the globe, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation stared up the European Championship in 2004. Not surprisingly, the European Championship takes place in Portugal, and many of its champions hail from Brazil. This tournament is set up much like the aforementioned tournaments with age and weight divisions, and this event continuous to gain popularity and momentum each year.
Since 2009, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi has hosted the Abu Dhabi World Pro. This event is completely paid for by the Crown Prince, and he even covers the travel expenses of any fighter who wins one of the event’s trials. These trials are held across the globe, and include divisions for both men and women, divided into weight classes as with the other tournaments. The main event or Absolute class is open to anyone who is willing to pay their expenses, and you do not have to have won a trial to compete in this class.
In addition to the big tournaments, there are plenty of smaller, local tournaments held in every state throughout the year. You should have little trouble finding a great Gi or No-Gi tournament to attend. If you are taking Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes and have reached the point in training where you wish to compete, ask your instructors about the possibility of entering a competition. They can help you become both physically and mentally prepared for your competition and can point you toward a tournament that is right for you.
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