Feedback on the IBJJF 2014 European Open in Lisbon
The IBJJF European Open was the main BJJ event in Europe of the beginning of 2014. The tournament was a great success with more than 2000 competitors, some Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s worldwide stars and a stadium constantly crowded out. However I won’t talk about results (other websites did it well!). I rather invite you to discover the tournament’s Lisboet atmosphere.
Lisbon in Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s colours
In the city centre, far away from the gym, you begin to feel it. Starting the day before the competition, you can see groups of competitors at the bend of the historical centre’s streets. Caps on the head “American style”, hoodies with logos from the academy or a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brand, cauliflower ears, the “fighter” style is proudly showed off and people are relaxing.
Getting closer to the gym, the atmosphere is completely different. Faces are closed and concentrated, the walk is hasty. The continuous flow of visitors in the neighbouring streets indicates the way to the stadium (no need for signs! By the way there were none…).
Team spirit first
Even as a spectator you can feel the “pressão” once you enter the gym! On the mat but also in the grandstands where teams fly the academies’ flag and fiercely support their friends who are fighting.
There are many Brazilian jiu-jitsu celebrities walking around the mat, in the “black belts only”area. Among them Victor and Braulio Estima, Carlson Gracie Junior, Roger Gracie and Caio Terra present to coach (with intensity) all their students, regardless of their class, belt color, age, or sex. Very friendly too, they pose with pleasure with every fans for a picture.
The tournament’s star
One of the tournament’s main events was the black belts open class; especially the semi-final between Jackson Sousa (Checkmat) and Yuri Simoes (Brasa Caio Terra and former Checkmat) where tension was extreme.
However at the same time the public got passionate for Paolo Amodeo. This Italian blue belt, who was amputaded one leg after an accident, won the bronze in his category with technically impressive fights. The public gave it back to him with standing ovation after all his victories.
A corollary to the slam’s ban?
I am wondering about the rule relating to slam’s ban after watching the competition three days long. I saw many times fighters pulling closed guard and hanging a long time on their opponent who stood up and therefore blocked the game (on 3 mats at the same time the second day!). If it’s logical to forbid the slam because it’s dangerous, wouldn’t it be appropriate to sanction the lack of combativeness from the ones who take advantage of this ban?
One should keep in mind that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu’s first objectives are effectiveness and realism. In a real fight situations or MMA fights the guy who pulls closed guard and keeps hanging on his opponent will be slammed. So we shouldn’t encourage fighters to play with rule?!
Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s spirit
I will retain from this first time at the IBJJF European Open that beyond the competition, it first gathers people passionate by Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Each one has a place there: female, juvenile and male competitors are on the same pedestal. A friendly spirit where I had the chance to catch up with people I met during my last trip and to make new unforgettable meetings.