Well I was not planning on making the drive up to the Los Angeles area for the first day of the 2008 Brazilian jiu-jitsu Pan-Ams, but Bruce Hoyer kept talking about it, so how was I to resist? After traffic and getting a bit off course once (or twice), I made it to the gymnasium at Cal State Dominguez Hills campus around 8:30pm, and the blue belt divisions were going strong.
I spoke with Mike Buckels today, who we had on the FightWorks Podcast episode 96, when we about the First No-Gi World Championships. Buckels is the Event Staff Coordinator of the IBJJF and we discussed the growth of the Pan-Ams from 2007 to 2008.
Not surprisingly, there has been a big jump in competitors: in 2007, there were approximately 1,800 BJJ competitors at the Pan-Ams, and this year there are 2,000. To accomodate the higher turnout, they began competition at this year’s tournament at 9AM instead of 10AM. Even with more capacity to run matches, he said that the matches would be running until 9pm.
I asked if they expected even more competitors next year and he replied that they indeed do – so much so that he believes that they may set a limit on the number of registrants for the Pan-Ams next year!
Also on the to-do list for the United States Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation according to Buckels: requiring competitors from the United States to show their USBJJF identity cards if they want to compete. “USBJJF identity cards?” you say. “What is that?”
Currently BJJ competitors from Brazil, France, Portugal, Japan and Canada must present their official federation IDs if they want to compete in the Pan-Ams or BJJ Mundials. Expect the USBJJF to undertake the task of implementing a similar official member registry of BJJ practitioners here in the United States at some point in the not-too-distant future.