from Lucas Lowry, Kimura BJJ Blue Belt, Boston
The New York International Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship took place at City College of New York on April 18th, and was hosted by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. Overall this tournament had a few problems but was run well, especially compared to the tournament options typically available in the northeast.
The tournament was scheduled to start the first divisions at 9:00 AM, which did not happen due a late start getting competitors and spectators in the door. Entrants were checked in at one door, and then checked by New York Public Safety officers at another door before getting into the tournament area. Security was less than what you would expect at an airport, but more than what’s been seen at the California events held by the IBJJF. I wasn’t able to find out if the security was a requirement of the IBJJF, City College, or a New York City regulation, but all entrants were scanned in a metal detector and had bags checked for weapons and outside food. Early competitors were pulled aside and put through first to get the tournament started as fast as possible.
Competition did start as soon the first competitors were through the door. This resulted in very little warm up time for the first fights but after the first round this did not seem to cause much of a problem.
The tournament facility was well prepared for the number of people. The locker rooms were big and clean, and the gym area was large enough that at no point during the day could you not walk down either side of the mats without getting caught in a human traffic jam. Food was offered at the tournament but the selection was limited to Gatorade, soda, hot dogs and hamburgers. While outside food wasn’t allowed the bag checks weren’t really thorough enough to not let any in.
Tournament execution through the day was very good in general. After the late start in the morning, they actually recovered and got the rest of the day running back on the original schedule. There were at least a couple instances of bracket errors with the wrong names progressing after a loss, but these were cleared up quickly.
The New York Open had a couple of snags but still offered a much better caliber of tournament than the NAGA dominated northeast is used to. Even with the late start and security things ran on time with the last medal recipients leaving around 7:30 or 8:00. The referee quality was of a much higher level, and participants knew roughly what time they would fight and that they would at least hear their name on the loudspeaker and not have to hover around one ring the entire day to not risk missing their match. The action was good over all, and had its share of crazy moments like when two white belts smashed several feet through the plastic barriers past the admin table, sending pipes sticking up into the air and knocking the banner off.
This is an installment in our Tournament Review Tuesdays column, where FightWorks Podcast listeners submit reports about Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling competitions that happened the weekend prior. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of The FightWorks Podcast.