by Jon Broster
Manchester, in north west England is famous for many things: Manchester United (the world’s most famous football team), Oasis (leading exponents of Brit-Pop music), it is home to a number of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies and is also the location of the British Amateur Wrestling Association’s headquarters, as well as being only a short distance from Wigan, the home of Billy Riley’s Snake Pit the legendary catch wrestling gym. As such, it is perhaps surprising that it has not held a BJJ competition over the last few years. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that this competition was organised by Gus Oliveira of Grab & Pull who is based in Brighton on England’s south coast, some 200 miles away. Gus has been running the Grab & Pull Brighton Open for some time now, so I was expecting a well run event.
Sugden Sports Centre is part of the University of Manchester and is a very pleasant venue – it was clean, airy and spacious enough for the number of competitors involved. The competition was run over six mats and started pretty much on schedule. Right from the start it became clear that although there were six mats, there were not six referees in attendance. In fact, anyone used to attending competitions held further south would have been surprised to see no black belts refereeing at all – the highest ranking referee was Oli Geddes who is a brown belt under Roger Gracie. The standard of refereeing was, however, good, with very few complaints about bad decisions. The lack of referees did mean that the event progressed a little more slowly than was expected and meant that there were no absolute divisions contested. The event was well organised, with relatively clear announcements and divisions running when the organisers said they would.
As is becoming the norm at UK competitions, the standard of competition was high, with some excellent displays of skill in all divisions. It was good too to see a large number of academies represented on the results table.
One thing that must be mentioned is the excellent medals, specifically designed and cast for the event – truly worth competing for. Overall, I had a thoroughly enjoyable day and will almost certainly compete again next year.
Jon Broster trains under Victor Estima at Gracie Barra Midlands. He placed 2nd at senior middle heavy.
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. Through the rest of 2010, if you submit a Tournament Review Tuesday piece, you might win a gi!