by Andrew Kuiland
The 2009 Friendship Tournament was meant to be a small tournament from the beginning. Perhaps though, it was a bit smaller than anybody anticipated. There seemed to be no more than maybe 60 competitors all together. These were mostly white belts along with a dozen or so blue belts. I arrived about 10:30 to watch some of the white belts that I train with fight. For most of them this was their first tournament.
When I arrived I found that things were running a bit off schedule and the kids were still wrapping up. They were only working off of one of the three available mats. This tournament is run using about a third of the available space in a large facility that is all at ground level, so no bleachers but plenty of room for spectators and competitors to warm up. The parents and coaches were shouting from the edge of the mat, rooting on the kids and teens that were fighting. The kids all did a great job and gave it there all. I was genuinely impressed with some of the technique and skill I saw in a few of the matches.
The kids were cleared out and the white belts began their matches by about 11:30 or so. You could see the nerves and intensity in peoples faces as this was a really big deal for them. Things were already over an hour behind schedule so the spectators were getting a bit restless and the fact that the temperature was climbing by the minute didn’t help. Due to the lack of enrollment, there did turn out to be a lot of mixed brackets. Weight classes were mixed, as were ages adult/master/senior in order to build 4-8 man brackets. Nobody seemed to mind too much though.
The white belts ended with an open division bracket and I do believe that over three quarters of the participants entered into that as well. The blue belts finally got up to fight by about 2pm, about an hour and a half behind schedule. Again there were just a couple of mixed brackets made and that wrapped up the day. The few purple belts that signed up didn’t compete and there no brown or black belt entries.
As things drew to a conclusion, I spoke with different people in attendance. There were academies represented from Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego all with the black belt instructors there to coach them. If anybody came looking for an IBJJF tournament, they would be sadly disappointed. Everybody seemed to agree it was a fun day of jiu-jitsu. You couldn’t ask for a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere to spend the day in. I did know ahead of time what to expect and can honestly say, I loved every minute of it. When I asked Joe Moreira how he thought everything went, he seemed pleased. He told me that we needed to have these small tournaments for people to cut their teeth on.
Joe Moreira does host tournaments a few times a year of varying sizes. If you plan on a full day of jiu-jitsu with your team it can be a fun time. I would recommend to anybody to compete in future events, but forewarn any loving supporters and unknowing spectators of what the day will hold.
Andrew Kuiland is a blue belt and trains at The Global Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Costa Mesa, California.
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. Through the rest of 2009, if you submit a Tournament Review Tuesday piece, you might win an Isami gi!
The opinions expressed in Tournament Review Tuesday pieces do not necessarily represent those of The FightWorks Podcast.