The 10 main attractions of the 2012 European Open

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View of gymnasium during 2011 European Championship / Photo by Ivan Trindade

View of gymnasium during 2011 European Championship / Photo by Ivan Trindade

Sign-ups for the 2012 European Open, only just opened today, so now’s the time for you to show what you’re made of and get in there. To help out anyone who hasn’t made up their mind yet, put together a list of 10 good reasons for you to be a part of the first Grand Slam event of the season, coming up late this January.


This will be the first IBJJF championship since the rule book was revamped, and it’s expected to be an even better tournament for the athletes, the teachers and the crowd. But only those who are there will notice it. “I love the new rules. I expect the best. We believe it will be the biggest European Championship in history; let’s wait and see,” says referee Muzio de Angelis.


A lot of top-tier athletes are signed up in the men’s adult division, like Carlos Esquisito, Andrea Verdemare, Francielio da Costa, Bruno Frazatto, Denilson Pimenta, Eduardo Ramos, Wellington Megaton, Jonathan Torres, Roberto Tussa, Igor Araújo, Nivaldo Lima and so many others. But the super heavyweight division brings a show all its own.

On one side, superstar Bernardo Faria (Alliance), world runner-up in the absolute division. On the other, Lucio Lagarto (Gracie Barra), who didn’t make it to the Worlds because he couldn’t get his US visa. To make things more complicated, Bê will be heading over with his training partner Léo Nogueira, a world champion, to tip the scales. Who wins it?


There just isn’t a more exciting division to watch than the middleweight one. So far there are but 15 names on the list, all of them to be taken very seriously. Jot them down: Victor Estima, Clark Gracie, Otavio Sousa, Gabriel Goulart, Luis Gustavo, Gabriel Rollo, Jake Mackenzie, James Harbison… The competition will be stiff, and the gold medalist will return home from Lisbon all the more respected. Who do you think takes it, dear reader? Post your pick below.


The presence of “local” black belt Ida Hansson, a Swedish competitor who gets more technical with every day, is worth watching all by herself, as are Fernanda Mazzelli and Monica Vanessa. And then there’s world champion Michelle Nicolini, to spice up the tournament even more. At brown belt, the always consistent Mackenzie Dern rounds out the list.


The Portuguese capital is major fun. Get inspired by Lisbon’s historic sites, get to know the excellent restaurants, have fun with the locals, and return home with even more culture from this piece of Brazil in Europe.


With “Sensei Sportv”, the martial arts show on Brazil’s biggest sports channel, covering it, the Euro will be your chance to rocket to stardom in the Jiu-Jitsu world. All you have to do is put on a show.


The formerly promising brown belt will be making his gi-clad debut at black. Will the Danish steamroller be able to impose the same pace? “We’ll see,” said the super heavyweight to reporter Junior Samurai.

“I don’t want to make predictions on what I’ll be like at black belt. I did win the Europeans, Pan, Brazilian Nationals and Worlds without losing a single match at brown, though; so it’s time to move ahead. I have faith in my coaches, and if they feel I’m ready, that’s that. I’m excited about competing; I trained every day, in Denmark and in Sweden, and everyone will see a much different fighter than from the last time I competed; that’s all I can say.”


Once again, the veterans division will be brimming with aces, like Eduardo Santoro, Rodrigo Munduruca, Antonio Canudo, Felipe Costa, Janne-Pekka Pietilainen and so many others. Anyone privileged enough to behold their performances won’t just be dazzled, they’ll learn more than they ever dreamed of learning.


It’s a chance to check out the work the teachers in Europe have been doing, from Braulio Estima’s GP to CheckMat overseen by Leo Vieira. Roger Gracie’s students in England and Royce’s in Italy also want to show their stuff. Last year, the winning schools were: Alliance (adult), CheckMat (female), CheckMat (masters and seniors), Icon JJ (beginners) and Ilan Turjeman Academy (juvenile). Who’s going to shine at this year’s championship?


With a bevvy of fighters flying in from places like Bahrein and Japan, Hungary and Holland, the plains of Texas and Paraiba, the multicultural melting pot that is Jiu-Jitsu is just waiting on you to bring the temperature up even more. Join the mix, and tell us how it went afterwards.

If you can think of any better reasons to go to the European Open, share them with us in the comments field below.

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