Written by Kristina Barlaan, AZSBJJF head writer.
GD JIU-JITSU Events in association with the Arizona State Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (AZSBJJF) is proud to announce its 5thinstallment of the Arizona Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open. Typically drawing mainly competitors from Arizona and its neighboring states, the AZSBJJF sent an open invitation to teams from other countries to compete and represent their homeland, transforming the AZ Open into an international event for the first time.
The tournament will feature an international black belt match between a seven-time World Champion from Brazil, GMA Robson Moura (Nova Uniao), and 2009’s national champion of Japan, Nobuhiko Kitahara (Axis JJ), who will be travelling from Tokyo to represent the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Japan.
“The AZSBJJF’s partnership with the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Japan (JJFJ) started in 2009, when I met its President, Taka Watanabe, at the 2nd Rickson Gracie International. I was very impressed with their organization and their dedication to making Jiu-Jitsu a popular and organized sport in Japan”, says Gustavo Dantas, Vice-President of the AZSBJJF and promoter of all its events, who is expecting between 400 and 500 competitors on March 13th and 14th.
The AZSBJJF was founded in September 2001 by the legendary Wellington “Megaton” Dias, a GMA and pioneer of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Arizona, the same year that GD Jiu-Jitsu Events began promoting tournaments in the valley.
“My first event had 45 competitors in an in-house tournament”, says Dantas. Megaton, recognizing Dantas’s efforts, invited him to become Vice-President of the Federation and helped boost the popularity of BJJ in Arizona. “The results have been very positive. At the 2009 AZ State Championship, we had 430 competitors. The tournament follows IBJJF Standards: Online registration, fences, mat coordinators, same-day weigh-in, GRACIEMAG magazines for competitors; the very same standard. So when competitors from Arizona go to the bigger tournaments, like the Pan or the Worlds, they know exactly what to expect.”
The hard work is definitely paying off. Arizona has managed to produce many National and International Champions, with some of them representing Arizona by traveling to competitions around the world. The AZSBJJF has the support of 25 of the main schools in the state, listed on the federation website, plus teams from other states, which have been competing in the desert for the past few years.
In appreciation for the support from the schools and teams responsible for aiding in the growth of BJJ in Arizona, the AZSBJJF started The Overall School Rankings in 2009. The points are based on the number of Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals each team wins at AZSBJJF tournaments during the year. The top three schools are awarded special recognition at the first tournament of the new year.
Also, the AZSBJJF will honor the MVP (Most Valuable Player) competitors of the Kids and Adult Divisions for their consistent and outstanding performances in competition. The AZSBJJF Awards Ceremony for the 2009 MVP Competitors of the Year and winners of the 2009 Overall School Rankings will be held during the 5th AZ International Open of BJJ. Winners will receive trophies for their achievements and MVPs will receive a plaque and sponsorship for ALL AZSBJJF tournaments for the year of 2010.
Here are the winners:
1st place – Team Megaton (217 points)
2nd place – Lion’s Den (194 points)
3rd place – MMA Lab (193 points)
MVP of the Year – Joseph Davis (Team Megaton); Undefeated in 2009, won all 4 tournaments
1st place – Team GD Jiu-Jitsu (444 points)
2nd place – BJJ Revolution (241 points)
3rd place – Team Megaton (197 points)
MVP of the Year – Derling Gonzalez (Team GD Jiu-Jitsu); Undefeated in 2009, won total of 4 gold medals from all 3 tournaments
The 5th AZ International Open of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will take place on March 13-14, 2010 at Westwood High School located at 945 W. 8th St. in Mesa, AZ 85201.
GRACIEMAG will be covering the event. Competitors have a chance to win prizes such as a 32” LCD HDTV, Sony PSP, and Flip Video Recorder.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition will offer Kids, Juvenile, Adult (Male and Female), Masters and Senior Divisions.