The charm of competing in the heart of Orange County

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The University of California Irvine Campus opened its doors in 1965 with 1,539 students, a staff of 241, a faculty of 119 and 43 teachers’ assistants.

From the 8th to the 11th of April, a similar number of people will fill the university gymnasium, competing, cheering, and feeling the excitement. Even those who aren’t Anteaters.

That’s the mascot for the sports teams of the university, a typical American institution of learning, with fraternities like Alpha Gamma Alpha, Delta, Lambda Theta Delta and 44 others, and lodgings dubbed with the names of characters and places from “The Lord of the Rings”, J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous book.

But on the second weekend of April the fraternities to take front and center will be Gracie Barra, Alliance, Gracie Humaitá, CheckMat, Carlson Team, Lloyd Irvin and countless others.

Around three thousand athletes, a new record, are expected to be there, and droves of spectators will fill the ample and inviting gymnasium, which already found its place in history before the Pan 2010.

Statue of UC Irvine mascot. Photo: Ally Union / Publicity.

The university’s men’s volleyball team, which trains in the gymnasium conceded to Jiu-Jitsu, is the current college champion of the USA. And you had no idea anteaters could be so popular.

Grab your gi, the whole kids, and stick some ants in your pocket, and get ready for a momentous event in the sport’s history.

After all, as one master from another university once said:

“One needs to understand that not every Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is a competitor, as not every champion is a good teacher. The only thing I recommend, though, is that every practitioner enters a championship at least once in his life. You might not like it, you might realize that’s not for you, but you’ll have tasted the adrenaline, lived the intensity of that moment and have for yourself the feeling that you were there.”

The lesson above comes from Royler Gracie, and was published in a recent issue of GRACIEMAG. Anyone who competes at the Pan, as you can see, won’t just gain a magazine and t-shirt. They’ll gain much more.

Don’t forget to send in your stories and accounts, along with a cool photo, to make yourself one of the characters from the event on GRACIEMAG.com!

Today it’s the last day to register, so sign up by clicking here.

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