All-time biggest Pan celebrates Jiu-Jitsu

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Fotos: Ivan Trindade

A mother films her son. All alone. When he wins, she raises her arm, first clenched, but doesn’t lose the frame.
A teacher shouts. A girlfriend is filming, but doesn’t quite understand what is going on. Her beloved fights and she keeps her eyes on the mat and camera in her hand. In the end, she asks the teacher about the outcome and is a little saddened to find out her loved-one lost.

Still in the warm-up area, after being called to fight, the two white belts greet each other.

– What’s your name?

– Rigo.

– It’s a pleasure; I’m Stanford. Have a good match.

– Thanks, you too.

On the mat, Stanford, who has the look of a teacher, shows he’s sharp and wins with a spot-on armbar before the first minute of the match was up.

The father shows up at the central table of the tournament irate. He curses, complains and demands an explanation. He and his son arrived at around 5pm to compete, but the division happened at 12:45 and not 6 pm. The father hunts for someone to blame for his offspring’s disappointment, other than his own lack of attention.

A mother and brother came to watch the other brother compete. Between one bout and another, they conversed sitting in the stands, while the mother zealously mends a ballet slipper, perhaps belonging to a daughter who had stayed home.

A Brazilian teacher hollers to orient his white belt student. The pupil is still crawling in the Gentle Art; the master needs to improve his fluency in the language of Shakespeare. He utters some things like:

– Agora you have to pass the guarda!

Two security officers in the gymnasium converse:

– I’ve never seen a martial art like this one.

– It’s not judo?

– No, judo is done standing.

The 15th Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Championship kicked off this Thursday, April 8, in Bren’s Events Center, at the University of California Irvine, in Orange County.

The first day was dedicated entirely to white and blue belts. In all, there are more than 2,800 athletes and of that number around 300 black belts. To give you an idea of how significant those numbers are, the IBJJF debuted in a new location already planning to have more room to accommodate so many people.

– The trend is for the number to grow by 300 each year. – revealed Judson Borges, supervisor of the Federation.
Marcelo Siriema, director for the competition, adds:

– If you look at the schedule, you’ll see that on Sunday the Pan will be dedicated entirely to black belts. There are eight match areas. I don’t think we’ve ever had that before.

By Sunday, as the King would say, there will have been great emotions, from anonymous stars, young and old, men and women.

GRACIEMAG.com will bring you all the goings-on of the most popular championship on the annual Jiu-Jitsu calendar. Stay tuned.

Check out the gallery from the first day of Pan 2010.

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