European Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2012: day one

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Panoramic view of Lisbon's Casal Vistoso gymnasium, venue of the IBJJF European Championship / Photo: Raphael Nogueira

Panoramic view of Lisbon's Casal Vistoso gymnasium, venue of the IBJJF European Championship / Photo: Raphael Nogueira

The  2012 European Jiu-Jitsu Championship kicked off this Thursday morning in Lisbon, Portugal. The street thermometers were showing a temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius, meaning an unbearable frosty feeling for the bundled up Brazilians who flew in to compete from the South American summer. The wind chill was met quite differently by the competitors coming in from Eastern Europe—durable young folk with white skin and blond hair, who make a mockery of the Portuguese winter by sporting shorts, flip-flops and tank tops.

That, by the way, is precisely one of the most charming parts of the IBJJF European Championship—the striking diversity of its participants. One African athlete didn’t speak a word of English, nor Portuguese, nor Spanish. The referee did his best to get the information he needed to convey across by gesticulating. His miming did the trick. And thus Jiu-Jitsu expands its horizons. This year, the organizers of the event report around 2,200 competitors to have signed up; hence the amplification of the floor space to an unprecedented ten match areas. The panoramic photo of the inside view of the Casal Vistoso municipal sports complex, where the Europeans are traditionally held, is eye candy. The stands are packed, warm-up areas brimming with athletes fired up on the adrenaline of sport Jiu-Jitsu.

Today was beginners day—white to blue belts—, most of the contestants displaying an enviable gas tank. At the edge of the contest area we catch site of the director of refereeing, Álvaro Mansur, wearing a serious expression and as attentive as always.


“This is the first event where we are applying the new rules of sport Jiu-Jitsu. Notice how many more penalties are being awarded than usual. I hope that by the weekend the black belts show themselves to be fully aware of the new rules,” said Álvaro. (To that end: in February, in GRACIEMAG#180, you’ll find a precious article on the new rules of sport Jiu-Jitsu. Don’t miss it!)

And speaking of black belts, the current absolute champion of the world, Rodolfo Vieira, is already in Lisbon, putting down an astounding breakfast consisting of dozens of boiled eggs.


“He’s a machine, a bulldozer; he’s going to kick butt this championship,” said Victor Costa, Rodolfo’s sponsor. Victor has been keeping close tabs on his poster boy’s training.

What do you think, intuitive reader? Who would you put your money on to stop the absolute champion of the world at the Europeans 2012? Share your pick and the reason for your choice with us in the comments section below. And check back with us again soon for breaking news out of Lisbon!

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There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Tyson Kamp at 12:02 pm

    Ya, the smart money is betting on Vieira for sure. But he’s only a man, only human, he can be beaten but by who is anyone’s guess. Vieira nao para!

  2. Ransonshepherd at 2:16 pm

    I would like to see if Brauilo is competing or even sergio moraes, because we know bernardo faria will be there to try and slow down rodolfo but it will be hard to stop that guy! No betting against him is a great bet lol. They have to get a match set with Roger Gracie. Im sure all bjj fans would pay to watch that and see who is gonna come out the winner:)

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