GMA member Toronto BJJ Sums Up Successful Year of Triumph

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Toronto BJJ family with Xande Ribeiro / Photo provided by Jorge Britto

Every year Jiu-jitsu keeps growing, and Toronto, Canada is no exception.  In 2012, Jorge Britto led GMA member Toronto BJJ on its continued path of extraordinary success as many students moved forward in their progression towards the black belt.  Every year at this time Toronto BJJ holds its year-end event known simply as “The Annual.”

The annual is time for Toronto BJJers, friends and family to celebrate another year. It features an in-house tournament, the year-end group picture, belt promotions, awards, cool new gear, the unveiling of new programs, and most importantly a food drive for the Daily Bread Food Bank. This year’s goal is to raise at least 1000KG of donated food.

With over 70 Toronto BJJers poised to receive their next belt, it is a time to reflect on the year that was.

Toronto BJJ Team at the 2012 IBJJF Toronto International Open / Photo provided by Jorge Britto

In 2012, Toronto BJJ students lost weight, got in better shape, reached personal and martial arts goals, all in thanks to the great art of Jiu-Jitsu. One of the ways Toronto BJJers enjoy the healthy lifestyle is through competition and this year was a success. They took to the mats throughout North America, Slovenia, Abu-Dhabi, and England racking up an incredible 264 medals. Toronto BJJ had decisive team victories in the Ontario Open, GTA Classic, and the IBJJF Toronto Open.  However, the team success was not limited to only local tournaments. A squad of only 6 Toronto BJJers placed third as a team at the IBJJF Pan-No GI Championship, and a small crew also took home third at the IBJJF Montreal Open. They also rocked the IBJJF Worlds (7 medals), IBJJF World Masters and Seniors (6 medals), and IBJJF World No-Gi (5 medals).World Juvenile champions Roya Lohoni and Nathaniel Sagman helped pace Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu to the World Juvenile team title as well.

In addition to all of the competitive success, there were incredible stories this year of both triumph and tragedy. Aaron Broverman, who trains with cerebral palsy, is getting ready for his first tournament at “The Annual.”  To watch Aaron train is to witness the triumph of the human spirit in Jiu-Jitsu.  This year saw Toronto BJJ say goodbye to its greatest competitor ever, Seana Rossi.  She may not have won a match in a tournament, but her warrior spirit in the face of ovarian cancer humbled us all. Seana passed away this May, but not before fighting so hard that the doctors ran out of treatment protocols for her because no one had ever survived as long. She inspired both people who knew her and those who had never met her to take up her cause. In a show of unity and compassion, the Jiu-Jitsu community can truly be proud. When Seana was denied access to expensive treatments, fundraisers for her treatment were held at many academies throughout North America, and donations were received from South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia as well. Her legacy will live on through all the lives she has touched and inspired. This year also marked the 4th straight year Toronto BJJ has run special classes free of charge for at-risk youth.

Congratulations to Toronto BJJ for another successful year!

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