The 3 pillars to organize a Jiu-Jitsu tournament, by Claudio França

Share it

Claudio França is a Jiu-Jitsu coral-belt. Photo: Arm Photography

Text: Claudio França

I arrived in California in 1995 with the intention of spreading the culture of Jiu-Jitsu in the United States. I already had experience with hosting championships because I organized the “Atlântico Sul” Cup, in Rio, from the late 80s until I moved to America. In 1996, with the US Open, that I started promoting Jiu-Jitsu championships in Santa Cruz, California. 

My goal was to host Jiu-Jitsu events in every state in the US and I almost went bankrupt with this idea. In the first year, we held competitions in three states: California, Nevada, and New York. I prepared myself to lose money in the first edition. In the second, my goal was not to lose any money, and to make some money out of  the third. Unfortunately, it did not happen. At that time, the championships had cash prizes, but the return was not what we expected.

Since I started organizing events, I have three pillars in mind to thrive in this business: to keep high-level black belts in Jiu-Jitsu, to attract sponsors outside the sport’s bubble, and to bring in the specialized press to cover the events. These three factors are correlated, they need the other to work. The athletes would be noticed by the press, who would promote them, and eventually the media would attract sponsors who had no involvement with Jiu-Jitsu up to that point. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out at the time. I invested a lot in the championships, but I had no profit. It was a few years of losses. I had to take a step back and focus on organizing events only in California. Nowadays, we have the All Stars, American Cup, US Open, and the BJJ Tour events throughout the state. I still have the dream of promoting championships across the United States using those three pillars, but I need investors.  It is complicated for me to endorse this project alone. I have been in the event business for over 30 years, I love the sport, and I am dedicated to making a positive impact on people’s lives through the championships.

The next stage of the BJJ Tour will be held on May 6, in Silicon Valley. Photo: Reproduction/Instagram

The BJJ Tour was based on this dream I have. I had to adapt it for financial reasons, but the league grows every year in California, and the championships have achieved a significant membership in the state, especially among students who are not professional fighters. We offer the modalities Gi and Nogi in the tournaments and the competitors are from the kids, juvenile, adult, and master categories.

The goal of the competitions has always been to spread Jiu-Jitsu and promote the academies. It is a huge achievement to see children compete for the first time. It is something they will remember for the rest of their lives. My mission is to do everything so that people have a positive impression of the event. Our image is founded on honesty, integrity and respect. These values have built our credibility over the years. 

Jiu-Jitsu is a tool that transforms lives. So I need to provide a rewarding experience for both my students and the competitors. The sport has many benefits, such as increased self-esteem and building confidence. It is pleasurable to see a 40-year-old guy with no experience in sports fall in love with Jiu-Jitsu and call his friends to practice. 

I think that everyone who pratices should compete at least once in their lifetime. It is a unique moment that only those who have been there know. The championships teach us to deal with our fears, insecurities, and we feel challenged at every moment. This challenge makes us more determined to achieve our goals in personal life.

The next stage of the BJJ Tour will be held in Silicon Valley on May 6th. Click here to register for the tournament!

* GMI Claudio França is a Jiu-Jitsu coral-belt and has been spreading the culture of the sport in California since the 1990s. He teaches at Claudio França BJJ and Coalition 95 schools.


Ler matéria completa Read more