Since it’s foundation, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been building its popularity based on elements of discipline and respect. Important characteristics that have certainly made the sport grow through the years. One key component that has led to BJJ being one step ahead of other martial arts is the passion that athletes have for it. Every day, friends, coaches, and competitors are living and breathing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Now, more than ever, thousands of people reunite daily to celebrate that passion. Last February 28th different proofs of love for Jiu-Jitsu where seen in San Diego during the San Diego International Jiu-Jitsu Open.
Throughout the day, behind all the craziness of the competition itself, beautiful stories were being experienced between families, friends, and teams. Important moments shared that make each competition a memory to remember and share. Stories like the one lived by Eric Hernandez, a blue belt who traveled from Cleveland to San Diego only to do what he loves most, compete in a BJJ competition. His efforts weren’t in vain as he ended the competition with two gold medals and a silver.
“I’ve been traveling from Cleveland to all over the place to do what I love! That’s Jiu-Jitsu!” said Hernandez, preparing his trip to Arizona to compete next month in the Grand Canyon BJJ Open.
For most of the BJJ community members, the love for our sport is something hard to explain. But one thing is definite, “when it happens, you just can’t live without it”, they say. Well, clearly that’s the situation of Thais Viana, mother of 4 beautiful children, the 31 years old decided to answer her husband’s request and six months ago started to train. She ended up with a gold medal in the white belts division at the San Diego Open.
“I decided that I would compete right away, so I participated in the SJJIF Worlds Jiu-Jitsu Championship last year and NABJJF All Americas in January, and I got a silver at both. Today I finally got gold! It was very exciting. Jiu-Jitsu is helping to keep me in shape, not only my body but my brain too. I’m excited to see my journey to the black belt because I’m getting there!”, celebrated Viana with a big smile on her face.
The black belt matches were also something to be celebrated with great performances by many athletes. One exciting match took place between Alexandre Novaes of UFC Gym BJJ and Jaime Fletcher of Combat Submission. The match quickly started with Fletcher pulling guard, however, Novaes quickly passed, transitioning to the back where he submitted his opponent with a back choke. The crowd enthusiastically cheered the fight as they celebrated Novaes’ victory.
With more than 700 competitors, the San Diego International Open was full of stories like that. Overcoming moments, happiness, and disappointment. Yet, it doesn’t fully matter because everyone that was inside the Cathedral Catholic High School shares the same passion. The one that we can’t live without it! This will let each experience be a win, because we win or we learn.
Check out the full individual results of San Diego International BJJ Open.