On March 23d, in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro the very first ever Jiu-Jitsu Down Festival took place. The event featured a bunch of famous grapplers like UFC fighters, Judokas, and others along with the Down syndrome grapplers of all ranks and ages. It was a premier event that had the goal of raising awareness about the inclusion of Down syndrome people int society. As such, we certainly hope that it is not going to be the last, nor that Rio is the only destination for such an event!
IF there’s anything Jiu-Jitsu prides itself on, it is versatility. Nobody is unwelcome in BJJ, regardless of race, sex, religion, size, age and anything else you can think of. People with Down syndrome have been a part of the art for long. Now, however, their inclusion is rising to the next level, and the Jiu-Jitsu community is loving it! Why not use Jiu-Jitsu to raise awareness about the capabilities of people with Down syndrome and dispell common misconceptions. The Jiu-Jitsu Down Festival is a great first step to make sure we spread the word. Oss!
International Down Syndrome Day
It is not a coincidence that the Jiu-Jitsu Down Festival took place on March the 23d. The International Down Syndrome Day is the 21-st of March. The date is due to the fact that it is the triplication (March is the third month) on the 21st chromosome that is responsible for Down syndrome. The day has the noble goal of raising awareness for people with Down Syndrome. As such, it has the backing of the United Nations since 2012.
This day is intended to help people realize that those with Down syndrome are not only capable of functioning perfectly asp art of society, but they can be athletes as well! the goal is the inclusion of Down Syndrome people in every aspect of our society. It also highlights the vital role they play in our community.
Down Syndrome Athletes
People with Down syndrome are not only not able to function perfectly, but they’re also more than capable of taking part in sports. Down syndrome athletes have been reaping success in many different athletic areas, including martial arts.
Down syndrome athletes have been taking place in competitive events ranging from swimming, through track and field to Judo and JIu-Jitsu. There are even instances of MMA fighters with Down syndrome. All these brave pioneers make sure the world changes its incorrect opinion on those that have the syndrome. And the Jiu-Jitsu Down Festival is BJJ’s way of helping that cause.
Jiu-Jitsu Down Festival
The Jiu-Jitsu down festival took place at the Carioca Arena 2, in Barra da Tijuca, Rio. The SJJSAF (South American Federation of Sport Jiu-Jitsu) is the organization behind the event. The event itself was of an open character so that people can interact with the Down syndrome athletes and get to know them better.
As part of the event, Down syndrome grapplers bought with professional grapplers. These included Olympic level Judoka Flávio Canto, the legendary Rogério Minotouro and even actor Raul Gazolla. Apart from the tournament portion, there was also a seminar, where the grapplers got to learn Jiu-Jitsu techniques. Looking to bring together the Down syndrome athletes and spectators, there were also games and similar interactive activities. The event was more than successful and went by in a positive and exciting atmosphere.
As SJJSAF president said: “The sport is for everyone, without distinction, and this event has exactly the function of increasingly inserting down athletes in our community“.
We already see people with physical disabilities take the challenge of training, and even competing in Jiu-JItsu. This just proves that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu truly is for everyone. And that, by all means, includes Down syndrome grapplers. As proven by the Jiu-Jitsu down the festival, people with Down syndrome can train and compete in the art just like everyone else. here’s to the hope that such a type of events becomes more widespread in the future.