When 2020 took off, we all had BJJ competition plans. IN January, everything was in order, with the Europeans taking place as usual. February also features a few notable tournaments being held, but then, from March on, almost all competitive BJJ events, especially those open for registration went belly up. All organizations from the IBJJF to the ADCC withheld from organizing scheduled events, and many of them completely cleaned their calendars. However, even with less than two months left of 2020, there’s still hope for competing!
The outbreak of the virus certainly caught everyone off guard, especially those involved in combat sports and combat sports competitions. BJJ events also took a big hit, with not just competitions, but the entire sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu getting sidelined for the better part of a few months. In certain parts of the world, lockdown is still ongoing or has restarted after the recent surge in Covid cases. Still, when it comes to competing in BJJ before the turn of the year, you might just be in luck.
The Match Of The Century: Covid-19 vs. BJJ
Truly, if anyone asks me about the grappling match of the century, I’d have to say it was, and actually still is, the no time limit altercation between Covid-19 and the BJJ world. Most gyms had to close, which was dearly felt all around the globe. As an academy owner myself, I know that for a while there, it felt pretty dark.
Before most academies started closing down, BJJ events of a competitive nature were the first to go. The AJP European got canceled, then the IBJJF cleared out their calendar completely, and ADCC trials got postponed. But at the moment, the was not the sole focus of grapplers. A more pressing issue was, and in certain parts of the world still is, that people can’t even train Jiu-Jitsu.
The fact remains that as a very close contact sport, BJJ is high on the list of activities that could help the spread of the Covid-19 virus and cause clusters. To that extent, there are protocols that have allowed for BJJ gyms to reopen, although they require a lot o adjustment to the way of training we knew, as well as a lot of work. Still, there’s hope for BJJ in this crucial match, even if Covid-19 is currently leading on points. And bringing back some key BJJ events is just the upset we need.
BJJ Events In 2020
How will BJJ events look in 2020, or, if we are being realistic, in 2021 as well? First of all, there will be no audience. There are different protocols that different organizations proposed, but as per the IBJJF, every competitor can bring a coach and one more person to assist them. This, along with social distancing and the mandatory masks and frequent disinfection should lower the risk of the virus spreading among a number of people. Competitors will be asked to wear masks until the moment they step on the mats to compete.
It seems that the protocols (which extend way pas what I just wrote about) have been thoroughly thought out. In fact, we already saw several UAEJJF tournaments, and the IBJJF Pans took place in October, proving that the concept can work. However, the fact remains that travel restrictions do make for an unbeatable obstacle when it comes to the number of international athletes one would expect to show up a ta certain BJJ event.
On that note, what are the events we can look forward to as 2020 draws to a close, and what has been postponed or even canceled?
IBJJF BJJ events restarted with the Pan IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu championship in October, after the promotion clearing out their 202 calendar entirely. While there were fewer people compared to before, the tournament did go in perfect order, obviously encouraging the IBJJF to keep up with at least some of the tournaments planned for 2020.
- The Houston International Open is still scheduled for 14 November, which is just around the corner.
- The No-Gi IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu CHampionship will try to follow in the success of the October Gi event, taking place between November 21-22 in College Park, GA.
- At the same Georgia venue, the Atlanta International Open IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu CHampionship is all set for November 21-22, at the same time as the No-Gi Pans.
- The American National IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2020 in both Gi and NO-Gi editions will take place from December 4-6, in Dallas.
- Finally, The World Masters IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship is scheduled for December 14-20, as the final of all BJJ events that the IBJJF has on their 2020 calendar.
The UAEJJF restarted first, putting together events as early as September. They went on to host an event in Brazil in October as well.
November will see The AJP TOUR China National Gi and No-Gi take place in SHangai, on November 21st.
In December, the Rio De Janeiro International Pro Gi is set for December 4 with the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam JIu-Jitsu World Tour-Rio set for December 5-6.
In Europe, the AJP Tour Ukraine National Pro Gi is set for December 12, and the AJP Tour Russia National Pro No-Gi for December 20, in their respective countries.
The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, originally scheduled for November has been moved to February 2021.
unfortunately, the ADCC scheduled for September 2021 has been postponed, initially until 2022. This will see what is considered to be the pinnacle of BJJ events change toa even-numbered years, given that it only takes place every two years.
The event director Mo Jassim issued the following statement:
“Due to the delays of the ADCC Trials because of COVID-19, we have decided to postpone the ADCC World Championships to 2022. The health and safety of the competitors, audience, and staff is ADCC’s number one priority”
The European ADCC trials have been rescheduled for December 19 in Poland, but it is far from certain that they’ll take place. The Asia and Oceania trails and North American trials have also been postponed. There’ is no new date for the former, while the latter is expected to take place sometime in January 2021.
All In All
202 hasn’t been a good year for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ events have really taken a hit, although some of the professional events have managed to carry on, at least providing us with something to watch in lockdown. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and those that enjoy competing under IBJJF and UAEJJF rules do have some options left around the world. At least for the time being.