One of the biggest tournaments of the season is the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation’s World Championships held at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California. It’s the tournament that solidifies who is the best competitor in each respective division. My first experience at Worlds was when I was a blue belt, and I will be fortunate enough to be going a 3rd time this year. I encourage my students and teammates to start saving early (like a year in advance), because Worlds is a lifetime experience that I think everyone should experience, at least once. Here are my reasons why:
Test Yourself-In my opinion, if you are already going to Worlds to watch, you might as well compete. It is a great way to test yourself against BJJ practitioners from all over the world. Win or lose, there is always a learning experience. Why not?
Meet Your BJJ Buddies-My first trip to Worlds, I went without a team, without a coach, I flew by myself and roomed with a complete stranger who turned out to be a great BJJ sister by the time I left. I hung out with friends from other teams and met people who I had been friends with on Facebook for the longest. (If we didn’t do BJJ, wouldn’t that be kind of creepy?) And even though I didn’t have teammates or my own coach, I had great friends that supported me and coached me.
Meet Your BJJ Idols-I also totally fan-girled my first year. I got to meet some of my favorite BJJ Idols like Marcelo Garcia, Buchecha, Rodolfo, and have even caught a picture with Jacare Souza & Anderson Silva! Where else can you go to an event and meet the GOATs of the sport? You can also speak to them, carry on conversations, and receive advice. I will never forget meeting one of my favorite female competitors and almost letting a tear drop because what she said was so encouraging. (I sucked it up though!)
Training-During Worlds week, there are plenty of academies who have open door policies or have a reduced fee for their open mats. It’s best to call ahead of time just to be sure of their schedule and fees. This gives you an opportunity to roll with new people, maybe train with friends you don’t normally get to train with, and most are very respectful knowing you will be competing in the next couple of days.
Blackbelt Sunday-This is an electrifying experience. Jiu Jitsu from 9AM to 9PM. Teams sitting with each other, chanting and resonating throughout the Pyramid. It’s something that you can’t really explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. All the days are incredible with nonstop BJJ, but on Sunday all the lower belt competitors stop visiting the venues as much, they grab their Brazilian BBQ and sit to watch some of the greatest matches that will go down in history.
And if you’re like me, from a small town who hasn’t gotten the opportunity to travel until recently, California is a great state to experience! 🙂