Back from yet another successful trip to the IBJJF Chicago Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Chicago Open is the toughest and most prestigious tournament the Midwest has to offer. Ran by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the same organization that runs the World Championships and Pans, The Chicago Open attracts the highest level of competition. Where as many local tournaments are unorganized and usually have sparse competition, the Chicago Open is both well run and contains numerous athletes in each division. The athletes that attend of of the highest caliber, including many international level competitors and world champions.
We started the First day off very strong, and while we had a smaller number of competitors than usual, they all rose to the occasion and took Medals in their divisions. For some of these competitors, it was their very first time competing, yet they seemed well prepared as the training leading up to this tournament was good and they all had spent a lot of time in the gym preparing. Our competitors know that there is no replacement for mat time when it comes to being prepared for a tournament. Overall we finished the First day with a strong start, bringing back 2 Gold, 3 Silver, and two bronze Medals to hang up in the gym. For those who didn’t win, but instead learned, they came back to the gym with plenty to work on and most of them didn’t even take a day off and were back training Monday morning to fix their mistakes. We love and embrace that kind of dedication here, it is what champions are made of. Saturday night was about food and rest as we prepared for the Sunday Gi divisions as well as NOGI.
Sunday started off well, with some of our white belts competing in their first tournament. Chicago is definitely a very tough place to start your BJJ competition career, but our newest competitors handle it like champions. Many great fights were fought and we were impressed with not only the physical, but mental performance of our athletes. It was amazing to see them fight with no fear and truly showcase what skills they have developed so far. Many bright futures ahead of them and for us a great sign of things to come for our team. NOGI went equally well as everyone who competed in NOGI took a medal home, which was amazing. Congrats to everyone who competed.
Next up we have competitors heading to Atlanta and then San Diego, before their trip out to California for World Championships at the end of May. There will be no break in the training as we have a local tournament (FUJI) in Waunakee in June and them another Chicago Open in August only two weeks before the Master World Championships. With a long and tough tournament schedule ahead, we will need the team in to train as much as possible to help their team mates achieve their goals.