The IBJJF American Nationals 2014 took place this weekend and it went off without a hitch. A ton of medals where handed out but was the tournament worth the fee?
The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is known for for putting on some of the biggest and best events in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) world, and part of that is due to the amount of money they pull in from each event. They can hire more refs, more people to run weigh-ins, and just people to help the event run smoothly. It is true that you pay for what you get, and with the right amount of money you get a decent event. The only problems that American Nationals 2014 eventually fell behind on running on time. The matches that were supposed to start at a certain time eventually were starting anywhere from 30 minutes to a hour later than the original start time. Also, some of the refs and decisions made during the matches were less than superb.
Obviously, there is a point system for a reason, but when it comes down to a refs decision it is always hard to know how fair that is. The worst of it came when one fighter was up one advantage point the whole match, and then when the match ended the ref decided to give one advantage point to the fighter who was behind the whole time. This made the match even and the ref gave it to the fighter who had been behind the whole time. Is this fair? Well, that is not up for me to decide, but the problem is that when a fighter thinks he is up with only a few seconds left he fights differently than if he is behind. It is a weird decision to make and not the only one that happened at the event, but unhappy competitors are always going to happen when one is meant to lose and one is meant to win.
In terms of people I know that competed, most of them did pretty well while others fell out in the first round. That is what the real draw to the IBJJF tournaments is all about and happened at the American Nationals 2014. It is not about how much money you spend, if a bad decision happens, or even how many people are running it. What really matters is the level of competition you are competing at. Yes, some people do go just to win a medal no matter the level of competition, but the truth of the matter is that you want to be the best you have to beat the best. That is what IBJJF offers you, the chance to be the best in your age, weight, and belt division. Check back soon for another tournament review in the coming weeks.