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2011 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championships (Mundials) – The BJJ Cynic

The 2011 IBJJF Worlds (Mundials) are one week away!  This is the largest, and the most prestigious Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament of the year.  As many of you are aware, the lack of age groups creates huge brackets where some blue belt divisions have more competitors than a Rio favela has drug dealers.  There is an unconfirmed rumor floating around that, to save time, competitors of Brazilian origin will receive direct byes into the finals, begin with a four-point advantage, and be allowed to punch with a closed fist.  The IBJJF has neither confirmed nor denied these rumors, so we at suggest all competitors change their last name to “Gracie” post haste!

Assuming you are part of the leisure class, the Mundials are pocket change at $126 USD.  For the rest of you proletariats, this might sound like a lot of money, but let’s put it into perspective.  You can either register for Worlds or buy a bottle of 1997 Mascarello Barolo.  And who doesn’t purchase “Barolos” by the case and have them shipped via courier in climate and humidity controlled rail containers?  What are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes if not sophisticated wine connoisseurs with collections they are willing to liquidate?  At what point did I begin asking so many rhetorical questions?

I’m not one to complain about the cost (or to suggest that perhaps the IBJJF might want to at least consider parlaying some of their massive profits into a better web site and referees) but $10 for the privilege of watching white and blue belts on Day 1?  The IBJJF should be paying me upon entering, handing me a complimentary Acai smoothie, and giving me VIP access to the “Hot Chicks Room.”  Are they aware of the tedium that is watching (no offense to any of my teammates, because I’m not talking about you – seriously bros, you guys are special, and I’d watch you compete, I’m just busy that day) a bunch of half baked Brazilian Jiu Jitsu padwans?  Yes, it is charming, at first, to watch neophyte after neophyte burn their grips in the first minute and dance around clutching each other’s lapels like a 2am frat house bar fight, yet is this really worth a couple of sawbucks?  Pro tip – Purchase a black belt online, rush the gate, waive it the face of the ticket taker, and find a place near the top of the bleachers to take a nap.

When did I become so cynical?  Ahh yes, I became so cynical when I turned 34 and my entire body began to break down all at once, save for my bionic vision, which has given me uncanny insight into my longevity in this sport.  My knee is hosed!  My groin has been pulled beyond repair!  My fingers are mangled!  The only way I stand a chance against some of the up and coming pre-adults in our kids class is when I feign injury and ruthlessly latch onto heel hooks.  I am the ghost of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu future, and I am not one of God’s beautiful creatures!

I’m mostly kidding.  I needed to shake off the cobwebs and get some of that cynicism out of my system in advance of the 2011 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Mundials.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited as hell that this major tournament is in my backyard.  Next week, I will be taking a (somewhat) serious look (not really, but at least not as cynical, I promise) at what it means to compete in a major tournament in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the best damned sport on the planet ™. 

Monstro!!!!!!!!!!  It’s time for your picks!  The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community waits with baited breath for your insight and cogent analysis.