Greg Church tries to armbar his opponent Terrance Souser in the Purple Belt Absolute final. Souser managed to escape the position and went on to win. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Brazilian JiuJitsu fighters unlock warrior code at Van Isle Open

250 competitors across adult and kids’ divisions, some international players

With fighters being wheeled through the air, or wrapping limbs around each other in a suffocating embrace; Victoria was treated to 250 Brazilian JiuJitsu (BJJ) fighters competing at the 2019 Vancouver Island Open, Saturday.

The tournament was organized by Katana BJJ, founded by Milo and Marcy Hilario, and was co-organized by Lewis Rhodes. They run three tournaments, with the other two taking place in Vancouver. The Open offered both gi and no-gi matches.

ALSO READ: Victoria MMA star fights for million-dollar prize

In the early 1990s, fuelled by two decades of kung-fu movies, martial artists wanted a tournament to decide the age-old question – which art is the best? The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was born and the first two competitions were purely style versus style match-ups. Almost everyone outside Brazil was shocked when a lanky kid from Rio, Royce Gracie, brushed aside all in his way, including far bigger opponents, using a grappling style adapted from traditional Japanese JiuJitsu. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, he beat all comers the next year as well.

BJJ is now one of the fastest growing sports in the world, partly because of its demonstrated efficacy and also as it relies on chokes and joint-locks, instead of concussion-causing strikes.

“We wanted to have a well-run, unbiased, fair venue for all the gyms on the island to come together and compete, because one of the cornerstones of BJJ is active competition and live training, as without it you get a martial art that is not effective,” says Rhodes.

ALSO READ: Vancouver Island FC a magnet for women’s soccer talent

All the big Island academies competed, with Zuma (Victoria) taking home the adults’ team trophy, closely followed by Van Isle BJJ (Victoria) and Island Top Team (Nanaimo). The overall kids’ trophy was won by Apex (Vancouver), followed by Zuma and South Island BJJ (Mill Bay).

BJJ is seen as a modern martial art and is different to many traditional arts. Becoming a black belt takes about 10 years of dedicated training and are only awarded to elite adults. Children have a different grading system and traditional non-contact katas are eschewed. Adult coloured belts are roughly the equivalent to traditional martial arts’ black belt dans.

Arguably, the most exciting match was in the mens brownbelt division, and the blackbelt prize was won by Dan Hryhorchuk, who beat Bill Fraser in a defensive match. Terrance Souser, from Portland, Oregon, won the purple belt division, widely seen as the most competitive on the day.

“It was great to come away with a couple of golds,” says Souser. “The athletes here are superb, the event itself was run really well, I was thoroughly impressed.”

ALSO READ: Forged in fire: D-Day remembered by 99-year-old navy commander

Van Isle co-owner Matt de Groot explains the appeal of the sport to JiuJitsu players.

“The lifestyle of JiuJitsu appeals to everybody who wants to improve themselves and live a healthy, better life. You have a perfect outlet for any type of aggression or stress, you have a way to exercise without being bored and you have a social network that is world-wide.”

“What we have in the Pacific North West is really positive and lends itself to a culture of respect, honour, discipline and integrity.”

For more information on upcoming events visit katanabjj.com.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

One of the most entertaining fights in the brown belt division, that had the crowd cheering loudly. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

A competitor in the brown belt division taps out as he experiences a tight lapel choke from his opponent. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Two competitors in the whitebelt division. The man in the foreground is moments from tapping to his opponent’s bow and arrow choke. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

A competitor sweeps her opponent, who reacts acrobatically, in the white belt division. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

In the overall adult team prize, an accumulation of points from a cross an academy’s fighters, the top prize went to Zuma Martial Arts (Sarah Kaufman, Adam Zugec), second to Van Isle BJJ (Pat Warren) and third to Island Top Team (Rob Biernacki). First and second went to gyms in Victoria. Island Top Team are based in Nainamo. (Courtesy of Katana BJJ)

Adults purple belt division winner Terrance Souser, flanked by medallists Greg Church and Ryan Greenhow. (Courtesy of Katana BJJ)

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Crews respond to near drowning at Thetis Lake

Man taken to hospital after calls come in of drowning in progress

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

Wooldog among mysteries uncovered with powerful UVic microscope

Finding ‘Mutton,’ a dog lost in a Smithsonian drawer for 150 years

Optometrist pedals through depression, leads others for the cause

Ride Don’t Hide bike rides start, end at Windsor Park

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read