ProfessionalJiu Jitsu comes to Africa
The African Continent is the most isolated when it comes to Brazilian JiuJitsu. One can find renowned Brazilian coaches of BJJ in North America, MiddleEast, Asia, Australasia and Europe, as well as many competitions of all sizes,but in Africa the locals must do with what they have. Not many black belttravel often there, and the distance for them to travel is huge, so very seldomAfrican fighters have the chance to train in Brazil or North America. I metsome South Africans living in England and training BJJ there, but most of themdon’t return home, which would contribute more substantially to the growth ofthe sport in their area.
When it comes to competition, the problems are even bigger. The distancesbetween the major cities can only be covered by plane, offering anotherchallenge to the fighters that must struggle with money in order to compete. Soeven competitions have mostly hometown crews entering them, not many people canafford flying from Luanda or Johannesburg to Cape Town and vice-versa todispute medals.
Having read that, one would think that BJJ is pretty small in Africa, and thelevel is not really high. Nonsense! The local fighters have a very goodgrappling, the clubs are booming in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Luanda, as wellas in other parts. All comes down to dedication, and after 4 trips to SouthAfrica, I can say those guys are serious about grappling and committed toovercome the barriers.
So the importance of the Abu Dhabi African Trials to Africa is huge and cannotbe underestimated. For the first time, a BJJ competition will be offering thechance to local fighters to qualify and have all expenses paid to compete inthe most prestigious BJJ tournament in the World. Distributing over US$ 148,000.00to the competitors in the next main event, the Abu Dhabi BJJ Pro World Cupoffers a real chance to 5 Africans to go compete against the BJJ elite nextApril in the UAE. This event will be a turning point to BJJ in Africa, allowingall practitioners to fight for the chance to represent their flag in thebiggest professional BJJ competition.
This opportunity is only possible due to the generosity of the NationalGovernment of the United Arab Emirates, which will pay the flights,accommodation and grant Visas to the five African qualifiers, as well as othersqualified through the same process around the World. This initiative is aneffort of Carlos Santos, FIJJA PRESIDENT, sponsored by H.H. SheikhMohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyam, Patron of the World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cupand his son H.H. SHEIKH Zayed Bin Mohammad Bin Zayed AL Nahyan
We’d like to thank them for making it possible, as well as to our local crew inSouth Africa that is putting the pieces together to deliver a great tournament:Nathan Raaths, Sheryl Newman, Reinhardt Fourie, Jurgen Putter, Michal Shapiroand Stuart Rider that are contributing to bring this project alive.
5th of December will mark this important step towards including Africa in themap of Professional Jiu Jitsu, with the Trials happening in Johannesburg, andif all goes well, the idea of the organizers is to expand the number ofqualifiers in future trials, opening even more the doors of Professional JiuJitsu to Africans and helping promote the sport all over the continent. We hopeto have the full support of all the African Grappling community, because thisis a project worth being involved with, one that will bring inclusion not onlyto South Africans but to the whole continent.
For more info about the African Trials, please go to: www.africabjjtrials.wordpress.com