4 Reasons You Can’t Miss our 2018 Connecticut BJJ Open

I’m not going to name them here, but just think about how many tournaments are out there now…

It’s funny. When I started training nearly ten years ago, we didn’t have many tournaments to choose from. My first tournament was in New Jersey, about two hours from me, and that felt close.

Nowadays, they’re everywhere, and if you’re on the west coast you’re spoiled with tournaments every weekend. There’s everything from small local tournaments all the way to the Eddie Bravo Invitational streaming on UFC Fight Pass.

So why join us at our 2018 Connecticut BJJ Open you might be thinking? I mean, I hope you’re not. I hope you’ve competed in quite a few of our 18 tournaments we’ve hosted since 2012. But if you’re on the fence about joining us, or are joining us for the first time and just want to know what to expect, I’ve put together a short list of reasons why this tournament is the most important Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament to ever take place (and I’m not kidding).

1. IT WILL BE THE MOST PHILANTHROPIC BJJ TOURNAMENT EVER

There’s no denying this one. We’ve even called the Guinness Book of World Records and asked them to join us to verify our claim. This will be our 7th year in Connecticut (last year we raised $172,000)  and we have our sights set on raising $225,000. It will be monumental, especially considering just six years ago we hosted our first tournament and raised $17,000, which was well above our $5,000 goal.

2. IT’S UNLIKE ANY TOURNAMENT YOU’VE COMPETED AT

First things first, it IS like other tournaments in that it’s a traditional BJJ tournament, with IBJJF rules, referees, guard passes, submissions, medals, and the like. When you step on that mat, you’re trying to win, and that’s okay. That said, it’s the only tournament where you’re fighting for more than just medals—you’re fighting for those in the fight of their lives. There’s nerves and competitiveness for sure, but there’s also an overarching vibe of positivity because we all know that we’re there for a bigger reason. We kick off the day awarding our top fundraisers and top team fundraisers too, because that’s what we’re really there for, to make a tangible impact in the fight against cancer and recognize those who went above and beyond.

3. WE HAVE A NEW BENEFICIARY THIS YEAR

Even if you’ve joined us before, this will be your first opportunity to support our newest beneficiary, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $150 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 800 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. We’re thrilled to partner with them in 2018 and 2019 as we work with them to change the lives of children with cancer and their families by funding critical research grants and family services. ALSF volunteers will be joining us and you’ll be able to recognize who you’re fighting for on one of our lemons, and even pick up some refreshments at our own lemonade stand!

4. THIS WILL BE OUR (AND CONNECTICUT’S) BIGGEST TOURNAMENT EVER

Okay, I’m no official BJJ historian. But I’ve been training for 10 years and have competed in numerous tournaments in Connecticut, and I’ve never been to a tournament that comes anywhere near the size of this one (though it would be great if the IBJJF came to CT and gave us a run for our money!). Last year 711 competitors signed up. This year, we’re capping it at 800, with compelling brackets in all age divisions including Adult, Masters (30+), and Executive (40+). It’s going to be so big that we’ve had to move our venue to East Haven High School’s expansive gymnasium.

ONE EXTRA REASON: WE CARE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE

This may be an “extra” reason, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m a competitor too. I have no patience for tournaments that schedule you to fight at 2pm yet don’t actually start your division until 7pm, keep you there till 11pm, have people with no experience managing brackets, or make you write your name into the bracket (after they gave up doing it themselves)…yes, all those have happened to me.

We’re not here just to host a charitable tournament…we want to host a high quality, extremely well organized tournament too. That’s why we invest in the tournament experience, hiring high-level referees and bracketing organizers, a cloud-based bracketing and scoreboard system (called Smoothcomp), LED TV scoreboards, and most importantly, we’re obsessed with sticking to our schedule.

There’s five reasons to join us. So what are you waiting for? Register and start fundraising now!!