March 24th 2013. At the Brock University campus, the Niagara BJJ Open took place on the main campus. This attracted competitors from all over Ontario from London, The GTA and even parts of New York state and even deeper into the U.S. One thing about the OJA tournaments is they are not Toronto centered, they try to host tournaments outside the GTA and try to come go to reach places such as Ottawa,Sudbury and now the Niagara region.
The hosts for this tournament were Chris and Blayne Bonfoco who are affiliates of Omar Salvolsa and his team Ascension. They have both been very active in the Ontario BJJ scene coaching, training and sometimes even competing in tournaments and fights. They also have a team that frequently competes not only in BJJ but in mixed martial arts as well as muay thai tournaments local and international. They have a wealth of knowledge in martial arts as a whole and played as great hosts to Saturday’s tournament.
The tournament that day ran smoothly with few delays. I believe at the most the tournament was 30 minutes behind which is excellent for any tournament. You can always expect some delays at tournaments with anything from injuries, kids not coming when their name is called etc. There are always little hitches and speed bumps when running a tournament but the staff at the OJA handled these very well. They are very experienced with running brackets, having a layout for the tournament and having proper medical staff there when things go wrong.
One disadvantage of running a tournament all on one day is that it is simply a very long drawn out tournament. When attempting to run a GI/NOGI tournament all on one day expect roughly a 12 hour day (sometimes more). Grapplers Quest, NAGA and the bigger organizations seem to try it as well but they use 10 mats and sometimes even more than that to have as many matches as possible to make the day go by faster. It is difficult (and tiring) to try and run a one day tournament and it is often better to run the tournament over two days and space out the times for competitors and give people a break from reffing and competing.
The Ontario Jiu Jitsu Association continues to deliver in the province with top notch, IBJJF quality tournaments regardless of where you compete. I believe in my opinion if you want to compete in Pan Ams or the Mundials, these tournaments give you the best feel for what those tournaments will feel like down to their look and how brackets and matchmaking are made. These make them all important warm-up tournaments for serious competitors looking to compete in other International IBJJF events.
Written by: Mike Bryers
Mike Bryers is an active BJJ competitor and Blue belt under Dan Moroney at Bravado Jiu Jitsu/Gracie Woodbridge. He is also a graduate BS.c Honours in kinesiology from York University.
Make sure to check him out on his Blog: http://www.invertedbjj.com