2013 Ontario Open JiuJitsu
Road to the Ontario Open: What to Expect.
On May 11th and 12th possibly one of the biggest BJJ tournaments probably in the history of the country will take place at the Brampton Soccer Centre. It is the Ontario Open and has become a juggernaut of a tournament in the Greater Toronto Area attracting competitors from all over not just the Toronto area, but from all over the province. Competitors from New York State, Detroit, Ottawa,Sudbury and Montreal will be at this tournament to represent themselves and their BJJ academies. Last year over 1500 competitors fought over two days making this not only the biggest tournament in Ontario, but one of the biggest in North America rivaling several Grapplers Quest, NAGA, U.S Grappling and a large number of IBJJF events.
What makes the Ontario Open such a large tournament? Is it the name? This is a possibility. When you hear the name Ontario Open what does everyone think of? I think the name alone makes this sound like an important tournament. There has to be more? It can’t just be in the name as a secret to their success.
A lot of their success has to be credited to their staff and the main tournament organizer Fernando “Gringo” Zulick. Gringo has been involved in the BJJ scene here for several years being an instructor and now owning his own academy (Action Reaction MMA). He is possibly one of the most respected black belts in his province not only for his instruction but for what he has given to the BJJ scene here in Ontario building the biggest tournament in the country.
The Ontario Open started back in 2009 and had around 350 competitors and seemed like any other grass roots tournament. The year after that in 2010 however the number almost doubled to around 650-700 competitors. That is when people began to take notice of the tournaments growth and the BJJ scene in Ontario. As the tournament scene grew, the Ontario Open grew with it. In 2010 I remember one of Canada’s best nogi grapplers in Paul Stark get recruited to do a 32 man super fight tournament in California with Grapplers Quest as the host. It was at this tournament he got scouted to fight on this super show with the likes of Joao Assis, Xande Ribeiro and Bill “the grill” Cooper.
2011 the number of competitors grew once again to around 1000 competitors which astonished a lot of people. Even with big names like Grapplers Quest and NAGA running tournaments in Canada now, the growth of the tournament kept picking up steam. This was the first year that the tournament offered big money trips to the Mundials offering 6 trips covering purple,brown/black belt and the women’s divisions to pay their flight and hotel to the Mundials in California just a few weeks later. Just a year later trips were expanded to the blue belt absolute for males as well as 4 trips to the Nogi Pan ams for the winners of the Blue,Purple,Brown/black belt males and blue+ Absolute for females. This was one of the first tournaments around that offered trips to major IBJJF tournaments.
This year The Ontario Open is expected to hit 1800 competitors this year. Every year the Ontario Open raises the bar in how a tournament should be run and it just keeps on growing every year. May 11th and 12th the BJJ scene will be at this tournament. If you live anywhere near this area this is the one tournament that you need to check out and see to believe.
Words by: Mike Bryers
See you there, Ossssss!!!
Things to Earn and Win: