COVID-19 and Competition

It’s crazy to think how COVID-19 has affected our lives since February/March. Gyms were forced to shut down, competitions were cancelled, and many were forced to do “Zoom BJJ” if we wanted to continue training and feeling like we’re still a part of our academies.

For those whose lives revolve around BJJ, quarantine was/is difficult but not impossible. Many turned to home workouts to keep up with cardio and strength and conditioning. If you had the luxury of having mats prior to or buying them during quarantine, training with an actual partner (not solo drills) made time pass much more quickly as well as transitioning back into competition easier. This was made evident by the recent slew of BJJ competitions over the last two months between Texas, Florida, Oregon, and most recently, Brazil.

Despite IBJJF events being cancelled earlier in the year, namely Pans and Worlds, promotions such as Third Coast Grappling, Submission Underground, JitzKings, Fight2Win, and BJJ Stars are carrying the torch to bring back sport BJJ from quarantine. This is definitely not an easy task, nor does it come without new rules regarding spectating and competing.

Many, if not all the promotions require all spectators to wear masks and get their temperature checks upon entry. Depending on the state they are in, they may also limit the amount of spectators allowed in the venue. Other promotions, such as Third Coast Grappling, has set a standard by COVID-19 testing all athletes prior to competition.

Just this week, the IBJJF announced its first event since quarantine and the Safety Protocol during the Austin International Open 2020 on September 19th:

• They are evaluating on a day-to-day basis the health issues and local or federal orders in regard to contact sports.
• In the case of a forced event cancelation, all registration fees will be automatically refunded.
• If the competitor feels uncomfortable in light of the COVID-19 safety issues, their registration will be canceled and refunded if requested before the registration deadline.
• The IBJJF is not responsible for the participants other expenses such as transportation and lodging.
• Every athlete is eligible to bring ONE coach or companion, no other spectators will be allowed. They must enter the venue with the competitor.
• Check your temperature BEFORE coming to the event. If there are any signs of symptoms or high temperature, please remain at home and contact your health provider.
• If you are currently sick or have been exposed to someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, please stay at home and contact your health provider.
• All of the IBJJF equipment will be properly sanitized prior to and during the event throughout the day.
• Masks or face shields will be required to be worn inside the building and can only be removed for matches.

I’m sure that this is just the beginning for COVID-19 related restrictions for competition. While we all continue to navigate these crazy times together, we must all continue to practice the same common sense that we would normally do if we are sick or have any easily transmittable viruses (i.e. ringworm, staph, MRSA).

Nobody is immune to COVID-19! If Gordon Ryan AND Craig Jones can contract the virus, we all are susceptible to it. If we want to continue to be able to train and compete, we need to follow the rules. In the same respect, promoters should also be taking extra precautions during this time to ensure the health and safety of both their athletes and spectators to ensure we can continue enjoying competitive sport Jiu-Jitsu rather than having the government shut it down completely again.

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