GBJ Nationals – A HUGE Success!

On the 11th of June, the GBJ Nationals took place at the Judo Centre of Excellence.

The GBJ (Great Britain Jujitsu) is a newly formed federation, for anyone, of any skill, for any martial art. They compete, however, in BJJ and Japanese Jujitsu. The GBJ are also responsible for putting together an international team to represent the Great Britain Jujitsu Squad for international events under the JJIF

With over 100 competitors, the event ran quite smoothly. It started a little later than planned but quickly caught back up to speed once Wi-fi was established!

The GBJ Nationals consisted of 2 parts, Ne-Waza and Sports Jujitsu, Ne-Waza for kids, both for over 18’s.

Ne-Waza (or grappling as we’d call it) was almost the same ruleset as that of the IBJJF. The only noticeable differences were the points awarded and what you could do.

Kids Ne-Waza

The kid’s Ne-Waza was great; competitors were split into weight categories starting from six years of age. We spoke to one of the Directors of GBJ – Mike McGarry, who said that with the competition being new, they weren’t expecting anywhere near the number of competitors that they got. Next year they hope to split the categories up for weight and age and, if there are enough, by experience.

There were some notable age differences in some categories, but the kids involved stepped up and did the best they could.

There were plenty of medals going around, and with the running of mats running smoothly, all of the kid’s categories were completed around lunchtime.

The Adults

The adults had 2 events, Ne-Waza and sports jujitsu. Both of the rulesets were from the JJIF (who also adopt JJAU rules for grappling).

The Scoring System:

  • Submission wins
  • 4 points for back take/mount
  • 3 points for passing guard
  • 2 points for knee on belly
  • 2 points for sweeps/throws
  • Advantages were awarded for anything that was tried

What You Couldn’t Do:

  • Heel hooks
  • touching/smothering the face
  • bicep/calf splicers
  • grabbing of toes/fingers
  • usual things like no fish hooks and all the dirty things we’re all used to not being allowed to do
  • put fingers inside Gi trousers or Jackets
  • Neck Cranks/Spinal Locks
  • Dropping to the floor before establishing a grip on the Gi

SO as you can see – not a million miles away from IBJJF, but slightly different.

The JJIF Sports Jujitsu was the interesting part. The JJIF (Jujitsu International Federation) hosts loads of events, around the world, every year. They have been instrumental in getting sports jujitsu into the World Games and are lobbying to get it into the Olympics. If they are successful in this, the GBJ will be the official Olympic Squad, so we are very keen to find out what it is and how it works.

The aim of the game:

At this year’s GBJ Nationals, they used the JJIF Rule set. The idea is to demonstrate your ability to do 3 parts of any fight: Strike – Takedown – submit. If you can demonstrate this then you will win. You have a 1 x 3 min round to win, so make sure you get stuck in – and quick!

The Scoring system:

  • You get an Ippon (2 points) for a clean, unchecked strike to the body or face
  • You get a waza-ari (1 point) for checked strikes/not clean attempts for throws/submissions
  • You get an Ippon for a clean take down or throw that is then controlled for at least 3 seconds
  • You get an Ippon for a submission
  • You get an Ippon if you pin in Kesa Gatame (a type of side control without the underhook) for at least 15 secs.
  • The ref can award 3 points for a ‘beautiful throw’.
  • To win you must either get an Ippon in each of these disciplines OR have the most points at the end of the round.

What you can/can’t do:

  • Face shots must be ridge hand or backhand and light
  • Strikes to the torso must be controlled and light, kicks to the torso are permitted
  • No leg kicks
  • If you submit your opponent but have not got an Ippon in either of the other disciplines – the fight will re-start.
  • You can get many Ippons (2 points) if you continually have clean strikes/throws or submissions.
  • If you are not participating in other areas, you can get penalised and/or points taken away

After thought

At first glance, the rules look a little ‘too tight’ however – after watching it, it makes for an exciting event. The no leg kick rule, was a weird one for me, but then it struck me (a thought…not the leg) – by not allowing leg kicks, it forces kicks to be higher up. This in turn makes the kick inherently more dangerous as the rate of grabbing goes up. Grabbing goes up = and more throws occur. So you can see why the JJIF have taken these out. There were plenty of throws on hand, with some beautiful technique. Submissions seen included bow and arrow chokes, clock chokes and triangles, so watching all 3 elements of a fight in a short time frame was great.

It would appear to me that Sports Jujitsu is very much ”for the average Joe”. In other words, for those who want a bit of a ding dong.. but also – have got work Monday, then this would seem to be a real alternative to MMA. the GBJ Nationals was a great event that showcased a good level of jujitsu. It was a refreshing change of pace, from the usual BJJ comps that I have attended.

Alex Gee On his Event:

THE OTHER DIRECTORS AND I GENUINELY HAD NO IDEA HOW THE DAY WAS GOING TO GO. THERE WERE PLENTY OF LESSONS TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE WEEKEND, THE WHOLE DAY WAS FANTASTIC WITH LOTS OF POSITIVE FEEDBACK. WE WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR WITH EVEN MORE AND CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW OFF WHAT WE HAVE IN STORE FOR PEOPLE. ALL WE WANTED FOR LAST SATURDAY WAS FOR EVERYONE TO HAVE FUN AND FOR THE REFEREEING TO BE FAIR AND I THINK WE ACHIEVED THAT!

ALEX GEE (GBJ DIRECTOR) ON THE EVENT

Congratulations to all involved, it was an enjoyable event, with lots of happy people, see you next year!


Follow me on Twitter @ads_jujitsu_bjj, and for more UK Combat Sports news and discussions make sure to follow Great Britain Jujitsu

Featured image credits to Great Britain Jujitsu

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