With a total of 177 competitors from 31 different schools, some coming from as far away as Italy and Ohio, the inaugural Big Apple BJJ Open took place this weekend. The competitors took to gi-clad combat on four mats set up at the gymnasium at Martin Luther King High School, right in the middle of Manhattan.
The black belts took to the mats first. Guybson Sá took the gold with an impressive victory in a final that lasted less than half a minute, dropping down from open guard for a quick ankle lock.
An idea that has been a year ago four months in the making, this was the very first tournament promoted by Vitor Shaolin, Jen Sung and Mario Guerrero. The date was carefully planned so as to not interfere but to help other competitors competing at other tournaments around the globe. “We wanted to just have a good Jiu-Jitsu tournament in New York. No names associated. We just wanted to host it,” explains Sung.
Renzo Gracie was also present and was honored with a plaque delivered to him by Shaolin. “I came here and didn’t know anybody. Renzo said, ‘If you need anything, give me a call’, and I called him a number of times,” Shaolin went on to thank Renzo for all the help given to Jiu-Jitsu in New York as a whole.