BJJ SINGAPORE COMPETITION - GRAPPLE ASIA SUMMER SLAM
Large crowds gathered at the outdoor atrium of City Square Mall over the last weekend for the Grapple Asia Summer Slam, the first white and blue belt tournament sanctioned by the Sport Jiu Jitsu International Federation. The event attracted over 200 Jiu Jitsu enthusiasts from gyms all across Singapore, including males, females, youths and kids in both the Gi and No Gi divisions.
Putting the spotlight on home grown athletes
Derrick Fonsah – CEO, and Jacky Wang – Chief Strategy Officer, who forms part of the four-man team behind Grapple Asia, shared with us their vision in fostering a long-term growth in the Jiu Jitsu community. “The reason we are focusing on newer belts is to provide a platform to encourage development of the community, as well as to put the spotlight on local athletes who put in the hard work.”
Higher standards of competitors in the recent years
Having been organising tournaments for four and a half years now, the duo agreed that the skill levels of the contestants have seen vast improvements as the exposure to the sport grows. While the Asian market, more specifically, Asian parents are initially resistant to the idea of having their kids engage in martial arts due to the fear of them sustaining injuries, they are now slowly becoming more receptive and understanding of it. Jacky stresses that in terms of safety, training Jiu Jitsu is not any different from participating in other regular sports like soccer or basketball.
Jiu Jitsu as a lifestyle
As avid practitioners themselves, Derrick and Jacky share the belief that Jiu Jitsu is a lifestyle, rather than just a sport.
Derrick: In Jiu Jitsu there is this concept of ‘sweeping’ your opponent – you take an obstacle, you find lever points, you push or pull certain lever points, and you reverse the situation. That framework gives you a very strong baseline to overcome life issues.
Jacky: The more you train, the more you learn about your own body – in terms of flexibility, stamina, and the amount of pressure you can put on somebody. Beyond the physical parts, it is really also a test of your mental strength and how far you can push yourself.
Grapple Asia Kids tournament
Despite the resounding success of the tournament, the duo have no plans to slow down, and are in fact gearing up for their next event – the Little Warriors Roll-A-Thon, happening on 15 Sep, 2018. Targeted at young kids between 4 – 15 year olds, they hope to provide an outlet for talented young athletes to showcase and develop their skills.