Even though plenty of jiu-jitsu practitioners love competing, the way a traditional tournament is run can be discouraging for athletes who are on the fence about putting themselves out there to show off their skills. In many cases, they end up paying a significant chunk of change to have – at most – three matches before picking up a cheap medal and going home.
David Aguzzi started Grappling Industries with the intention of changing all that. The round-robin style of his tournaments ensures that competitors get their money’s worth of mat time. Furthermore, with the enviable prizes Aguzzi offers, athletes can be sure that all the time they spent training for such a big event is going towards the pursuit of something a bit more concrete than glory alone. David has always known that he’d come up with something great, but now, his organization is about to become truly exceptional thanks to the help of Eddie Bravo.
In 2016, Grappling Industries began hosting superfights featuring practitioners such as Eddie Cummings, Keenan Cornelius, and Gordon Ryan. Bravo had heard about the organization, and since Aguzzi had made connections with so many 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu athletes, it made sense for Grappling Industries and the Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) to come together to create the ultimate competitive jiu-jitsu experience.
The idea for the collaboration is simple, but beyond exciting: Certain Grappling Industries tournaments will include the opportunity for participants to win a trip to California to compete at an EBI event. The catch, of course, is that you have to win the entire round-robin at the designated Grappling Industries tournament.
For Aguzzi, partnering up with EBI was a no-brainer. But his decision to join forces with Eddie Bravo is about far more than just an important endorsement. “In most tournaments, you compete, you go home, and that’s it. Your life doesn’t change,” he says. “But imagine what would happen if you won one of these Grappling Industries competitions. Suddenly, you have the opportunity to make this professional. You get to appear on UFC Fight Pass and share the stage with some of the biggest names in jiu-jitsu. Even if you don’t win EBI, you have the chance to be invited back, or someone else will give you a super fight, or maybe you’ll get picked up to do seminars.”
Basically, the Grappling Industries creator wants jiu-jitsu to change your life just as much as you want it to.
Aguzzi is also focused on making this big jiu-jitsu event a worldwide phenomenon. He currently holds Grappling Industries events in Canada, Australia, and the United States. After U.S. expansion has completed, he’s looking to branch out to London as well. He’s looking for big talent all over the world, which means that the next big jiu-jitsu athlete to come out of nowhere and dominate the EBI stage could come from a place you’d never expect.
The first of Bravo’s events to feature a Grappling Industries winner will be EBI 11, which will feature fighters from the 170-lb weight class. Fittingly, the tournament will feature EBI rules, which Bravo is enthusiastic about. “There are quite a few sub-only tournaments converting to EBI rules,” said the 10th Planet founder, adding that he believes unified rules are great for the sub-only movement. Aside from that, though, the instructions are simple: sign up, show up, and win.
“This isn’t just great for Grappling Industries; it’s great cross-promotion for EBI as well,” said Aguzzi. “They get someone who has truly run the gauntlet and earned that spot. They’ve gone through seven or eight fights, and they’re exhausted, but they still gave it their all and won. That’s somebody who deserves that plane ticket and a spot on that stage.”
To have a shot at one of these amazing opportunities, all you have to do is sign up to compete at a Grappling Industries event that features the EBI grand prize. (Keep an eye out for updates on the Grappling Industries Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss any important information.) Of course, you will also need to train, train, train. EBI is a spectacular event reserved for some of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world, and if you want to be there, you’ll need to prove yourself in one of the most grueling tournaments you’ll ever attend. Will it be tough? You bet. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.
“There are going to be some really talented athletes that come out of the woodwork for this,” says Aguzzi. “A lot of people are having a hard time finding a reason to compete. We wanted to find a way to offer something that people actually want so they’d be motivated to put it all on the line.”
If the chance to compete at EBI isn’t enough motivation, I don’t know what will be.