Coming from all over the globe to Williamsburg, approximately 30 people are competing in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament. However, this is not just any old martial arts tournament. This tournament is specifically for competitors who have overcome a physical disability. These disabilities can be one of many, but include amputations, spinal cord injuries, and even cerebral palsy. The tournament is sponsored by the Grapplers Heart Organization, which was founded last year by an orthopedic surgeon to help those with disabilities. The organization hopes to make this tournament a yearly event. The tournament began on Saturday and will last the entire weekend.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a self-defense combat sport that specifically focuses on grappling and ground fighting. Interestingly, this martial art believes in the framework that a smaller opponent, who may not be as strong, can use the proper technique to defend against a stronger or bigger opponent. The main objects are to get the opponent to the ground and then use a series of joint-locks and chokeholds to finally defeat the opponent.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu has been around since 1882. The first jiu-jitsu school was founded in 1909 in Brazil. It has differentiated from Japanese jiu-jitsu in that it is not just a martial art, but also a sport. This means it can be used to teach young people physical fitness, character qualities, problem solving, and even a way of life.
Grappler’s Heart believes that this tournament will provide those with disabilities a unique opportunity to return to competition after a life-changing injury. They believe that jiu-jitsu gives disabled athletes a chance to show what they can accomplish with their bodies, as well as the inspiration that lies within their hearts. The event is free and all services are provided through fundraising efforts in the community. The tournament was held at Renzo Gracie’s Fight Academy, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Following the event, seminars were provided by Nick Newell, Matt Marcinek, Keith Miner, as well as an open mat session. Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded to the top competitors at the Grappler’s Heart Tournament.
To learn more about this organization or the next event, follow Grappler’s Heart on Facebook: facebook.com/GrapplersHeart