Along with academies, tournaments are the foundation of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Academies and tournaments create a type of cycle where students put their practice to the test and go back and forth from each of them – which helps complete the development of jiu-jitsu for these practitioners.
But as an event, tournaments are no joke. Although some of the smaller tournaments may look ‘unprofessional’ due to the size of venues booked or the type of mats used, all tournaments present a set of challenges that few really understand. It’s not as simple as “just go ahead and set up a tournament” – it takes a lot of work!
Tournaments require a lot of involved and active promotion. Along with online blasts and posters over social media and websites, it’s very important to go to as many academies in the area as possible and have discussions with the club owners in order to convince them to actively promote the tournament for you.
Leaving posters and flyers is also a great way to stir interest, however, the most powerful thing to do is have the instructors constantly remind their students of the tournament and urge them to participate.
Organizing the brackets for tournaments is probably one of the most tedious tasks. There are digital programs that help facilitate the process but they usually still involve manual work from the organizers to make sure it was filled in correctly.
Everything is connected in brackets, so if there is a mistake, usually you have to reorganize a bunch of other bracket parts to compensate for the initial change. This is the thing that drives organizers crazy!
The day of the tournament is very stressful for organizers. It is an overwhelming feeling when you see a large amount of people pouring into the venue for weigh-ins and prep. The thought that they are all there to compete in your tournament is a heavy responsibility. And it makes it even harder to digest all this because almost everyone is there at the same time.
You have to make sure your tournament starts early and that everything is perfect ahead of time. But be ready for bumps in the road, as you will probably have to put out a few fires as the day goes by.
The referees you have at your tournament can make or break the experience for your competitors. Inexperienced refs are likely to forget to give certain points and advantages and then you have arguments breaking out mid-tournament. People could leave your tournament feeling bitter with a smaller chance of coming back again. There is plenty more that could happen, but having good refs will minimize a lot of hardship.
Podium work is probably one of the easier aspects to run on this list. Even so, you’d be surprised how often it either takes too long for people to receive their medals or names are mixed up and the wrong medals are handed out.
The wait after your division is probably the worst. You’ve already waited for hours to compete, now you have to wait for hours to get your medal. Reducing wait times is key for giving everyone a positive experience.