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February 21st marked an important date for UK jiu jitsu, with the newly formed UK BJJ Federation holding their first competition, the London Winter Open, alongside the International BJJ Federation.

The UKBJJF is the brainchild of multiple world champion, and UK resident of twelve years, Roger Gracie. We caught up with Gracie to discuss the UKBJJF objectives and what fans can expect from the federation going forward.

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What would you say are the main objectives of the UKBJJF?

Our overall objective is to aid the development of jiu jitsu in the UK as a whole. I believe it’s very important that there’s a federation in place that can help academies and athletes. Especially the athletes, as people want to be able to compete at big domestic competitions and be recognised. It’s important that there’s a federation that recognises athletes as individuals and as members of an academy.

And the UKBJJF is working closely with the IBJJF?

Yes, the UKBJJF is directly linked with the IBJJF, which is very important. The IBJJF are so far ahead of any other federation or organisation, so it was important to be working with them. Especially if you look at the way they run their tournaments – we wanted to make sure we replicate the same standards, so working with them was key.

We are essentially looking to the IBJJF and what they have achieved worldwide, because this is what we want to replicate in the UK. We want to offer athletes and academies the same level of professionalism in our sport.


So we imagine this has been a long running project for you?

To be honest, this has been something I’ve wanted to do ever since I moved here, so twelve years ago. The UKBJJF was actually created two years ago, but no steps were made in terms of running tournaments or sorting affiliations, we just sorted the company on paper. It has taken more time than I wanted, but we just completed our first tournament with the IBJJF and we are very happy with the progress that’s been made.

Initially we will be running things together, alongside the IBJJF, as their support is very important while we develop. Having their support running our initial events is important so that we can learn from them, but also to make sure athletes get IBJJF level experiences at the competitions.

So UK athletes can expect plenty more top-level competitions to come from the UKBJJF going forward?

Absolutely. We are currently working on building our website and assessing potential venues, but we are looking forward to putting on some great competitions soon. Things are finally starting to take shape now. We were really happy with the first tournament we ran alongside the IBJJF, and I really believe in the potential of the jiu jitsu in the UK.

I think the UK can be one of the strongest jiu jitsu powers in the world. I know Brazil and the USA may be the front-runners, but there is great potential here in the UK and Europe as a whole.

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February 25, 2015 — Jiu Jitsu Style