Ares/Nava BJJ dominated the 11th AZ International Open on February 20th and 21st with an impressive First Place win for the Adults and Third Place for the kids. Our team was the largest with 55 adults and 26 kids competing! We even had several members from Ares BJJ in Northern California come out to join us. Thank you to the students and to Samir Chantre, Milton Bastos, and Queixinho Moizinho for making the trip out.
The numbers and the wins are not what made this event such a success. Wins and losses happen every day. Teams win and lose every day. What this team had, however, is much more rare. The encouragement, joy, camaraderie and sense of family reverberated throughout the venue and even made an impact on other teams. Comments were made by other competitors about our strong bond and great support for one another.
We had students competing for the first time and for the twentieth time. We had mothers and fathers on the mats with their sons and daughters. We had students warming each other up – making sure their teammate was properly stretched and ready to go; sharing music, water, and protein bars. Coaches made sure that every child and every adult had someone there to assist them on the mat. There was no shortage of strong hands patting the shoulders of competitors and offering encouragement, praise, and words of advice. Nerves were soothed and heads were nodded in understanding. We were a family and we were going to be there for each other no matter what. We were competing for ourselves, our team and our coaches.
But this sense of family didn’t happen just because we were at a tournament. We weren’t brave and caring because people were watching. We were a family at the tournament because we were a family on and off the mats. When we train in the academy we practice the same principles. We encourage and learn from each other. We sweat and strain together on the mats every single day. Off the mats we find times to eat and laugh together. If someone is having a rough time, we sometimes even cry together. We don’t abandon someone because they aren’t as strong and we don’t idolize someone that is. We push and pull together to move forward as one.
And this is why we did so well at the tournament – because we fought like we trained… Together.