Two weeks ago marked the end of the 2016 European open championship. This is the first major of 2016 and I couldn’t be happier with everyones performance. This is the 3rd year I made over for the Europeans and it’s amazing to see the growth of the sport. As a competitor I captured my 3rd European title, but more importantly I got an opportunity to test my spirit. In the final, I hurt my rib early and it really bothered me. At one point I wasn’t so concerned with winning or losing but trying to finish the match. Great job Koji, you always push everyone to be better and I’m glad to have competed against you all these years!
As a coach my week was even better. I got to catch up with old students and spend a lot of time with good friends. Everyone wants to win, but just making it to Europeans and competing is an accomplishment in itself. Everyone who made the journey became a part of Jiu Jitsu history and is better for it.
At the end of the day we took home 2nd in the Female division, one of the fastest growing in our sport. When I see how big the divisions are I can’t help but think of Lana and those who came before and paved the way. It wasn’t so long ago when Blue was the last belt women would get before they’d have to fight at the black belt level. The future of our sport, our association and for myself looks amazing, this is only the beginning!
Special congrats to Kristina Barlaan on her first European Open Championship! She sacrificed a lot to make the trip happen and I was so happy for her when she won. Also huge congrats to Alessandro and CTA, Brazil! Two of his students came home with gold! 2016, lets go!!