I recently came back from my trip to America where I went to compete in the World Masters Championships and train at some of the famed and much talked about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) schools on the west coast.
It’s been over 10 years that I have now been doing BJJ and I would say I have been training pretty hard during that time. At least I had thought I was until I went to the US. You see, the BJJ scene in Australia is still quite new here and has only recently received traction in the mainstream.
On the other hand, BJJ in the US is a lot more established and coupled with their larger population and World Champion Jiu Jitsu athletes from Brazil setting up schools all around the country, you can easily see why they’re currently producing some of the best athletes.
For over a year I had trained hard leading up to the world’s championships. I had a nutritionist, trained with as many high level guys whom I could get access to, had frequent massages and physio sessions and also made many sacrifices along the way all whilst trying to run a newly formed full time gym.
I was fighting fit and thought I was in with a decent position to take out the world’s with all my meticulous preparation. Boy, was I wrong! After training in the US I realised very quickly just how many full time athletes there were with so much depth of talent to boot. That’s not to say that Australia doesn’t have athletes with talent and heart. We just don’t have many full time athletes period! And it is for this reason Australia will always fall short against world class international competition.
We can do well in the whites, blue and purple belt divisions – and possibly produce more world champions in these categories like we have in the past. But when you’re talking about the brown and black belt divisions, that’s just another kettle of fish altogether.
So if you want to be a world champion in the brown or black belt divisions, you’re going to have to move to America or Brazil or wait another 10 years for the sport to grow at home. And even then, in my opinion, you may still be better off training in America and Brazil as it’s likely the sport will continue to grow at a faster rate there than at home.