PUHI — About 120 practitioners, young and old, competed in the Kauai Spring Open — a leg of the Hawaii Triple Crown of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu — Saturday at Island School’s gymnasium in Puhi.
“Everything turned out good. The more competitors we got, the better it is for the guys. Not just for the event, but it’s so they have more competition,” said event director Romolo Barros. “I think overall, it was a good and successful event.”
The practitioners competed in about 30 divisions in varying weight limits and belt rankings in the double-bracketed tournament. For child competitors, divisions also varied by age.
In a match, competitors score points from accomplishing certain moves such as passing guard, throws, takedowns, etc. The ultimate goal, however, is to win by submission rather than points.
“They’re really trying to get positions, but mainly submissions. That’s the goal in jiu-jitsu,” Barros said.
Among the contestants was Eric Cannon of Kapaa, who placed first in the open advanced no gi division, which had no weight limit.
“I think I did great. I couldn’t have done any better, I guess,” Cannon said. “I could have done two submissions but I only did one, and I won one (match) by points.”
Cannon, who has been a practitioner for more than eight years, hopes to take his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills to higher levels.
“It’s what I live for. I want to be a world champion some day. This is all just steps to the ultimate goal,” he said.
Mark Vargas of Koloa competed in two divisions — placing first in the Light division (150-168 pounds) with gi division, and second in the Light no gi division.
“It was really good. A lot of people came out,” Vargas said, who been a practitioner for about three years. “I could have done better. Just got to train some more, but not bad.”
Kauai High School senior Bryson Yoro also took part, placing first in both the 149-pound with gi division and 149-pound no gi division.
“I’ve grappled before I even knew what wrestling was. I grappled when I was 3 (years old) all the way up to eighth-grade,” Yoro said.
Yoro, who is set to graduate from Kauai High on Friday, also was a wrestler for the Red Raiders wrestling program in the 145-pound weight class.
“(Brazilian jiu-jitsu), it’s a lot more technical and slow paced. You have five minutes to think about every move. … Wrestling is more all out. It’s more (about) strength and just going 100 percent for three minutes,” Yoro said about the differences between the two sports.
The Hawaii Triple Crown of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will return to Kauai in September, but a date and location is to be determined.
“This year, we’re doing two events here. Hopefully, the next event will have more competitors,” Barros said.