Our family enjoys Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for many reasons. We like the value of respect at the dojo and within the sport, the acai bowls and Brazilian barbecue, and the martial art in general because it is “gentle” compared to others that include punching and kicking. Our family began participating in Brazilian jiu jitsu 41/2 years ago. Something we learned early on in our participation in the sport is that the rules will change without notice. Two years ago we attended an event sponsored by IBJJ. Our kid showed up on time for the event, well fed, and ready for the tournament. We stood in the lobby for one hour due to set up delays. Once inside, none of the employees knew where to direct us for spectator tickets and ID badges. After another hour, (and standing in long lines) we acquired both. Our kid went to check in with his dad. They proceeded to tear of patches because an edge was not flat and implied they were not sewed on correctly even though they were iron on. Our child was one ounce over weight (his dad did make a mistake in the registration as he was on familiar with how the brackets worked at the time). We were never told that our kid was disqualified. At other competitions we were told to take our child to the restroom. This solved the problem by a pound. Instead, they let him compete. His match was to be 3 minutes as a gray belt youth. The match did not stop at 3 minutes, but continued 3 minutes and fifteen seconds until someone notified the referee that the match had ended. At 3 minutes our child had more points and had officially won, but at 3 minutes fifteen seconds, the other child did an arm bar and won with a submission. Very unfair. We did not find out that our child was disqualified until we went to the awards podium and our kid’s name was not listed. Our sensei went to the check in area to inquire. This is when we were told that our child was disqualified. This was very traumatic for our child and us as we had spent a good amount of time and money preparing for the competition.
Last weekend we participated in a tournament hosted by NABJJ. We drove to another state for the competition, so the price was about the same as a family’s day at Disneyland. We were ready in every way. Weight was right on. Two Gis were packed to have one as a back up. We arrived early to the event site. Check in went as usual. Weigh in was fine. Suddenly, a man with an instrument we had not seen before began measuring the sleeves of our child’s Gi. Instead of 7 cm sleeve slack, his sleeve was 6 cm. We tried the other jacket. Patches were torn off and there was a glue residue underneath. They turned that jacket down. We were told to use a team mate’s Gi. There were no other team mates at this competition since we were out of state. They said they would give us 5 minutes to purchase a new Gi. At this point our child was devastated and in tears. I assessed the situation, and determined that since we had recently purchased his King Z Gi in the last year and that our child’s emotional state had been ruined by the attitude of the inspectors that it would be best at that point to have him disqualified. To be fair, competition guidelines were on a link on the page of the website stating that sleeve slack is 7 cm, however, our child wore the same Gi at a NABJJ last April 2016 and won his competition without any rule conflicts. We were also told that NABJJ is lenient on the weight requirements for kids and lets them compete in their weight bracket even if they are a little over at weigh in. We even participated in a No Gi competition a year and a half ago when a competitor who was 45 minutes late and had missed check in and should have been disqualified was allowed to compete. They had our child fight in three matches with the same kid until the late child showed up who happened to be a member of Silva Jiu Jitsu. So, NABJJ does make some exceptions for kids, but last weekend chose to strictly enforce the 7 cm rule for Gi sleeve slack. Our family has experienced multiple inconsistencies in the rule keeping of Brazilian jiu jitsu.