The month of February is around the time where the competition season starts to heat up and there are tournaments to be found almost every weekend around the country and world. The IBJJF started it off with the first major event of the year, the Europeans, and now it’s spreading itself around the United States for numerous “International Open” events.

At these smaller state events, the competitors are always looking to fine tune their competitive mindset and strategy in order to prepare for the bigger tournaments such as the Pans and Worlds. In my opinion, it is difficult for many to jump into major tournaments and do well without testing themselves and giving themselves some added experience by entering the local events. So, with that in mind, these local events become way more important to competitors than they once appeared to be.

In the next few weeks, the IBJJF will be bouncing around the country from state to state hosting all competitors from different regions of the United States.

To start off the crazy journey around the country, the IBJJF will head to Houston for its fourth annual Houston Open event on Feb. 16-17. Last year, the event was a huge hit, as big names from all over flew in to compete and attain some hardware. Guys like the Mendes Brothers (Rafael and Guilherme), Andre Galvao, “JT” Torres, Ryan Hall and Jacob Mackenzie were present and competed that weekend. In the end, Torres of Team Lloyd Irvin walked away with the double gold after winning both the lightweight and absolute categories.

The week after Houston brings the Federation to San Francisco for its second annual event. Last year, being its inaugural event, the turnout wasn’t huge, but this year is looking to be much more promising as more people are gaining word of the event, and there are sure to be some big names signed up once the deadline comes around.

After San Francisco, the bags are packed for Boston, as the IBJJF will be making its third-ever trip to the city, but its first for a Boston “Winter” Open. A big hit the last two years over the summer, the Federation decided to make it a twice-a-year event, which is making the East Coast athletes all the more excited.

The last “International Open” will be the second annual Chicago Winter Open. This event is growing in popularity every year up north and is slowly becoming one of the better Opens on the circuit today. The Federation is making this weekend a two-tournament event, with one day dedicated to all No-Gi matches and the other day dedicated to all Gi matches. So we are sure to see both No-Gi and Gi talents alike looking to prove their worth and going after some IBJJF gold.

Afterward, there will be a one-weekend layoff for the IBJJF to fully prepare for the 2013 Pan Championships held once again in Irvine, Calif. This will be the first year the event will be five days long (going from Wednesday through Sunday), so one should expect possibly the biggest turnout in IBJJF history from white belt to black belt.

So who is ready to keep up with this IBJJF schedule? I know I am as I will be in Boston, Chicago and California to give you, the reader, firsthand details of the action that will be going down (and also to go after a little hardware myself). So stay tuned! Osss!

Photo: Rafael Mendes and “Cobrinha” do battle (Gracie Mag)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor

Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.