After five straight days of grappling, the 2014 IBJJF Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships have come to a close. It appears that Atos has won the team title, edging out Alliance for their first team gold at a major event. Complete results can be found right here, and the Bloody Elbow results for the brackets can be found right here, and the finals play by play here.
Andre Galvao takes Double Gold
Andre Galvao continues his history of success at the Pans, winning his weightclass and the openweight division for the second time. This time around Galvao competed at Ultra-Heavyweight, angling for more team points, and as result he basically competed in two rounds of openweight as he faced much larger opponents much of the weekend.
He defeated Alexander Trans in the Ultra-Heavyweight finals and then defeated Leandro Lo, who himself won a stacked Middleweight bracket.
Galvao doesn't quite have the number of world championships one would expect of a grappler of his status, but his record against elite competition and cleanness of his technique makes him one of the sport's special talents.
Young Black Belt Successes
The new generation of black belts found a great deal of success at this year's Pans. The Miyao brothers finished in first and second at Light Featherweight, hopeful silencing those naysayers who claimed their games would not transfer to the black belt level.
Gianni Grippo finished second in his first major tournament as a black belt. Likewise Keenan Cornelius finished second in his first Pans as a black belt, both of them winning hard fought matches against more seasoned competitors.
Luiz Panza won the Super Heavyweight division, submitting the much more experienced Bernardo Faria of Alliance.
Also Alexander Trans, while he has been a black belt from 2012, is slowly rising his level of success at black belt as he took silver in his weightcass and gave Galvao a spirited match.
This year's Pans was lacking many big names, but the finals the semifinals promised quite a bit of action. And the semifinals delivered, but then the finals featured five close outs. Four of them were expected: the Miyao brothers at Light Feather, a pair of Alliance teammates in Mario Reis and Gianni Grippo, and Michael Langhi and Lucas Lepri, and Atos teammates Keenan Cornelius and Gustavo Campos all closed out their brackets.
The real head scratcher when former, but not currently, teammates Yuri Simoes and Lucas Leite closed their bracket as well. There was scant action as all but one of the remaining finals matches were decided by advantage.
Close outs are part of the tradition of the sport, but this time it was taken too far. It might be time for the IBJJF to take steps to eliminate them. Gentleman's agreements cheapen the competition and lead to anti-climatie finishes to competitions. No other high level combat sport suffers such a practice, why should jiu jitsu? Athletes are able to face teammates, it happens in wrestling tournaments. The Miyao brother's gym is famous for its hard rolling and the brothers have gone on record how they go 100% against each other in the gym, but they cannot face each other in the finals? For an art that preaches getting rid of one's ego, this practice seems to have no other purpose than to protect one's ego from having to suffer a loss to someone you train with and see every day.
The ADCC Submission Wrestling Championships successfully eliminated them with a simple threat of a double disqualification for closing out brackets or throwing matches. There is no reason the IBJJF cannot implement the same practice.