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Pacific Top Team Penticton has 32 athletes competing in Western Canadian Championship

The Western Canadian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships return to the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 10. Pacific Top Team Penticton has 32 members competing in the one-day event. Western News file photo

Competition will be fierce during the Western Canadian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships in the South Okanagan Events Centre June 10.

Pacific Top Team (PTT) Penticton has 32 athletes competing, while the club itself has more than 100 from its locations in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton. Sarah Draht, instructor and competitor at PTT, said the students are excited for it.

“We have a strong understanding that there is no losing in jiu-jitsu, you either win or you learn,” she said. “If they win, awesome. If they lose that’s OK, we go back to the drawing board and see what needs to be improved. Competing is absolutely fantastic because it is a very raw and honest endeavour. People go into it to test out their skills against someone else the same weight, size, and experience level.”

Draht said for the club it isn’t just about how the students perform, a big part of the journey is how much they put into their training to get into the tournament. On a day-to-day basis, eating well, training hard, yet at the same time taking care of themselves to avoid injury. Draht said they know all of their students will do fantastic on in their own way. They all have their own journey and what they need to work on and they are stepping up to plate and testing their skill, and it comes to light what they are doing incredibly well and what needs to be improved.

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Event manager Kim Marchand said in following the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation format, championships help athletes get ready for international competitions. One of the exciting divisions to watch will be the adult brown belt, which features PTT Penticton’s Jacob Gardhouse.

“This is a division of very athletic competitors and it will be very exciting to watch,” said Marchand. “Mackenzie Duke is just coming off of a double gold win last weekend and won the West Coast Super Fight the month before that.”

There will be five mats going at all times, providing plenty of action.

“The SOEC is one of our favourite venues and we look forward to being back there this weekend,” said Marchand.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art, combat sport and self-defense art, which primarily focuses on grappling and submission. This sport became prominent in the early 1990s when Royce Gracie brought BJJ to the Ultimate Fighter Championships, or more well known today as UFC. BJJ is is successfully practiced by men, women, and children of different ages, shapes, sizes and physical abilities. Marchand said the tournaments are for everyone with kids as young as five competing and adults as experienced as 50 years.

The day starts with kids gi and no gi with the adult gi division starting at 11:30 a.m. and then the adult no-gi starting at about 5 p.m. Doors to the Western Canadian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships at the SOEC open at 8 a.m. with matches scheduled throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are only available at the door and are $10 for adults. Youth (13 to 17) are $5. Children (12 and under) and seniors are free. Parents of the child and youth competitors are free and must check in with them at the athlete entrance.