The Sonoma State Jiu Jitsu club is looking to add to their medal count. The club has been fighting since 2014 and throughout the teams history the club has primarily competed in three leagues.
First the team competes in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). The team has also been fighting in the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) and the Sport Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (SJJIF) in past years. Here the teams members compete against other fighters in Northern California.
The sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has many rules. Since this is a fighting sport it is important to compete with integrity. When fighting, each competitor cannot slam their opponent in hopes of escaping a submission. The fight takes place on a mat and if the fight is moving towards the side of the mat then the referee will restart them from a set or standing position.
Last year the team only competed in the white belt level but this year they plan to have some athletes fight under the blue belt level which requires different rules and longer match lengths. The fight is based of off a point system to find a winner. For example, a fighter is rewarded two points if they take down or throw their opponent.
Last season was a huge success for the club. They competed at four different competitions. Each competition they sent a variety athletes ranging from 10 to 15 different club members. The team’s effort earned them many medals. The team racked up an impressive 28 medals throughout their four competitions. They earned eight bronze medals, twelve silver medals and eight gold medals. The club has yet to compete this year but has plans to win more medals in the near future.
Tournaments are run year round but the team only competes each school year. President of the club, Emily Sussman, explained their plans, “it can be difficult to find tournaments that are hosted in a location that is somewhat nearby to us. When we find a close tournament we will plan on competing.” The team is currently spending their time training for the moment they find a tournament to compete in. The club practices on Monday and Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. and Friday from 8-10 a.m.
They have a heavy practice schedule that shows the teams great efforts to prepare. These practices benefit all members, “We are preparing for the season right now by going over a lot of basics, this is mostly to help new members understand the basic techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but it is also great for returning members to go over and polish up their technique as well.” Sussman explains.
With competitions right around the corner, the team has many goals to achieve. These goals take place on and off the mat. The club has been flourishing on campus and they plan to continue this. “We are also looking to increase our social presence on campus. As two time winners of Sports Club of the Year presented by Student Involvement we are looking to continue achieving the high level of accomplishment that we have done in the past,” Sussman said. The team also has had a huge impact on promoting sexual assault and bullying awareness and plans to help students learn self defense in the spring. The team plans to achieve success by being a family and bonding together to reach their goals.
The team plans to compete all over the bay area this year but have not decided on what events they will go to yet. For more information visit the facebook page @sonomastatebjj.