Maryland Open 2007 in Baltimore, Maryland Review
This past Sunday I competed in the Maryland Open tournament held in Baltimore annually. This, and a similar tournament called Battle of Baltimore, are the two biggest tournaments held in Baltimore. Essentially they are karate tournaments, at least that's how they started. These days they have everything from XMA forms competitions to full contact continuous fighting; and for many years now, a Brazilian jiujitsu division. This year's Maryland Open had one BJJ division, gi only with various skill level and weight divisions.
Enough with the descriptions.
This has to be one of the worst competition divisions I have ever competed in. It was handled extremely unprofessionally and it was simply unacceptable.
It started with the people running the tournament walking all over the mats in their street shoes. No thought was given to the fact that people were going to be rolling around on those mats. I had to personally ask people to step off the mat with street shoes.
It also turned out that none of the people running the tournament nor any of the present black belts had any experience with jiujitsu. That's right, a tournament holding a BJJ division had no one to run it. Eventually a helpful BJJ blue belt competitor took over the refereeing and other competitors scored the matches. This to me just rang of unprofessionalism on the tournament's part. What kind of a tournament has the competitors act as referees and judges. We were left to our own devices to run the divisions.
I want to give a huge amount of respect to all the competitors. The initiative and the good will everyone displayed was amazing. They were all class acts.
The tournament entry fee was $60 and the spectator fee was $20. $60 to compete and referee your own division. Ridiculous. We ran better divisions in my college club. If the tournament promoter is unable to find someone, anyone, with any experience in jiujitsu to run the divisions, then they need to cancel the division and refund the competitors' entry fee.
Now, granted this is mostly a karate tournament, and so I can't expect the same level of attention given to jiujitsu as to the "karate" divisions. But there is a certain threshold that the promoters have to stay above. As of now, the BJJ division seemed like a greedy cash grab on a popular sport.
As a last thought, I don't plan to compete in this tournament again. And I will make sure my schoolmates and friends don't either. For what is supposed to be one of the biggest tournaments in Maryland I am very disappointed with the treatment of the BJJ competitors. Redheaded step children of karate they are not.
Website of tournament: