In the world of BJJ, it is hard to find which tournament is right for you. Are you a beginner that wants to go to a small tournament, or someone that wants to test themselves against the best of the best? Well, here is a breakdown of the five most well known brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament runners, so you can find the one that is right for you.
This is easily the biggest tournament runners in the world of BJJ, but they are also the most expensive. For a well known tournament like the Pan-AMs, it can cost anywhere from $90 to $130 depending on how late you sign up. Although, tournaments like this get people from all over the world. In fact, some of the biggest name in BJJ compete at their tournaments like the Mendes Brothers, Andre Galvao, and Rafael Lovato Jr. just be careful when you expect to compete, because even though the schedule may say 2:30 in the afternoon, you may not go on until a few hours later.
I would call this the second biggest tournament runners, because they still draw a large crowd. It is not as big as the crowd at IBJJF tournaments. They are less expensive though since you can sign up for about $60 when they first open registration. The best thing about NABJJF though is that they run their tournaments on time. Every time I have went they do not start brackets or weight classes at different times than what their schedule says; they are on time.
These are smaller tournaments that usually bring a small crowd considering that some of them are capped off at a few hundred competitors in total. Some of their tournaments cost $60 and you get a T-Shirt and others only cost $30 without a T-Shirt. They do double elimination at most of their competitions which means you get two matches no matter what. That is unlike other tournaments where you get only one match even if you lose the first one.
These tournaments are ran more like a bracketing schedule. They can sometimes run up to four tournaments a month with those tournaments being all over the US. The more gold medals you win, the more points you get. Those points count toward making it to a championship tournament where the best of the best face off against one another. Whether that tournament is close to where you live is another question entirely.
These tournaments while they have some Gi competitions are bigger and more well known for their No-Gi competitors. If IBJJF has some of the best and brightest in BJJ for Gi, then Grappler’s Quest has the best in the No-Gi world. They cost a little bit more at around $75-$100, but not only do you get a T-Shirt, you also can get a free rash guard. Also, there are some divisions of the tournament which if you win there is a cash prize, but unless you are at an elite level, it is doubtful you will win those cash prizes.