23 Sept 2009


CBeebies is a children's TV station run by the BBC that my little kids are addicted to. CBeebies also sounds confusingly (to me anyway) like the various acronyms used by the governing bodies that control international BJJ competitions.

Cbeebie what?So let me see...there is the CBJJ (Confederacao Brazileira de Jiu-Jitsu) which must not be confused with the CBJJE (ConfederaĆ§Ć£o Brasileira de Jiu-Jitsu Esportivo) for they are deadly rivals. And they both should not be confused with the CBJJF (Canadian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation), which let's face it, are just joining the CBeebies bandwagon for handy acronyms that boost their google rankings. Maybe that's why the CBJJ now prefer to call themselves the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) which, despite diverging from the CBeebies theme, is far snappier sounding I think. Are you keeping up?

So why are are the IBJJF and the CBJJE deadly rivals? I don't know. But the latter is run by many ex members of the former and I can only assume money is what drove them apart. You see the big contention among the fighting elite is the IBJJF tournaments do not pay prize money and those that run the CBJJE say they do pay prize money. But the IBJJF is vastly more powerful and the kudos of winning their events is hugely more influential than the other. Even today some teams will only send competitors to one event and ignore the other. Politics is a tricky business.

So why do I mention these bodies?
Well, for a start, the CBJJE are growing fast. They have just held their first European Championships in Switzerland and quite a few of my pals won gold medals, including Oli Geddes, Pippa Granger and Isaac Perez. By all accounts it was a well run event. Isaac, who I met at my very first BJJ comp in Brighton, says it's the best run comp he's ever been to. Sadly, the much trumpeted cash prize was not available to him but he did get a t-shirt!

But the allure of winning a IBJJF event is what brings out the really big guns, the famous black belts you see in all the youtube videos. The next one is the IBJJF European Championships in January. Something I am seriously considering competing in.

Why not call a federation the World BJJ Association or something?Yes, why not? Well because it's been done already. The WBJJA, or World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association is a newish group who promote BJJ through print and video instructional material and through yearly visits by one of their black belts. It's a touchy subject for many who practice BJJ in the UK. Some feel they are offering easy belts to practitioners who prefer not or cannot train with standard BJJ groups. The bringing back of the 'midnight blue' belt rank rankles many. This colour belt was first devised in the 1960's by Helio Gracie, but he dropped it soon after in favour of the current system (white,blue,purple,brown,black,red). The WBJJA brought it back as a rank for novice BJJ instructors under their program. To qualify, the member has to have a number of years of experience in another martial art. Cynics suggest that a dark midnight blue could easily look like a black belt to unsuspecting newbies. Whatever the controversy, the WBJJA are growing and look set to become part of the UK's BJJ establishment, whether the rest like it or not.

Phew! The Meerkatsu is busily inventing his own federation. Only small people can join and only those that write blogs and draw and photograph a little. Oh, that's just me then. I win gold!
BTW. I shelled out a few bob to buy the url www.meerkatsu.com It was either that, or CBJJMRKTSU, which is a bit less snappy sounding, don't you think?

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Anonymous said...

Ah, politics, thy name is martial arts.

And it's funny how, the more money there is in something, the more people suddenly decide that they have their own unique vision of the art that needs to be shown to the world.

See you soon,

Dave T.

Anonymous said...

I think they should adopt that as the official logo.

I don't think anyone will sue, but I have a friend in Children's DVDs who can beat you with her walking stick if you ask her nicely.

Dave T.

Meerkatsu said...

Only if it's her rhythm stick

slideyfoot said...

Wasn't there some other one too, a predecessor of the CBJJE with a vaguely similar acronym?

Seem to remember reading that organisation was effectively behind the original Alliance/Brasa split that keeps on branching off into further splits, as a bunch of the younger Alliance fighters wanted prize money.

Unknown said...

That was the CBJJO. Which became the CBJJE, if memory serves. O for Olympic. E for Esportivo.

Take care,



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