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Columbus Hosts First-Ever Jiu Jitsu Tournament

by Luke Meinhardt

Two competitors during a match. (Credit: Luke Meinhardt)

This past weekend, Columbus’ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) team hosted the JitzKing Miami Open here on campus. This was the first time Columbus had the opportunity to host a BJJ tournament, a new experience for our school and team. Spanning the entire day Saturday, it drew in more than 300 competitors aged between six and 50 years old.

It was an immensely successful weekend for Columbus, especially as it was the first competition for many of our boys.

As Junior Evan Sequiera, who took home 2nd place finishes in both the Gi and No-Gi divisions, puts it, “This weekend's tournament was an great opportunity to get out there and compete with the rest of the team. It was really satisfying to see all our hard work finally pay off."

Our Explorers had six students compete, taking home 11 podium finishes, with two first, five second, and four third-place finishes. In addition to Evan, Senior Victor Castellanos placed 2nd in Gi and 3rd in No-Gi for his weight class. Senior Richard Aguilar placed 1st in No-Gi and 3rd in Gi. Junior Sebastian Illas took home 2nd in both Gi and No-Gi. Junior Stefano Altadonna took home 3rd in both events as well. Lastly, Junior Richard Cristobal took home 1st in No-Gi as well.

Overall, it was a massive success for the team, as Mr. De Tuya, one of the club's moderators and founder puts it.

"This was a landmark moment for the club. Almost every student who competed was doing so for the first time against kids who were not only more experienced but also are training at a dedicated jiu-jitsu school - not just a school club. I think the results help prove that we are no ordinary “club” and this was the first step into eventually turning Jiu-Jitsu into a full-fledged FHSAA sport.”

Founded in 2022, the BJJ Club is one of the newest on Columbus’ campus. Its moderators Mr. De Tuya and Mr. Garcia have grown the club considerably up to more than 25 consistent members over the past two years. The club meets three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from after school until 4 pm in the team sports gym. In addition, the club hosts monthly alumni open mats aimed at building out a community in the sport.

More than just that, Mr. Garcia loves jiu-jitsu for the mental fortitude it builds.

"[Jiu-Jitsu] gives kids the chance to grapple with high-pressure situations even many adults don’t get to experience. It mentally positions them to succeed and develop a relationship with humility. It’s a scary thing to go out there and compete alone and I’m so proud of all our guys that stepped up to the challenge. Also a huge shoutout to the countless people who made this past weekend possible," he said.

Generally, BJJ is on the rise in the United States.

Overall, this tournament marks a significant milestone for one of Columbus’ most exciting young clubs as they look toward the future. The next tournament at Columbus is on April 13th. 

All photos were taken by Luke Meinhardt. PHOTO GALLERY CAN BE FOUND HERE.

Stats from GoldBJJ and IbisWorld

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