As New Zealand continues to recover from the tragic shooting that occurred in Christchurch last month, the BJJ community is stepping up to show their support and solidarity with the country’s Muslim community.
Almost 300 miles away from Christchurch (which is found on New Zealand’s south island), a jiu-jitsu academy in the north island’s city of Wellington is hosting a tournament called the Wellington Open Submission Only. However, this is no ordinary tournament — all spectator fees will be donated to the Lower Hutt Islamic Center, which is located in the Wellington area.
The event is organized by Combat Room Jiu-Jitsu‘s head coach, Vanderson Pires. Pires told the Jiu-Jitsu Times that his goal is “to promote the sport in New Zealand by involving the community,” and as such, the Wellington Open Submission Only tournament has served throughout time as a way to give back through jiu-jitsu. Previously, the event’s spectator fees have been donated to the Wellington Soup Kitchen, Women’s Refuge, and the Kitten Inn (which takes in unwanted kittens and pregnant cats).
The Lower Hutt Islamic Center wasn’t directly affected by the Christchurch shooting, but given the emotional impact the tragedy had on the national and international Muslim community, Pires says that he focused the donations on a local center to show solidarity with Wellington’s Muslim population.
The tournament will offer a submission-only rule set with a “fastest escape” overtime round if no submission is achieved within the time limit. The Wellington Open Submission Only event will take place on April 13 at the ASB Sports Center in Wellington, NZ.