Bainbridge man awarded gold at international Jiu-Jitsu competition

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Joshua Adams, middle, stands with his gold medal after winning the ultra heavy No-Gi division competition at the Worlds tournament in Long Beach, California.

Fifteen jiu-jitsu matches in two days, each one ranging anywhere between two seconds and eight minutes, is a rigorous trial for anybody.

Bainbridge resident Joshua Adams handled it well, though.

He didn’t lose a single one of them and was awarded gold at the Sports Jiu-Jitsu International Federation Worlds tournament in the No-Gi ultra heavy division.

Email newsletter signup

Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art involving grappling techniques with an emphasis on technique over strength, dates back as far as 1909. It wasn’t until 1967 when Sport Jiu-Jitsu was born, and it began to develop internationally throughout the 1980s.

Hundreds of martial artists from around the globe flocked to Long Beach, California, for the two-day weekend tournament on Nov. 21-22. Adams’ competition was fierce, but ultimately beneficial, he said.

“It’s a great learning experience to compete against someone with different fighting styles,” Adams said.

Adams arrived in Long Beach a week ahead of the tournament to train at 10th Planet Gym under manager Geo Martinez. He fought in 12 matches in two hours during preliminaries on Saturday, and then finished his final three matches Sunday.

“The first match I had, the guy was a little too aggressive,” Adams said. “I submitted him within the first minute. The second match I won with a head and arm choke in three minutes.”

The final match against Selim Baccouche, who finished in second place in the division, went the full eight minutes. Adams beat him on points alone.

“He was pretty big,” Adams laughed. “His calves are bigger than (my body).”

Brandon was awarded first place in his division. The win marks a milestone in his Jiu-Jitsu career. He recently got word he was inducted as an official member into the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, where he will be invited to bigger tournaments with even more diverse competition.

When Adams arrived at the SJJIF Worlds tournament, he began sizing up his competition right away. But he never carried the attitude that he was there to beat them all, he said.

“When you go to a big competition like that, you can never say ‘I’m here to win’,” Adams said. “It’s the spirit of the sport. You’re not really cocky or arrogant. You are humble naturally. You just want to compete.”

Adams found Jiu-Jitsu when he was 16. He was a small guy then, he said, and he just wanted to learn some self-defense. Just wanting to learn turned into a passion. He has studied Jiu-Jitsu strictly for the past seven years.

The sport calms him down, Adams said. It lets him focus on what’s important to him. It lets him settle his differences with someone on the mat, where he can practice discipline.

He trains at Goju Karate and MMA in Bainbridge three times a week and in in various gyms around Tallahassee, Florida, the other days. It’s his full-time job.

He looks up to the “greats”, martial artists like Keenan Cornelius, winner of double gold medals at four major Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Marcus Bechecha.

“But there could be any tournament that I show up to and have to go against those guys,” Adams said.