ATHLETES SET FOR MORE COMPETITION, INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS SYSTEM AND PRIZE FUND BOOST AS JIU-JITSU SET FOR SAFE RETURN
The return to training was followed by our announcement of the 2021 domestic season, which is something to really look forward to for all of us. Thanks to the ongoing support of our wise leadership, the dedication of our esteemed board, the new season will feature new championships, including the UAE National Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which will serve as the season finale. The addition of new championships was designed to provide more opportunities for the athletes to compete and develop their technical skills.
Furthermore, two of our most illustrious championships, Vice President’s Jiu-Jitsu League and Mother of the Nation Jiu-Jitsu League, will also be increased from three to five rounds. The prestigious President’s Cup, meanwhile, will see the inclusion of female athletes for the first time and will be contested over three rounds.
Our plans for the new season, which were unveiled at a briefing with esteemed media recently, also include the implementation of a new individual ranking system and an increase in the season’s total prize fund to AED 5 million.
While athletes will still be competing for their clubs, the individual rankings will give them an added incentive, while the significant increase in prize money is a boost for the sport.
Having successfully organised tournaments and camps in a safe and secure environment, complemented by the understanding and unity of our players, coaches, clubs and technical teams, we are confident that the 2021 season will be a huge success.
With the UAE national team also gearing up for a busy 2021, the coaching staff have been hard at work, monitoring the fitness of our athletes and getting them in shape for a strong showing on the domestic circuit and for their international commitments.
UAE'S TOP JIU-JITSU ATHLETES AND OFFICIALS RECEIVE COVID-19 VACCINE
In line with the progressive approach of the UAE Government to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and protect the health and wellbeing of the country, its residents and visitors, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) has completed a vaccination programme for its employees and members of the UAE national jiu-jitsu team.
The rollout of the programme, titled ‘Vaccination Done’ is the latest initiative by the UAEJJF to help stop the spread of the virus and promoting a safe and healthy return to sport.
‘FITNESS IS DEFINING QUALITY FOR LONGEVITY AND CONTINUED SUCCESS IN JIU-JITSU’
At 35, Mohammad Al Qubaisi is one of the UAE's most experienced jiu-jitsu athletes with an almost two-decade career on the mats and an array of accolades to go with it. So, what has been the key to such a long and illustrious journey and continued powering towards the podium? Fitness, says the jiu-jitsu legend.
“After competing for over two decades, I generally know how to react to any situation on the mat. But to ensure that I employ my experience at crucial moments, it is important that I work on my conditioning and strength. I have to be fit enough to be at my best over the entire bout and through a competition’s length,” says Al Qubaisi.
Al Qubaisi adds a balanced routine incorporating cardio-vascular conditioning and strength training is also vital: "You need to ensure that you are operating at 100 percent all through the minutes that you are on the mat for each bout, especially in intense situations where the heart rate will jump, and a fighter is under pressure. A well-balanced training routine allows you to stay in the game longer and bring your strength into play at crucial moments, often at the end of bouts when point-scoring can be crucial.”
Pro tip: - Focus on exercises that strengthen your grip as key jiu-jitsu techniques hinge on you maintaining a strong hold on your opponent or his Gi.
HEROES OF THE MONTH
Shamsa Ghareeb - Blue belt Shamsa Ghareeb is just 17, but she has already earned a reputation as a feared competitor on the mat in a variety of tournaments during the 2019-2020 season. She won the gold medal at both the Al Ain and Dubai International Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championships in the 70kg category, followed by a further two gold medals at the Jiu-Jitsu Challenge Championship and the Mother of the Nation Championship's third round. Shamsa represents Baniyas Jiu-Jitsu Club and will be a key figure for the club next season.
Mohammed Al Kaabi - Representing Al Ain Jiu-Jitsu Club, 16-year-old Mohammed was one of the finds of last season. He captured the attention by winning gold in the second round of the Vice President's Cup in the 46kg category. He carried his strong form into the Emirates International Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship where he won the silver before bagging another second-placed finish at the Jiu-Jitsu Camp competition and closing out his season with a creditable third place showing in the final round of the Vice President's Cup where he lost just once in five outings.
Saleh Al Thraibi - 21-year-old Saleh is a purple belt who enjoyed a breakout 2019-2020 season, winning the gold medal in the 56kg weight class at the Fujairah and Al Ain International Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship, respectively. But it was in the Vice President's Cup where he really shone. The Al Jazira Jiu-Jitsu Club athlete claimed one gold and two silvers over the three rounds, playing a key role in Al Jazira’s push to claim second place in the Seniors category in the prestigious tournament.
PUTTING THE GI IN JIU-JITSU
The Gi, the most important piece of jiu-jitsu equipment, has a rich history going back more than 100 years. The Gi was created and designed to withstand wear and tear, not just from the opponent grabbing it, but also from the constant friction with the mat due to the pinning and throwing techniques integral to jiu-jitsu.
Earlier versions of the jiu-jitsu Gi were made entirely of cotton, which gave it strength, but also made it quite heavy. Over the years, lighter materials have become popular in GI designs. In today's world, a cotton jacket and pants made from ripstop fabric (a blend of materials) are favoured by most jiu-jitsu practitioners.