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Westside Kickboxing & BJJ

Peter Ruiz

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Ring Coordinator
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October 21st, 2005, Hoboken, New Jersey: The Good and the Bad.

The Good:
It has been a legitimate 10 years since the NAGA began holding large scale grappling tournaments across America. We were honored to have 127 Teams from across the GLOBE make the journey to Hoboken, New Jersey, they came to compete in the NAGA's North American Grappling Championship (NAGC) 10th year anniversary tournament.

The NAGC had 1209 grapplers compete in a single day event which is quite extraordinary. The NAGC featured 160 Gi & No-Gi Grappling Divisions and 57 Championship Belts. The event drew competitors ranging from 4 years old to 57 years young. What made this event unique was the fact that the NAGA staff ran 12 rings all at once, throughout the entire day. The coordination and efforts put forth by the entire NAGA staff saw the entire event end by 8:30 PM.

The success of the NAGA is 100% due to its dedicated staff. 1000+ competitors fighting in a single day and in multiple gi and no-gi divisions literally creates several thousand matches. With all the fighters, matches and multiple divisions to compete in, it was almost unbelievable that the event started at noon and ended by 8:30 PM that evening. Like many competitors, our staff comes from distant states; Ray Blackburn makes the trip every year from Ohio and Chris & Kim Dranka from Illinois to name a couple. The NAGA employed over 80 people to work the NAGC and the success of the event was based on their commitment and hard work. Thank you!

The Bad:
With the 1000's that attended & competed that day, it was obvious that the venue we acquired was too small. September, October & November are extremely hard times to find a venue in the New York and Northern New Jersey area. For a smaller event, with a few hundred competitors, this gym would have sufficed nicely. When you have over 3,000 people show up before 12 noon, even some college gyms become too small to handle the crowd. The police officers hired were great as they controlled the flow of people in and out of the venue helping to make inside the venue as comfortable as possible.

NAGA realizes the popularity of the NAGC tournament and is looking for a new, larger venue to hold 2006's NAGC. Our 1st Fire Alarm was pulled by a 2 year old girl. Fortunately the Hoboken police were there when it happened and did not request anyone to leave the building. The alarm was quickly turned off and the event went on uninterrupted.

As always it would be impossible for me to name everyone who made this event a huge success. We wanted to thank our friends and family who worked the weekend, all the fighters and coaches who came to compete, and finally the friends and family of the fighters who sat in the bleachers and cheered throughout the day. The sport is growing at a phenomenal rate and it's success is because of the dedication each and everyone of you bring to it!

Check out full coverage of the NAGC in an upcoming issue of "GRAPPLING MAGAZINE"!


GREGOR GRACIE (Renzo Gracie) a BJJ Brown Belt defeated MIKE FOWLER (Lloyd Irvin) BJJ Black Belt by Kimura. Gracie was supposed to fight Daniel Valverde, however due to travel logistics Valverde was unable to make the event. On short notice Lloyd Irvin gave the NAGA Superfight one of his top competitors, BJJ phenom Mike Fowler. Congratulations to Gregor on an impressive win, and thank you to Lloyd and Mike for stepping up last minute to give the fans in attendance a great show.