Sport Jujitsu World Championships 2023
by Austin Stahl
I recently had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After making a good impression on some of the other Danzan Ryu Jujitsu organizations during Ohana 2022, I was offered an invitation to represent the United States in England for the Sport Jujitsu World Championships. For those unfamiliar with Sport Jujitsu, it’s an exciting contest comprising Kickboxing, Judo, Wrestling and Jujitsu all in one. I personally love this style because it allows for so many ways of winning. Whether you’re a striker, a clinch fighter, or a grappler you’ve got options to seek victory with your own personal method of technical expression.
This tournament took place over the span of 3 days, and truly proved to be a war of attrition. Being a talented martial artist wasn’t enough. You also needed to be durable, and lucky. Naturally, with such a competitive environment, unfortunate instances resulted in forfeiture due to injuries. Others retired due to exhaustion, and still others simply grit their teeth and fought through the pain for their own personal reasons. For better or worse, I fell into this third category. Luckily, when all was said and done the American team managed to last until the end.
This brings me to the purpose of this written piece: to honor the incredible team chosen to represent our great country. We had the strongest team imaginable, both mentally and physically. The men and women on the team came from a variety of backgrounds: DZR Jujitsu, Judo, BJJ, Wrestling, MMA, Muay Thai, TKD, and more. We contested with an even wider variety of opponents. Despite all the different backgrounds, it was inspiring to see how everyone came together to support each other. I’d never previously been a part of a team that worked so hard to coach each other, heal each other, and motivate each other. Everyone present witnessed poetry on the mat. Each had their strengths and they all shone brightly. Our team went home with our heads held high, with new friendships likely to last a lifetime.
They say it’s the journey that matters…not the destination and I agree. But just in case you’re wondering, I brought home the gold for my weight class, and the American team took home gold in the overall team division. Quite an impressive group of martial artists worth celebrating!
Thank you to everyone that brought together this great team, and to everyone that came together to be a family at the perfect time. Bless this great country and those in it.