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Who Brought The Biggest Army? Most Represented Countries At The Euros

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John Danaher Instructionals

As we get closer to the first major event of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) 2020 season, the European Open, we have plenty of interesting information to analyze and debate.

This European Jiu-Jitsu Championship has brought 4937 athletes to Lisbon, Portugal. Men and women who will be competing at the Pavilhão Municipal de Odivelas (Lisbon), in an event that will be span across a whole week of matches split into over 400 categories.

In this particular segment, we bring today, we will be looking at what we call the pro-divisions: the adult brown and black belts. In these particular categories many of the competitors — dare we say the majority of competitors — will be full-time athletes, a fact that brings an added level of difficulty to the mats. This fact is also a decent barometer to check on how the sport has been developing across the globe, given that this European tournament brings out one of the largest ranges of country representation of any IBJJF event.



– Total Number of Countries Represented: 43

– Total Athletes Registered: 433 (364 male / 79 female)


Black Belt Male – 120
Black Belt Female – 33
Brown Belt Male – 244
Brown Belt Female – 46

NOTE: Please keep in mind these are the nationalities most found on the signed competitors’ sheets and not the country where these athletes train.

Overall Numbers:

– Brazil 187 athletes
– USA 48 athletes
– Poland 21 athletes
– England 20 athletes
– France 18 athletes

As expected, Brazil and the United States rule the numbers of players in one of the sport’s biggest stages. One big difference between these two countries is the origin of these athletes when it comes to their day-to-day training, given that the majority of American competitors train in the United States while the Brazilian army is much more dispersed throughout Brazil, Europe, Japan and particularly the USA.

From the data gathered for this assessment, it seems as though the European pros do tend to train in their home countries for the most part. This seems to point to a more amateur approach by the Europeans when it comes to their development as competitors, by opting to remain in the smaller local tournament circuit and, by and large, not seeking the more professional environments of the United States and Brazil. This could also signify that BJJ competition is not yet seen as a “career option” by a majority of the leading grapplers on the EU circuit.


Although nothing changes at the top 1 and 2 spots in both genders, there are a few interesting shifts between the countries represented by male and female athletes.

Male Brown & Black Belts Top 5
– Brazil 162 athletes
– USA 32 athletes
– England 17 athletes
– Poland 16 athletes
– Sweden 14 athletes

Female Brown & Black Belts Top 5
– Brazil 25 athletes
– USA 16 athletes
– Poland 5 athletes
– Canada 5 athletes
– England 3 athletes
– Finland 3 athletes
– France 3 athletes
– Sweden 2 athletes
– Germany 2 athletes

Outside of the US and Brazil, the United Kingdom seems to be shaping up to be the sport’s 3rd most important grappling circuit with tournaments every weekend and well-produced professional platforms in both Polaris and GrappleFest. Much of these efforts, however, have been pushing towards no-gi and submission only. As a result, this incredible structure has not (yet) set the UK apart from the other strong European countries in terms of numbers and talent at the pro-level with the gi. More on these individual countries soon.

5050 Guard Instructional by Lachlan Giles

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