2017 IBJJF Europeans - Travelers Guide

Published on by Nico Ball


The 2017 IBJJF Europeans are just a couple of weeks away and athletes all over the world are either finalizing travel arrangements or lamenting the fact that they will be missing out on one of the best tournaments of the year. Competing on a budget isn’t as hard as it may seem, there are plenty of tips and tricks that broke jiu-jiteiros have been employing for years to finance all of their competition dreams. With a little creativity and a lot of flexibility to can make traveling and competing in exotic new places one of your goals for 2017.

Flight and Accommodations
You can use websites like Kayak, Skyscanner, or Travelocity to find the best deals with the cheapest airlines. Make sure to check the companies own website for lower fares and look over the reviews before purchasing a ticket on one of these sites. Apps like Hopper are also helpful for tracking price fluctuations in airfares.

Hotels are slowly becoming obsolete. Most people use Airbnb to find cheap accommodations close to the venue. If you're worried about footing the cost of a room by yourself, just remember, somebody somewhere is looking for a roommate as well. If you don’t have any of your own travels buddies, a quick search through your online BJJ network is sure to produce a suitable candidate somewhere in the BJJ world.

Getting Around
The venue is about a 30-minute walk from the metro station. If you choose to join the legions of cauliflower-eared foreigners who opt to walk, you should be wary of drug peddling gypsies and custard filled delicacies (pasteis de nata) that may distract you from your mission of becoming the 2017 European champion. You can avoid these distractions by taking an Uber or a Taxi, however, be careful not to get gringo’d, or overcharged, be forewarned that some taxis have minimal driving skills but use maximum speed.

Metro Station in Lisbon

Make sure to get there on time and on weight because IBJJF runs like clockwork, and their scales are unforgiving. Be advised, you WILL NOT get any extra time to run to the bathroom and lose the last few grams you need to make weight.

Speaking of the bathroom, it’s highly recommended you bring your own toilet paper to the venue. If you should feel so inclined, you can pick up your own custom roll from Renova at the Sexiest WC on Earth located on the picturesque Tagus River. Renova’s modern designs “challenge the conventional notion of what a public restroom should be”, which will probably be a delightful contrast to the inherently challenging task of finding a clean bathroom at a jiu-jitsu tournament and a great way to relax and enjoy a post-competition afternoon.

Renova at the Sexiest WC

The arena should have WiFi, so you should be able to fulfill all of your social media needs. If you don’t already use WhatsApp to talk to all of your friends in the international BJJ community, now is probably a good time to download it. Outside of the U.S., the messenger app is commonly used to send texts, voice messages, and videos.

Sight Seeing
Once your weight cut is over, head down to Mercado Ribeira to get down on some of the best grub that Lisbon has to offer, which includes Barriga de Porco, or pork belly paired with a side of mashed peas prepared by Portugals top chief star, Alexandre Silva. Then you can metro over to Barrio Alto to enjoy the Portuguese nightlife.

Barriga de Porco

If you can get a free day, you can check out the Castelo de Sao Jorge or some of the other churches, castles, and museums in Alfama, the historic district. For just five Euros and forty minutes you can head to Sintra to check out the Quinta da Regalaria, the Palace of Mystery.

Competing isn’t just about winning; it’s about the experience. So whether it’s at Europeans in Portugal, or a small tournament in your hometown don’t forget to have a good time and make the most of the experience. Aside from the competition, Europeans is a great opportunity to meet new people, try new foods, and explore new places with people from the jiu-jitsu community.