photo by: Can Sinawat

I'm very thankful to report that downtown Bangkok (Sukhumvit) is still dry and free of flood. That is not to say the water will not come but for now, we continue to be safe. Unfortunately it comes at the expense of those living and working in areas that were not saved or in areas subject to yearly floods. Flooding is nothing new for Thailand and is an annual problem we face during the rainy seasons. This year the rainfall did not exceed normal levels but the excessive flooding is a product of mismanagement on the part of the government. My biggest concern is whether aid gets properly distributed to those in need. In the past, there have been many cases of fraud, hording and embezzlement, cutting short relief for those truly in need. As waters remain in densely populated areas, the risk of exposure to sewage and other chemicals becomes greater. I believe there is a great deal of goodwill being given both locally and internationally and this spirit must continue from the source to the recipient. Please continue to show your support where you can. Everyone's words of concern are much appreciated.

on to the tournament...
It's now been a week since the Thailand Open and I'm sure most of us have had some time to reflect on the event. Every year presents a number of improvements from the previous year along with ongoing problems that any event will face. The members of the BJJAT have responsibilities of varying degrees to produce this event, now 4 years running. Some with more responsibilities than others but at the end of the day, we share equally the praise and criticism. If that's not the case, then the association is not functioning on the principles it was built on.

So while I can't speak for the entire association, I'd like to share some thoughts as an individual member. On the whole, I believe the tournament to be a successful one. We were able to improve on the management of each mat, running more efficiently than last year and in less time with the greater number of competitors. Despite the risk of flooding and increased number of tournaments in surrounding areas, we had a record turnout of competitors for both the gi and no-gi days. We also welcomed new teams that had not competed in previous years which was a sign of the growing scene throughout Southeast Asia. Injuries were at a minimum and the action was exciting throughout. 

But at every tournament we will have our problems. With an event that is nearly 100% volunteer basis, it requires the commitment of a team of people giving up their time. For some this may equate to months and hours of additional work outside of their daily job and for others a long weekend. Either way, without this support we risk not being able to run a proper tournament. On the weekend itself, the volunteers constitute referees, time-keepers, score-keepers, runners, bracket managers, registration team, food-beverage, medical, delivery & construction, floor manager, referee manager and mc. 

So with that said, I'd like to ask the community and individuals with grievances to pay respect to the investment these volunteers have made to make this event possible. I welcome constructive criticism provided it remains constructive. It would help to know the specific people involved so that everyone can be brought together to have an open and transparent discussion. I believe in this way, we can properly address the issues without risking insult and always with the bettering of our events for the following year in mind. In no way am I saying your complaints and frustration are not warranted but let's deal with them in the most constructive way possible. I cannot speak for every incident but since this blog is one of the more visible platforms for people's opinions, I'd like to keep things positive. Our community is still at the scale where we are dealing with each other on a one-to-one basis and issues can often be resolved without having to resort to slander. 

I'd like to thank everyone that came through this year to compete and with the intentions of fighting hard, having a good time and sharing their passion for BJJ/Grappling. 

Please direct your comments both negative and positive to thailandbjj@gmail.com.

Thank you,