BJJ / Grappling in Russia Needs You: Elena “Kimatsu” needs your support!

BJJ in Russia is growing. It's important to remember that Russia has a strong tradition in grappling arts and combat sports. They have always had strong Judo, wrestling and Muay Thai teams and even have their own martial art: Sambo.

Elena introduces herself in the letter below, which I urge you to read and share on Facebook and Twitter...etc. What the intro below doesn't share is her passion for the grappling sports. She's an accomplished judoka (black belt) and sambo-practitioner (champion competitor) and recently added 2 gold medals at the World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Moscow Trials, earning the right to participate in AbuDabi Pro World Championships Jiu-Jitsu in 2012 April 12-14.

Once again, "Passion" is a word that comes to mind. So when I heard about Elena letter from Kiril, the man behind the Brutal TShirt brand, I felt obliged to engage and try to help.

I am waiting for Elena to come back (hopefully victorious) from Abu Dhabi so I can see how we can best help her cause. In the meantime, here is her letter.

Hi everyone,

My name is Elena Zenkevich aka Kimatsu.

I’m a BJJ blue belt training and competing for Alliance BJJ Russia Team (75+ kg open weight division according to FILA regulations). I’m also an instructor of Vologda Alliance BJJ Team and have around 16 students, including 5 girls.

Today I would like to share with you some of my thoughts regarding the future and perspectives of Russian grappling, currently under FILA regulations.

It’s not a secret that the number of national-level BJJ & Grappling tournaments here in Russia is not that big. And for this particular reason it’s very important, and interesting, for every competing athlete to always take part in such events, whenever they are held.

The latest news about Russian FILA Grappling Championship (Gi & No-Gi) that will be held on March 31st – April 1st 2012 has aroused the interest of both me and my students.

Therefore, we got in touch, in advance, with Russian FILA Grappling Federation in order to obtain more specific information about the application and taking part in the competition in general.

I was VERY SURPRISED to find out that we can’t participate in this event simply because the Federation has limited women’s weight divisions at 58kg No-Gi and 64kg Gi. All the other heavier categories existing under the International FILA Grappling Regulations have been excluded by default.

What exactly is the reason for such discrimination?

Maybe there is no interest in regards to heavy divisions AT ALL? No, it’s not this. Men compete there in all possible weights. Is there a lack of women athletes competing in these weight divisions? No, neither this. We DO EXIST, but Russian FILA Grappling Federation is not interested in us for some reason.

Or is there a lack of heavyweight women-grapplers mainly in Russian FILA Federation?

This is probably the only logical reason I see.

In other words, does Russian FILA Federation hold a national-level championship for their own athletes and in their own interests ONLY? Are they interested in their own sportsmen getting all the titles and medals? So what is the difference, after all, between small local tournaments and national-level ones if strangers aren’t allowed to compete, just so they don’t spoil the picture…?

It’s a pity that all this is happening, but worse is the fact that it can become a common practice here in Russia. If it does, then what kind of sport development and fair play at a national level can we speak of?

I would really like to know if this is a common practice only here in Russia or does this often happen in other countries too? For me, this brings more questions than answers…

Best Regards,

Elena Zenkevich aka Kimatsu:

BJJ 35, Vologda Alliance BJJ Team, Russia


Please share this letter with your friends and all those interested in this sport. We would highly appreciate if you could help bring awareness of the whole international BJJ and Grappling community on this issue. Thanks!


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm from Australia and to my knowledge I have never encountered a competition that doesn't include heavyweight women's divisions. I am the same as you 75kg+ and would be hugely annoyed if I was barred from a competition because my division didn't exist. Generally there are usually only one or 2 of us in that weight division and they still don't cancel it. If there aren't enough (commonly in no-gi) there is still the open weight. If anything we are continually told to "recruit" more women. They aren't worried about our division, they just want more to compete. It's a shame it isn't the same in Russia. Good on you for speaking up and questioning this practice. BJJ is for everyone, regards of sex, age or size and the competitions need to reflect this!