Columbia Falls, MT, April 14, 2018 – SBG Montana Gorilla Cup BJJ Tournament
Straight Blast Gym of Montana held it’s largest Gorilla Cup Tournament in its 8 year history on Saturday, April 14th.
The tribe spirit was energetic and celebratory in the gymnasium of Columbia Falls High School. With locations in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, and Missoula, the tournament drew over 160 competitors in the youth and adult divisions.
Elena Merrill of SBG Missoula shared:
“At the Gorilla Cup it was clear that Head Coaches Bekah Bell and Gus Nolte and the rest of the Montana tribe all truly live the ‘one tribe one vibe’ mantra. As someone who has been training BJJ for less than 6 months, I’m more excited than ever to get on the mats and compete at the next Gorilla Cup!”
The martial arts gym holds the Gorilla Cup twice a year as a fundraiser for the Gorilla Booster Club. The GBC is a nonprofit the gym started to raise money and send competitors to tournaments across the country.
Attendance at the Gorilla Cup has grown so much over the years that the event outgrew their available gym space. With athletes from two new locations participating, SBG recognized an opportunity to take the event to a more sophisticated level.
Head Coach Cody Bessette of SBG Bigfork commented:
“To come together like we did shows how important every member and supporter is. To build a team like we did and have our students put themselves on the mat, showing poise, confidence, and humility, is truly humbling as a coach.”
The gym at Columbia High School made that opportunity possible. It offered ample space for BJJ matches and spectators without dipping too deep into the nonprofit’s funds.
With space for more competitors and spectators, the Gorilla Cup gives competitors the full tournament experience.
In the larger space, SBG was able to create the same procedures for typical martial arts tournaments such as proper attire and conduct that is required of athletes. For new competitors the experience taught them what to expect at larger tournaments.
For Amanda Allen of SBG Bigfork, her first experience in a tournament left her with a positive impression on competition.
“I have complete faith in my coach [Cody Bessette]5 and his ability to lead and ended up overcoming some of my biggest fears that day. We either win or learn and I gained a wealth of knowledge from the experience.”
More importantly, competing in martial arts tournaments instills grit in athletes, a characteristic that is valuable on and off the mats.
In a speech that Head Coach Travis Davison traditionally gives before each tournament, he explained to parents of youth competitors what their children would take away from the experience.
“Competition teaches kids how to becoming grittier human beings. That way as they approach problems in life, they don’t see those as fatal. They realize that it’s just a bump in the road. They pick themselves up and they keep going.”
By experiencing loss and failure in martial arts tournaments, athletes develop skills for dealing with life’s setbacks.
“I hope that through losing on the mat here and realizing when things don’t go their way and they face other choices in life that they’ll pick themselves back up and be gritty and keep moving.”
The event was the result of eight years of hard work and dedication to excellence for Head Coaches Travis and Kisa Davison. The Gorilla Cup is one of several events throughout the year in which the Montana SBG tribe comes together.
Travis Davison shared:
“The result of ten years hard work was on display Saturday. What started as one SBG gym in Montana has swelled to four. All were present at the Gorilla Cup. The toughest part of the day for Kisa and I was holding back tears of pride. I can’t wait to see what the event in October brings.”