Reflections on 2019 – the internationalization of grappling – makes a statement: One of the great themes to emerge from the recent in Anaheim California was the terrific of developing grappling countries. For most of its history the podiums of the has been dominated by a single nation – Brazil. In time some great individuals emerged who won titles – mostly from the United States. This year two outstanding Australian athletes won medals and really impressed everyone with a very high submission rate over 75%! Craig Jones won silver in his weight category – the highest ever won by his nation. Lachlan Giles won bronze in the absolute division – a fantastic achievement for a 77kg grappler (I’m not sure but I think the only other person from 77kg to medal in absolute was Marcelo Garcia – perhaps some of my readers can confirm/deny this). Craig Jones won every match via submission on his way to the final, showing great variation with three different submissions over three different parts of the body to reflect his rapidly growing versatility. Lachlan Giles hit three superb heel hook finishes on three MUCH bigger and stronger world champion opponents and brilliantly showcased the great ideal of Jiu Jitsu of lesser strength controlling and defeating greater strength. The work of these two young Australians is a clear statement – Jiu Jitsu belongs to the world. The future will see a growing internationalization that I think will be immensely helpful for its growth and development. If is to strengthen its role as the Olympics of grappling it must, as the Olympics does, reflect the work of the whole world. It was a wonderful thing to see Australia, a nation that has always punched far above its weight in sports representation, take the lead through these two brilliant athletes. Well done Craig and Lachlan and well done to the Australian grappling community who helped launch these two to the top of the grappling world. I am certain other developing grappling nations will follow this example and will soon see a truly international flavor to in future years.

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