In a recent interview Kid Peligro did with ADCC president Marko Leisten (click here to read the entire interview), Marko announced the partnership with Kipp Kollar, president of NAGA. With the ADCC format of tournament becoming very popular worldwide, it has not gained the attention they would like here in North America. The dominant force in grappling organizations here in the western hemisphere is certainly the IBJJF, followed by Grapplers Quest and then NAGA. Most organizations are adopting the IBJJF's rule set in an effort to unify rules, match durations, etc.
While there is nothing wrong with this format per se, the ADCC rule set and format differ drastically with fewer weight classes, longer matches where the first 10 minutes no points count, no gi's allowed, and more liberal submission allowances ( including heel hooks and neck cranks). Overall you can see a much different strategy must be employed for ADCC format tournaments, and up until this announcement the ADCC qualifiers and events were poorly organized, and sparsely promoted (here is my review of the 09 regional ADCC tournament).
According to Leisten NAGA will be adding ADCC divisions to their multitude of tournaments throughout N. America (was not clear if NAGA was going to add these divisions to their international tournaments). This is great news for all grapplers looking to get the experience of ADCC format fighting, as well as a great opportunity for grapplers to qualify for the "big show" every two years (held in a new location each time)!
My one concern with this announcement is the general lack of NAGA (as well as IBJJF and Grapplers Quest) events in the Pacific Northwest! NAGA is super huge on the east coast and in the south, but the furthest west they come is Vegas. Skipping right over the entire west coast to Hawaii! Same goes for Grapplers Quest, who again come as far west as Vegas, but offer nothing else for the west or northwest folk. It is understandable (and a wise business decision) to avoid the IBJJF infested waters of California as they have a huge tournament monthly. But the lack of major tournaments up here in the PAC NW (to include our brethren in western Canada, which again is poorly supported by grappling organizations) is frustrating especially given how big the sport of grappling has become in cities like Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver!
Both Grapplers Quest and NAGA have made murmurings about coming up here, but that talk quickly faded to whispers. I know here in Washington state we have had legislature on initiative's to try and make grappling and grappling events on par with MMA where promoters would have to pay exuberant fee's and insurance riders just to hold the event. I also know promoters have had a hard time finding someplace that is both big enough, and affordable. Seems that the city of Seattle likes to price folks out of house and home just to rent some space! Like many things here it seems this city is not very inviting to new grappling organizations, which is a shame as events like Grapplers Quest and NAGA would bring revenue to the area and put the PAC NW on the map of serious competitors!
I hope to see some events from NAGA, GQ, and/or the IBJJF here in the Northwest sometime in 2012. I think we are due. Until then keep your eyes peeled for the new ADCC divisions in NAGA tournaments nation wide. NAGA runs a great show, go support them!