Combatives Grappling Championships coming to Garrison Petawawa on June 25

Military News

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2016

Soldiers across Canada are invited to register for the upcoming Garrison Petawawa Combatives Grappling Championships.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is the fastest growing sport in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This event, as well as the sport itself, promotes warrior culture in the CAF in addition to giving soldiers a safe and competitive environment to practice fighting elements.

“There is no truer or greater display of the essence of warrior tradition than hand-to-hand combat,” said Tournament Technical Director Major Steven Burgess. “It’s the foundation of all. In Japan, they have a saying. To master a weapon, one must master oneself.”

Proceeds from registration fees and day-of donations will go to Soldier On. The tournament really highlights the desire for warriors to help other warriors.

“We use it as an expression of warrior culture while helping those that are in their time of greatest need,” said Maj Burgess.

The championships will be held on June 25. This combative tournament was initially created in 2013 and hosted in Petawawa. True to its name, the event focuses on grappling rather than striking.

As the founding member of Evolution BJJ Petawawa and proud supporter of the sport, Maj Burgess is pleased the military tournament has grown in leaps and bounds. In just four years, it has climbed from about 20 participants to hundreds from all over the country. Every single province will be represented during the event.

“I consistently message (soldiers) … that it is a grassroots movement,” said Maj Burgess. “Warrior culture belongs to them. It’s not just me up front talking about it. At the end of the day, it lives and dies with them, with each and every soldier in the military. They decide what their culture is, and whether they value it or not.

“That’s why I’m so proud this movement has caught on,” he added.

According to Burgess, BJJ, most notably the grappling aspect of the sport, is a particularly good martial art for soldiers as it teaches them to refine their own bodies into living weaponry. All units at the garrison have a combative sports team that they can enter into the tournament; these teams can vary from a single soldier to a small group.

As the tournament continues to grow, Maj Burgess hopes to invite the American grappling team to compete in Petawawa, as well as send a National Canadian team across the border.

“It’s growing exponentially every year,” he said.

At the end of the tournament, the best female athlete, the best male athlete as well as the best overall team will win medals, trophies as well as the coveted Samurai sword.

For more information on the Garrison Petawawa Combatives Grappling Championships, please visit