On Sunday November 13th, Adam Wardzinski won his first major open class title at the European No-Gi. The CheckMat black belt commented on his performance. “In 2019 I closed out a tough heavyweight bracket with my teammate Philippe Pomaski at Europeans No-Gi and I gave away gold and a title to him. I was happy to do it but also felt unfulfilled, so once IBJJF announced that Europeans No-Gi were coming back to Rome I knew I couldn’t let this title get away from me. Winning an open class gave only additional flavor to that.” Adam took third at heavyweight, but he came back to the open and won four matches, including a victory in the final over Oliver Taza after scoring nine points.
In addition to the European No-Gi title, Adam also won the Europeans in the gi this year in Rome. The Europeans gold medal he won in January was Adam’s first major gi title, one that he felt was coming for a long time. “My first major title was Worlds No-Gi 2019 but Euros 2022 was the first one in a gi. I felt absolutely amazing but after coming up short many times and getting to the finals of previous years Euros and Pans, it felt like something that had to come eventually. That’s why I shrugged when the ref raised my arm, because I knew it would come sooner or later if I just kept working and maintaining my motivation. It was my turn to take that title but don’t get me wrong, I took nothing but great joy in earning it.”
Events like the Europeans have proven year after year that jiu-jitsu is a global sport. High level athletes now come from all over the world, and this trend will continue in the coming years. Adam is of Polish descent, a country in which jiu-jitsu is growing substantially. “From one point of view I represent mostly myself and my team, building my own brand, showcasing daily work we do in CheckMat, and not fighting as a national team with government support. From the other hand it’s nice to make history doing some things as the first Polish BJJ athlete. Its nice to show all the work we are doing here in Poland and its great to know that some people seeing my results are going to say, hey jiu-jitsu in Poland is growing. These guys are doing a good job there too.”
A big part of Adam’s success on the mats has been his butterfly guard, a position he’s used against many of the best competitors in the world both gi and no-gi. “For sure butterfly guard is my thing, something that people know me for. It came to me very early and it was my natural pick against heavy and strong passers that I have been training with since my beginnings. The big advantage of the position is its versatility in both gi and no-gi. To be honest I feel like it saves me a lot of time because I can keep my game similar in both formulas, without the need of developing two different games.”
Coming up next for Adam is the 2022 World No-Gi, which starts on Thursday December 8th and runs through Sunday December 11th. He’ll look to win his second World No-Gi title in a stacked heavyweight division that includes Pedro Rocha, Elder Cruz, Devhonte Johnson, and Vagner Rocha. “Worlds No-Gi or Worlds in general are always stacked with great names. To win this precious title you have to be ready to face the toughest names in the game. The tougher the fights, the greater joy for winning.” We’ll get to see Adam competing in another division as well. “For sure you are going to see me in the open class.”
The 2022 World No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championships start December 8th and run through the 11th. You can catch all the matches live on FloGrappling.