Sports

Vernon grapplers head to Pan Ams

A pair of Vernon products will grapple with some of the best Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners on the planet at the Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championships this weekend in Irvine, Calif.

John (Danger) Davies and Garrett Herzig, both members of Gracie Barra Vernon, and Jorden Reichenbach, of Gracie Barra Kelowna, will be competing in the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation event.

For Herzig, the competition will be a chance for redemption. The two-stripe blue belt was bested in the first round last year at the Pans which he entered shortly after receiving his blue belt, and was submitted by a more experienced grappler. With another year of experience under his belt, he is looking forward to testing his skills.

Herzig, who also has a black belt in karate and has trained in mixed martial arts, is excited about the upcoming tourney.

“Just to be part of it will be amazing,” said Herzig. “I work all through the summer so I try to get in as many tournaments as I can during the winter and this is one of the biggest. You get to watch the black belts compete. You get to rub shoulders with some of the best in the world.”

Mario Deveault, Gracie Barra Vernon head instructor, said the Pans are getting bigger every year which is a testament to the growing popularity of the grappling art.

“People say MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world, but without Brazilian jiu jitsu there is no MMA. It is a must have,” said Deveault.

Regarding Herzig and Davies, he added: “Garrett and John have the drive to compete. They have the drive to win.”

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