Maori warriors fight Brazilian style

Inaugural national competition

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 04/08/2014
Maori Jiu Jitsu National
CHARLOTTE CURD/ Fairfax NZ
TACTICAL FIGHT: Anaru Te Whanoa Grant keeps on top of Southern Tribes’ Derrin Puata during the inaugural Maori Jiu Jitsu National on the weekend. 

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fever gripped New Plymouth on Saturday as dozens of Maori fighters from around the North Island came together for their inaugural competition.

Whether it was a slow, tactical bout or a brutal joint-locking round, about 200 spectators were treated to combat like no other.

It is a highly technical sport that rewards those who maintain leverage, stamina and focus and punishes those who falter.

And while many entered to claim a top spot, others like Derrin Puata were more interested in supporting the fledgling event.

The former world Jiu Jitsu champion said a lot of water had travelled under the bridge since he last lined up against an opponent.

"I came back because it's the first Maori nationals and I want to support the event. For me it's about showing up and being counted."

Event organiser Pina Simpson said he could not have hoped for a better day.

"There were some outstanding fights and everyone was respecting each other."

Simpson said the sport favoured technique over brute strength.

"It's about leverage, so it doesn't matter how small you are, if you get the right leverage you can beat the big guy."

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