“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018. The World Master Championship has finally begun. I had to leave the very comfy bed at the Venetian (part 2) for a more convenient and budget-friendlier hotel nearer to the championship venue. The Westgate. From Venetian, I took the Monorail from Harrah’s and bought a one day pass which cost $13. It was nice to see the view of the strip on the rail and it only took a few minutes to arrive at Westgate.
Once I got there, the first thing I noticed was the amount of Jiu-Jitsu people at the hotel reception. Jiu-Jitsu branded everything! Hats, t-shirt, bags, shorts etc, and they were all talking about training and the competition (I was listening yes). So, unfortunately, I arrived too early. The check-in time is 3pm, and if you want an early one, it will cost you $25. Luckily they have a bag drop off area where they can keep your luggage for free. After sorting that out, I went straight to the Convention Centre next door to check out the venue. There is a shortcut from inside the hotel which you can take to get there in 5-10 minutes. Really convenient.
What a massive venue! The whole event is called Evexia Fit Fest. It’s a 4-day event which hosts BJJ championships (5 in total), seminars (also 5), bikini & physique contest and had 30 exhibitors selling products from BJJ apparel, CBD oils, wellness aid and much more. Oh my goodness, the Gi stands… if only I could buy them all… I would. But alas, reality sucks, I was on a budget!
The first thing I always do whenever I go to an IBJJF competition is to get the free goodies! I’ve entered 2 competitions in Las Vegas so I got 2 bags. What you get is a t-shirt and a cardholder inside an IBJJF branded drawstring bag. Until now, I don’t understand why IBJJF don’t have an XS size for their free t-shirt? What about us Rooster weights?
At this point, I was still watching my weight so I couldn’t buy much food yet. But what was there in terms of food? There were 4 food stands, selling hot and cold variation and drinks, one of them was an Acai stand. Water, coffee and tea were all I drank when I was there prior to the competition, the prices vary depends on where you buy them from. For example, in the venue, a bottle of water would cost $3, same when you buy on the streets in the Strip. In the hotel, they are $6, and in Downtown Vegas, you can get one for 99 cents.
A little mention:
Today was also a birthday celebration of a CFS BJJ Black Belt & Coach, a good friend to myself and our team at Fighting Fit Manchester (where I train) and just a generally cool guy who came here with his family, but still made time to coach and look after me during my stay here. I was also mind blown by how many people he knows in BJJ ha! So here he is, Mr Steve Payne.
After the little tour we did of the venue, we went to visit Sergio Penha’s gym. Steve has arranged for us to go down and train there for a bit, so we took a Lyft taxi again (easiest way to get around). It is 3.2 miles from the venue to the gym, around 8 minutes drive and cost us $9.41. The gym itself is nice, good space, nice mats, and everyone were so friendly… like, they came over to me, shook my hand, introduced themselves and made small talks. My goodness, I need to follow this example more. I got to watch some of the higher belts roll and in the end rolled with a super cool purple belt.
After the gym visit, it was time to head back to the hotel and get me checked in. How much did the Westgate cost? 5 nights + resort fees + taxes > £140.67 + £149.99 = £290.66. They will also charge a $100 refundable deposit when you check in. I took a quick video of what the room looks like below, literally lots of motion going on ha… well, I was suffering from jet lag :p