This past Sunday, The Gracie San Diego Academy hosted their first IBJJF Referee Course. The course’s main purpose was to provide black & brown belts with the proper training to become an IBJJF referee. As for a jiu jitsu competitor & enthusiast, the course also offers the knowledge & understanding of IBJJF rules. Bo Francy, better known by the Onthemat (OTM) audience as bjjbo, got the opportunity to attend this much talked about course. For those that are not familiar with him, Bo has been studying the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 2 years and competes on a regular basis. In addition to being a big help for the OTM website and being a fierce competitor, he also runs one of the fastest rising grappling websites, www.everythingbjj.com .
So in an exclusive interview, I got the opportunity to sit down with Bo and get the 411 on what this referee course was all about.
1. So Bo can you give readers a brief description on what the referee clinic was about?
Bo: The overall purpose of the course was to teach those in attendance the proper interpretation of the rules. This course is also a requirement for brown & black belts in order to become an IBJJF referee. It was open to all ranks, but for the lower ranks like me, the primary goal was to understand the rules that are in place at IBJJF tournaments.
2. How was the turn out for the course?
Bo:The turnout was great, members from all over the San Diego jiu jitsu community attended.
3. Was this course for people who wanted to be a referee or for people in general?
Bo:The course was meant for both those wanting to become a ref as well as for the general jiu jitsu competitor and practitioner.
4. For the people in attendance who have no intentions of becoming a referee, how could a regular bjj guy like myself benefit from the course?
Bo:The course benefited everyone who attended whether or not they had intentions of becoming a referee. This course offers the average bjj athlete a more in depth understanding of the sport & a thorough understanding of the rules & scoring procedures.
5. For those that want to become a referee are there any other procedures that they have to go through ?
Bo: Yeah, not only do they have to go through a IBJJF referee course, they’re also required to have an current CPR card. You must also recertify in the course & CPR each year.
6. Were there any famous faces in attendance?
Bo:Yes Andre Galvao, Regis Lebre, and Johnny Faria just to name a few. A lot of high level black belts attended this course.
7. So Bo, what was your reason for attending the seminar?
Bo: I attended this course for many reasons first being, I compete in IBJJF sanctioned events on a regular basis. Secondly, I want to become a referee. Thirdly, I’m a blue belt... at my academy this means I have a responsibility to help the white belts & kids, understand the rules IBJJF has in place.
8. What did you take away (learn) from this seminar?
Bo: Wow, I do not even know where to start, I took so much away but to keep it brief, I would have to say just more in depth and more thorough understanding the IBBJF rules.
9. So it is a possibility we will being seeing you referee at the major tournaments?
Bo: Yeah, it is possible in about 10 years, when I reach brown belt. LOL
10. Lastly will there be any future IBJJF referee clinics?
Bo: For that information you have to check out www.ibjjf.org  for any updates on the next course. Register
11. Finally would you like to give any shout outs before we wrap up?
Bo: Yeah, I want to thank my wife, Izabel, for supporting me through this upcoming jiu jitsu season & with my website all while being pregnant. I’d also like to thank Johnny Faria & Regis Lebre for being great coaches & pushing me to work my hardest & give my best. Lastly, thanks to the whole Gracie SD Team, without each other we wouldn’t be where we are today.
12. Well that wraps things up thanks for your time Bo!