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The AVA Cup: A Testament to Teamwork and Artistry in the BJJ Community

April 15, 2023 AVA

The first-of-its-kind AVA Season Cup, representing triumph in pure grappling and symbolizing the journey of champions.

AVA Team Creates the Concept, Sami Ghali and Jessica Smith Construct the AVA Cup for BJJ Team Season Winners

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) community welcomes the AVA Cup, a 3.5 feet tall trophy designed to honor the hard work and dedication of team season winners. Taking inspiration from the iconic Stanley Cup, the AVA Cup is a product of the creative vision of the AVA Team, brought to life by the skilled hands of artisans Sami Ghali, a blacksmith and metal fabricator, and Jessica Smith, a digital sculptor.

Sami Ghali, originally from Bizerte, Tunisia, developed a passion for blacksmithing early in life, inspired by his love for mechanical devices and the likes of Bruce Lee and MacGyver. After refining his skills and training numerous technicians, Ghali relocated to Canada, where he founded ACIER Special Effects Inc. He would later meet Jessica Smith, an accomplished digital sculptor and owner of Sunroom Relic Incorporated, and join the AVA Team in their mission to create the AVA Cup.

Jessica Smith has earned recognition in the entertainment industry, thanks to her extensive experience in digital sculpting. She has worked on projects such as Netflix’s Night Agent and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, showcasing her expertise and innovative approach to prop building.

In constructing the trophy based on the AVA Team’s concept, Ghali and Smith combined their unique skills to create the award. The base of the AVA Cup is a meticulously crafted octagonal structure made of hard-rolled metal. Ghali’s attention to detail is evident in each precisely cut piece, joined together using TIG welding and then bolted and welded to form the sturdy and visually appealing base.

The arms and hands of the trophy showcase Smith’s expertise in digital sculpting and pay homage to the spirit of BJJ fighters. She used a tablet and Zbrush to create a digital model of the iconic gnarly taped-up hands of a BJJ fighter based on reference images provided by the AVA Team. The digital model was then printed on a Prusa Mk3 printer and finished with wet sanding, priming, and a two-part resin with dense foam for durability.

The AVA Cup represents not only the fusion of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology but also the spirit of collaboration and dedication that drives the BJJ community. Featuring the iconic gnarly taped-up hands of a BJJ fighter, the trophy embodies the perseverance and passion inherent to the sport. As the AVA Cup, a brainchild of the AVA Team, prepares to honor deserving BJJ team season winners, the entire BJJ community can take pride in the artistry and teamwork behind this remarkable trophy.