Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team, The Roger Gracie Academy, came home winners from the Brighton BJJ Open 2014 which took place this month. We salute you! We meet team leader Cesar Lima. "This combination of fighters determination and team spirit is a winning combination for us" he says. Read on...
Congratulations to you all. How many are in your team?
We have a relatively small team of 12 Roger Gracie affiliated fighters. Nine of them are from Roger Gracie Gymbox. We have an excellent results rate with all 12 fighters receiving a medal.
Incredible. In the competition, how do the categories work?
There are categories specific to your weight class of which there are nine in total. In addition to this, there’s also the Absolute Division, which is non-weight restricted, meaning anybody can fight in the Absolute.
How many points did you score?
You win points for getting a result in the first three places in each division. We got 119 points, second place got 97 and third place 86.
Impressive. How did you prepare for this Brighton event?
As a team we compete a lot in the UK and internationally, because there’s at least one competition a month somewhere. We didn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary as our team is generally competition ready all year round. We have many competitors in our club - it's the very essence of who we are and this competitive spirit is a defining attribute for us. Our club consists of British, European and World Champions. Training here is tough - we are dedicated athletes so we are always ready!
Do you guys get nervous before a competition?
Not so much nerves - but certainly excitement. Of course there’s a certain amount of anxiety, but this is part and parcel of being competitive athletes competing in the international arena - we get used to it. As experienced fighters, our role is to also support the less experienced by giving them the confidence to compete. Winning or losing, either way we always learn.
Who were your key competitors?
We have many top fighters here at Roger Gracie Gymbox, so naming some of them would do a disservice to those I don’t! I don't want to miss any names, many of them didn't fight this tournament despite regular competitive attendance, but I have to say the 'key' competitor for this one was Igor Terreco. As one of our instructors, he's only 18 years old and weighs 66 kgs. Igor won double Gold, winning both his weight division and absolute class - an impressive achievement for anyone, let alone someone of his weight and age.
What was it about the team that day that got your winning spot? What gave you the edge over the other teams?
I'm really proud of our team, we have a very friendly atmosphere in the club, we help each other a lot and most of guys have been training together for many years, I think that's what make our team special. Winning the day is all about dedication and Igor is a focused fighter who treats his sport very seriously. This combination of fighters determination and team spirit is a winning combination for us.
Can you describe the feeling of competing?
Competing is a personal ambition to prove to yourself your own abilities and limits. You don't have to win to feel good as each of us have quite different goals. For some people, they have to win to feel complete so they will keep fighting until they win. For others, it's enough just to participate in a competition and they will have the same feeling as a winner. What is important is the commitment you make when you decide to compete - you start eating and sleeping better, you make sacrifices in the pleasures you would normally enjoy from food to socialising - you give up doing things that do not benefit your body. These compromises give you the driving ambition to succeed and the rewards you get when stepping on the mat are far beyond anything you will experience. It’s addictive!
Is winning important to you?
Winning is important but it is not everything as losing can give you very powerful lessons. The movie, Rocky, is one of my favourite films of all time. There’s a fantastic quote that I love to draw from: "It ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done."
How do you celebrate after a win?
We usually have to lose some weight before a competition, we can't eat whatever we want in a lead up to a fight, so after a competition and especially those ones we have had a good result in, we go to a 'Brazilian Churrascaria' - restaurants that serve all kinds of meat, and you get to eat as much you want. Now that's the best way to celebrate...
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