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João Gabriel Rocha trains for return at the 2015 Pan after beating cancer

João Gabriel in the guard of Leandro Lo. Photo: Gustavo Aragão / GRACIEMAG
João Gabriel in the guard of Leandro Lo. Photo: Gustavo Aragão / GRACIEMAG

Black belt João Gabriel Rocha took a leave of absence from Jiu-Jitsu for over one year to have the most important battle of his life.

Diagnosed with testicular cancer, the young man had to go through surgery, treatment and recovery, but now he seems to be ready for action again.

GRACIEMAG’s reporter Vitor Freitas caught up with Rocha in Brazil and got some great news from the talented competitor.

He should be back really soon: “I wish I could enjoy carnival, but I’m training hard for the 2015 Pan. I’m back to my old routine of two sessions a day, plus the physical conditioning. Only my family and myself know what we’ve been through. Now, all I want is to fight with joy and things will fall into place naturally. My biggest battle is done, now I want to enjoy myself.”

During his break, João took the time to watch what the other black belts were doing on the mats.

“That was one of the only good sides of being away. I was able to watch future opponents. I was always studying everybody. Nevertheless, I have to do my part and train hard. I’m focused on my game and not caring about what others are doing.”

The 2015 Pan is scheduled March 11-15, in Irvine, California, and you can register until March 2.

Click here to register now!

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