Bernardo: “The secret is to not despair”

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Bernardo Faria hangs onto his first world championship gold medal tooth and nail, in a photo by Regis Chen

Can the act of tying a belt influence whether one conquers a world title?

According to Bernardo Augusto Rocha Faria, it can. Even in such an heroic victory as his over two-time absolute champion Xande Ribeiro, in the heavyweight final.

The young champion tells it himself:

“I feel the crucial moment came when the match was stopped. I went to tie my belt, draw in some oxygen and I felt like the match was starting at that moment. I was completely refreshed. Congrats to my coach and first teacher Ricardo Marques,” says Bernardo, who went to his family’s home in Juiz de Fora to take three week’s rest. “I haven’t had a break in two years. I canceled all the seminars scheduled here in the USA; I need to rest my body.”

The Fabio Gurgel athlete experienced some moments of euphoria, like the match against Xande:

“The folks from Gracie Humaitá are getting harder and harder to sweep, I’ll tell you… It was too tough against Lovato, then Xande in the final. He really has won a lot, is someone I admire a great deal, but I entered the match reminding myself that everyone is human; I went into the match as though I were going to face a normal opponent,” he explains after dethroning the four-time champion.

On the sweep, he elaborates:

“The sweep only came after seven minutes, but I was confident the opportunity would come; and when it came I embraced it. The secret is to not despair; that’s when you abandon your strategy and, even worse, you tire and lose.”

Bernardo played a part in one of the most powerful moments of the World Championship, when he broke into tears after tapping out to a triangle from Rômulo Barral.

“I’m a fan of his, but I wanted to win, right? I’d already beaten Ceconi, who beat me at the Brazilian Nationals, and I’d already gotten a sweep on Barral… But he got me with a clean shot,” he admits.

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