Find out about Roberto Satoshi, making waves in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

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Photo: Kinya Hashimoto

A world champion at blue, purple and brown belt, Roberto Satoshi, now living in Japan, is still fulfilling his dreams in Jiu-Jitsu. This season the brown belt added the Asian Open absolute title to his collection and then went on to finish off three black belt in the Deep GP. In a conversation with, Satoshi talks a bit about his story and analyzes how the gentle art is doing in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Tell us about your participation in the Deep GP…

Thank God my participation at Deep was perfect. I managed to finish all three of my matches in under two minutes. Everything went just right because I’d been training hard for the Asian Open and so just had to keep up the rhythm.

Tell us about your family history in Jiu-Jitsu. Why’d you take off for Japan?

My family started in Jiu-Jitsu because of my father (Adilson Antonio de Souza), who is our teacher. There are five of us siblings: Mauricio “Dai” Souza, Marcos Yoshio de Souza, and Cristiane Yukari de Souza, all black belts; me at brown belt; and the youngest, Murilo, who is a yellow belt. Only my mom doesn’t fight. She’s a police officer, so if we can’t handle something with Jiu-Jitsu, we call her (laughs)!

In Brazil, we have a really great team, but we like to compete a lot and these days most of the championships are outside Brazil. Sometimes it’s hard to compete at championships abroad due to lack of sponsorship. After I won the Worlds, in 2006, I went two years without being able to compete at the event, for it having been moved to the USA. There were no sponsors to help out. These days, thank God, I’m in Japan and able to make a living teaching class. With the help of Bull Terrier and Dragão, I managed to make it to the Worlds in 2009 and 2010, and won.

What’s your take on Jiu-Jitsu in Japan at present? Do you feel the country is progressing a lot and that Japanese fighters will be harder to beat at black belt in the near future?

Here in Japan there are a lot of good, skillful guys at blue, purple, and brown belt. But not everyone manages to compete abroad. I feel that within two years we’ll have a great Japanese revelation at black belt. These days, Japanese fighters are already making a lot of waves at the Worlds and Pan, catching a lot of good guys off guard.

On Asian Open winners' stand

What are your goals in Jiu-Jitsu? Do you plan to compete outside Japan?

My goal right now is the Pan and European. Those are two championships I’ve never been to. I’m always competing around here to not lose competition rhythm and I always do the Worlds and Abu Dhabi Pro. Next year I’ll try and do more competitions besides the Pan and European.

What are your hopes for the future? Do you plan to do MMA?

I want to carry on teaching class and being recognized for the work I do, to be remembered as a good fighters. I’ve received several offers to do MMA here in Japan. Who knows? Maybe down the road I’ll do it. For now, my dream is to win the worlds at black belt. I managed it at blue, purple, and brown. But that’s my dream now at black; that’s all I think about. I’m 100% Jiu-Jitsu (laughs)!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I want to thank everyone who’s helped me, provided me incentive, and sent me messages wishing me good luck. You can be sure I’m really happy about it. You are the best and greatest motivators. Thanks a lot, gang. Best wishes!

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