What Bernardo Faria learned by tapping to Lovato

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Bernardo (left) on train to Warsaw, Poland / Photos: personal archive

Heavyweight world champion Bernardo Faria has been having a busy – and instructive – time in Europe.

First, he won the IBJJF European Open in Lisbon. Then he… Well, let him tell it:

“After the European Open in Portugal, I went to Berlin to spend ten days teaching seminars at Alliance Berlin, of Professor Ulf, a Fabio (Gurgel) black belt. Once the seminar was over I went to Warsaw for the World Pro tryouts in Poland. There, I won my first two matches and qualified for the divisional final, which was supposed to have been at 4 pm against (Rafael) Lovato.”

It’s worth noting that Faria and Lovato had already met in the absolute final at the last Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Or in other words, they’re old acquaintances.

“With the weight group final having been defined, the absolute started up. I won two matches and in the third, the semifinal, I met up with Lovato. It was in this match that I made a mistake, and it cost me the whole match. I ended up getting choked from the mount. I learned that this business about not being able to make mistakes at black belt is true: I messed up on one minor detail and paid the price the whole match.”

And what mistake was this?

“Man, I got worried about a position in half-guard and ended up forgetting about my arm. Lovato sunk a kimura and I had to defend the whole match… What I learned for the next match is that I’ll have to be 100% tuned in the whole time, because any mistake can cost me. And match time in the tryouts is only six minutes, so if you mess up there’s a good likelihood you won’t be able to fix it.”

In the end, Lovato became the absolute champion. But there was still the weight group final. Bernardo recounts:

“In the weight group final – again against Lovato, I did some psychology on myself to forget about what happened, and I went in to fight again with a lot of grit and determination, and thank God I managed the win (on advantage points)! Everyone would say how becoming world champion wasn’t that hard, remaining champ is – and I didn’t believe them. Now I can see how that’s true. Indeed, it seems the opposition studies you more and more with each competition and competitions become harder and harder. But I’m cool about it, since I’m training a lot and I know I’ll keep coming up with solid results. And God willing I’1l win more and more titles.”

The world champion and World Pro tryouts winner will now go to Abu Dhabi this April with all expenses paid. He will also be teaching seminars in Freiberg, Germany, and Gorlitz, Poland. To reach him, email bernardorochajf@yahoo.com.br.

At Alliance Berlin, Germany

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