Tanquinho: “There is no rivalry, I’m not the one who started the ill feelings”

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Tanquinho celebrates triumph. Photo: John Lamonica.

He’s not the one who won both weight and open weight at the World Pro – that was Rodolfo Veira –, but Augusto Tanquinho is likely the name being mentioned most in Abu Dhabi. The rivalry between him and team Atos was stirred up when he announced he would be competing in the under-65-kg division – and became more heated after he beat three opponents from the Rio Claro, Brazil-based team and qualified for the final against Rafael Mendes. His eeking out a judges’ decision win caused an outcry of both disagreement and agreement.

Below, Tanquinho lays out his opinion for GRACIEMAG.com and comments on the significance of the win:

What’s the big lesson you derived from the win?

There was no big lesson, not much has changed in what I think about winning or losing a championship, but I believe my win here was a major lesson to a lot of other people. The most important of all was to respect one’s opponent and not think the match is won before it’s over. Here in Abu Dhabi I heard a lot of things, major lack of respect and humility. They even said I wouldn’t last three minutes with Rafael and wanted to bet the 8-thousand-dollar prize money on him. So I feel there are a lot of people who need to reconsider the moral values Jiu-Jitsu teaches.

What do you make of the final?

It was a great match, as I thought it would be. It didn’t ever come to a halt – the match area was big, like Rafael wanted it, and I didn’t ever run away, like he said I do. I didn’t talk to the refs, we just went in there and put in a good show! Rafael swept me early on, then I swept him, he attacked for a kneebar and got an advantage, then he got a verbal warning for grabbing the inside of the sleeve of my pants, then he swept me and got another warning for stalling. Then I swept and attacked for a kneebar at the end and won by an advantage point. It was a great match, 4-4 on points. They (Atos) is complaining, asking for an advantage for a foot attack, but I was never in danger of being tapped out – they called for an advantage after a sweep by Rafa, but to me he was still defending the kneebar and time ran out first. So I went out there, did my job, and demonstrated how you win Jiu-Jitsu matches on the mat, not with your mouth.

What do you think of this rivalry that has cropped up between you and Atos?

To me there’s no rivalry – I wasn’t the one who caused these ill feelings. It was a coincidence that I fought nearly everyone from Atos. Som of the guys from over there, who were unhappy with the fact that I went down the line of them, started saying bad things about me and the way I fight. But I hold no resentment, I let it go: the war stays on the mat and there’s no need for us to lack respect for others. Some of the guys at Atos talked to me and were super cool with me, others don’t even talk to me anymore. I hope in the end everyone is mature enough to see how it is all silliness and that as athletes we need to train and accept defeat, victory and judges’ decisions. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time that there will be controversy and complaining.

Do you intend to stay in the featherweight division?

I don’t know yet. I want to talk about that with my teacher Álvaro, my brother Tank and my teaamates. But I’m fine with a move down in weight. If I can keep up my strength and train close to that weight, I believe I’ll show up as a featherweight at upcoming events.

What are your goals now?

Now I’m going to return to Brazil and train even more. The title is a thing of the past, and I want to be prepared to win my next challenge on the mat, as always. I should be at the ADCC tryouts in Brazil, the Brazilian Nationals, and then the Worlds. Then I’ll spend some time conducting some seminars I have schedules and some others that should crop up.

I want to thank everyone for the messages providing incentive for this competition! Atama, Copacabana USA, and Mazwar are my sponsors, and I want to thank them for believing in me and supporting me in winning.

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