Bruno Bastos and the art of producing a juvenile world champion

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Isaque Bahiense: o aluno de Fabio Andrade e Bruno Bastos venceu o Mundial 2012 no absoluto juvenil. Foto: Mike Calimbas

Isaque Bahiense, a student of Fabio Andrade and Bruno Bastos, won the juvenile absolute division at the 2012 Worlds. Foto: Mike Calimbas.

How do you polish up a young blue belt to the point of putting him atop the winners’ podium at a Jiu-Jitsu World Championship? Bruno Bastos and team Nova União got a taste of such an achievement in Long Beach early this month, but they say it was by no means easy on anybody.

Isaque Bahiense, a medium heavyweight trained in Brazil by the black belt Fabio Andrade, had to put in long hours of grueling training, eat right and do a good job of resting as well. The captains of Nova União did the rest, and the young blue belt claimed his place as juvenile absolute champion of the world.

“There are a number of different aspects that led Isaque to this year’s absolute title. One of them was experience, given how he tried and came up short last year. Had he not lost, he may well not have won this year,” said Bruno Bastos during a chat with

(Watch Isaque in action at the 2011 Worlds.)

“Now having a good coaching staff is essential. The work Isaque put in, and the efforts of our juvenile whole juvenile team, ended in Long Beach, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Ever since last year, we’d been planning who would come here to Texas from Rio de Janeiro, weighed the financial cost involved, and we put in a lot of dedication too. That’s why, even though our team at the Worlds was small, we took second place in the juvenile competition, as we had great quality on the team. The work my cousin André Basto and my black belt Fabio Andrade did in the Vila Valqueire and Bangu neighborhoods was key. There are others too, but there isn’t enough room to thank them all,” he remarked.

So Bruno shares a key pointer on how to work in a team.

“You can’t keep to yourself when working in a group. Even from far away, it was the joint effort, communication and, mainly, the confidence in the work being done that brought the results our kids came up with. Besides training a lot, the teachers were in communication the whole time. And every now and again I go to Brazil or bring kids to the academy in Texas,” he said in summing up how the team arrived at the desired outcome.

To wrap up, Bastos placed his bets for 2013.

“”We’ve already started planning for the 2013 Worlds. Our goal is to take first place as a team and produce American champions. This was only the second year of our exchange and it’s already panned out, so I ask, ‘Can you doubt us?’ I guarantee that we’ll have an American blue belt champion next year. You can count on it,” said the Jiu-Jitsu professor in closing.

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