Dennis Lima remembers his start in BJJ, talks Bruno Bastos partnership

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Dennis Dennis happy with his students’ medals. Photo: Personal archive

Edenilson Lima, better known as Dennis, took his first steps in BJJ in 1997, after Royce Gracie’s wins in the UFC popularized the sport. Born in Maringá, Paraná, Dennis found some success already in the blue and purple belts. It was then that Dennis, now a teacher, decided to have a career in the sport. In 2003, he needed a solution to avoid going long stretches without training, due to the excessive swapping of teachers at the school where he started training, BTT. This was happening because BJJ was still not very popular in town.

Dennis and some friends recruited Rodrigo “Feijão,” an elite athlete from the 200s, with the goal of becoming a teacher and first representative of Nova União in Paraná. The negotiation was done over the phone.

“With Feijão, we had one of the best competition teams at the time and, consequently, we attracted eyes to the jiu-jitsu being practiced in Maringá”, Dennis said.

He added: “I learned a bunch; I evolved as an athlete and teacher. I invested in my development to become who I am today. Those were memorable times. Today, we’re no longer on the same team, but we share a trajectory of development. I’m grateful for him being a part of my journey as athlete and teacher.”

A black-belt since 2007, Dennis celebrated 23 years in BJJ this season. He traveled to the U.S., where he intends to exchange experiences and compete once the coronavirus pandemic passes.

“The coronavirus stopped the entire world,” he lamented,” but I was here before all that happened. Despite this pandemic, I’m keeping a strong pace of studying and training, even if by myself, so I don’t grind to a halt. My goal here in the U.S. is to compete in the main IBJJF tournaments, like, for example, the Master Worlds in Las Vegas, and help in the evolution of the athletes under my friend, black-belt Steve Snyder. My students, who are already Master Worlds champions, are also coming to finish the final adjustments with me. Even from here, I still control my gym back in Brazil. I’m gonna wait, hopeful, for all to go back to normal.” Dennis owns Dennis Jiu-Jitsu Club in Maringá, and has trained over 29 black-belts in town.

Presently, by Bruno Bastos’s side, he is an important part of Lead BJJ. “Bruno is an exemplary leader,” said Dennis. “We’ve been friends for a long time, since we were competing for Nova União. Hard work and determination are points on which I greatly identify myself with him, which is why I’m a part of this. We have the goal to direct and propel the career of our athletes in the best way, also. Our gym is more than just a team — we’re a company. And there’s some news coming soon.”

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