Esdras Jr goes over 2020 season: ‘Give it your best on your worst days’

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Esdras Jr talks 2020 and mantaining his resolve in the face of a pandemic. Photo: IBJJF/Facebook

Esdras Jr had a good year competing in 2020, despite the whole world having to come to grips with the covid-19 pandemic. The black-belt from Ares BJJ won some big IBJJF titles and saw his jiu-jitsu evolve and his career take off as a professional of the sport.

At 30, the featherweight is taking stock of his victories and his evolution attributed to the training provided by Osvaldo Queixinho and company in Arizona.

“My evolution is due to my daily dedication, to my studying jiu-jitsu,” said Esdras, a sitting no-gi champion of the American Nationals and gi and no-gi champion of the San Jose Open. “I’ve been dedicating myself to studying jiu-jitsu more, I’ve been eating better, and I’ve been training my mind to be positive when the scenario isn’t a good one like, for example, was the year 2020.”

He added: “Learning from Queixinho makes me a more intelligent athlete and makes me progressively more prepared to fight in any competition. I’m loving this process, which generated good results in the last season.”

During said season, Esdras injured a knee, resulting in his exit from the Pan, which was held in October in Florida. Because it was the only big event held by the federation in the second half of the year, Esdras had to deal with the frustration of not fighting in order to recover faster. He said: “Injuries are part of the sport. Of course no one expects it to happen, but I think it’s during these troubled times that we have the opportunity to do some good work on our psychology.

“During this last year, especially when I was injured, I was trying to keep my mind focused on that which was within my reach and particularly on the aspects I could control, like nutrition, physiotherapy, technical training and mental training. I can say that in the past season I learned that giving it your best on the hard days makes all the difference. It makes your mind progressively more heavily armored.”

And thus he fought and won at the American Nationals. “After having injured myself right before the Pan and gone two months without training, I resumed my training with practically three weeks to go and managed to fight well,” he said. “Claiming the championship was the best feeling I had after having gone through all these obstacles. It was soul-cleansing — it was a very delicious win.”

Next up, Esdras is likely to compete at the Dallas International Open in March as he looks to climb the IBJJF rankings.

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