Jorge Fernandes, a twelve-year-old, is a jewel currently being shaped at American Top Team Ft. Lauderdale in Florida. Jorjão, as he is known, extended a good phase in competition as he won, for the second time, the Pan Kids, held recently by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) in California.
Despite being so young, Jorjão already knows that in order to conquer big challenges in his personal life, he needs dedication, perseverance and, especially, to forgo moments of leisure. That, in his view, is what enabled him to win the tournament again.
“It’s the result of a lot of discipline and sacrifice to keep up with the diet and training,” he said in a recent interview. “I gave up a lot of fun times with my friends. Really, I like training and competing, so I’m always at the gym training and traveling to the competitions. And I believe this causes me to have more interest in the sport, and gives me rhythm and experience in competition.”
Taught by his dad, Junior Fernandes, who is a black-belt under Ricardo Libório, Jorjão revealed that, in one of his elimination matches, he used a spinning choke that he learned from his father. This move shocked the audience.
“It’s a choke I like to use when I fight playing guard, but I learned some variations from my dad to play on top,” said the young champion. “I just adjusted it to my game. I studied all my possible opponents, and that was a factor that defined my wins. Jiu-jitsu is a sport that requires studying; there are lots of intelligent athletes.”
The results of his studies are seen in practice, through his social media, when Jorjão shares the experiences he’s been having as he trains and competes in judo. “It’s not that I like judo the way I like jiu-jitsu,” he said; “it’s just because it’s the complement to my jiu-jitsu.”
Jorjão added: “I’m in second in the U.S. rankings. I know that judo helps me in my physical preparation as well, so I look at it like I do jiu-jitsu: wherever there’s judo, I try to go to fight and train.”
Jorge has accumulated several gold medals, and it’s worth noting his titles at the American Nationals and US Open Judo Championships.