They were two very difficult years due to the pandemic, in which Jiu-Jitsu in Europe practically stopped.
In Ireland, gyms reopened without restrictions in February, and Jiu-Jitsu came back in full force. Based in Dublin for about seven years, our GMI Henrique Saraiva tells how he overcame his mishaps:
“We were totally closed for a year”, says the black belt, son of master Orlando Saraiva. “Ireland was one of the countries with the greatest restrictions in the world, and the Jiu-Jitsu community felt this downtime a lot. But, amazingly, we came back even stronger and our children’s team won the two official events held in the country this year, the Emerald Cup and the Irish Kids Cup. The adults on our team also managed to finish second overall in the Emerald Cup.”
The professor had a chat with GRACIEMAG.com about the team’s other challenges:
GRACIEMAG: After a year with the gym closed, you saw 90% of the students go back to training. How do you think you achieved this almost massive return?
HENRIQUE SARAIVA: We kept in touch with the students throughout this period, and I think they all missed Jiu-Jitsu very much, eager to get back to doing an irresistible physical activity like ours. In addition to the people who returned, we had a great demand from people for physical activities to get back in shape, and Jiu-Jitsu was widely chosen, after all it is a passionate sport.
What was the biggest lesson of the long interruption?
After this one year of lockdown, I think the biggest lesson is to live today, and not miss more training for nonsense. After all, we never know what life has in store for us tomorrow.
How have the kids been at your school?
flying. The Irish Kids Cup was the first major children’s event in the country, and we were able to show that our leadership in children’s events here remains the same. I was happy with the result and most importantly: the children and parents were pleased to see their children in competition again, with all the fraternizing atmosphere that marked the event.
What did you take the opportunity to change and implement in the academy in this stopped year?
I studied hard our teaching methodology. And I also opened a new school, www.bjjlucan.com. We’re in a new area of Dublin that didn’t have BJJ yet and growth is fast. We started last month with children’s classes and soon we will have more athletes to represent the team in competitions. Oh, and I graduated my first Irish black belt, Connor Dillon, as well as other worthy students.
How the sport has been doing in the country?
Growing up a lot. We’re going to have the first Irishman in the ADCC this year, lightweight Sam McNally, and the IBJJF events are getting big here, I’m sure we’ll still have a black belt world champion. About our team, the team also only grows, so much so that Professor Evandro Japan came to reinforce classes. He’s my first black belt, graduated in 2007, and he’s a two-time European Jiu-Jitsu champion.