Pan grand champion speaks

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Bernardo. Photo: Ivan Trindade

Bernardo Augusto Faria has been tearing up the mats for some time, with such accolades as winning the world championship as a purple and brown belt. His start in Jiu-Jitsu came in Juiz de Fora, a town in the Central Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, at BTT. But ever since becoming a black belt, he has trained at Alliance and represents the army led by the General, as Fabio Gurgel is known by the team. His greatest achievement so far came last Sunday, when Bernardo won his weight and the open weight classes at the Jiu-Jitsu Pan-American. Check out the interview with the champion:

Tell us what it felt like to win gold at weight and open weight at the Pan.

I was really pleased, and it was proof training is panning out. It was redeeming. I’d been doing well as a black belt, but I just missed a number of times. I’d win one championship and lose the next. This time I managed to be champion of my weight and the absolute weight classes at a major international event.

What are your thoughts on the level of competition?

I beat three world champions in a single event: Braga Neto, Rafael Lovato and Gabriel Vella. I’d lost twice to Cavaca and this time I won. I’d also lost to Braga Neto before, and I’m happy to have beaten guys as tough as Abmar Barbosa. I think it was the best tournament of my life.

What lessons did you derive from this victory? What will it take to repeat the achievement at the Worlds?

Before the Pan I lost at the World Pro qualifiers. I realize I learned a lot from those losses. Everything I did wrong at the qualifiers I did right at the Pan. Fabio knows how to see clearly what everyone is doing wrong. I believe in him, had faith in what he told me and everything worked out. What makes a champion is training and competing in everything because, win or lose, we learn a lot. What it will take now (for the Worlds) is fighting and winning.

A reversal stemming from this omoplata secured his triumph over Braga Neto. Photo: Ivan Trindade

What’s changed since you switched teams?

I’ve been at Alliance a year now, and a lot has changed in my life. I can only thank Fabio Gurgel and my old teacher, Ricardo Marques, who gave me all my belts since white belt. With him, I became absolute world champion at purple belt and world champion at brown. It was Ricardo who incentivized me to train at Alliance.

What will you compete in next?

I should compete at the SP Cup, which rewards a trip to the Worlds. After that, for sure, the Brazilian Nationals and Worlds are my main focus.

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