To Gracie Barra, three athletes in particular stood out at the 2010 Jiu-Jitsu Pan that ended this Sunday, April 11, in California: Kayron Gracie, making his black belt debut; Otavio Sousa; and rookie brown belt Lucas Rocha. As one of the commanders of Gracie Barra America forces, there’s no one better than Marcio Feitosa to comment on the talent surging in the team.
“Kayron was truly extraordinary. A lot of folks found it surprising, but we who train with him knew he could win. Of course, we thought it would be tough going in at black belt, mainly for his fighting at middleweight. The guys coming up from brown don’t get any breaks when they make it to black, but we had faith in his Jiu-Jitsu, that he could put up a fight. I feel that what often wins competitions is where the fighter’s head is, and he rose to the occasion in the final (against Abmar Barbosa). He wasn’t intimidated and carried out everything he trained to do. He was impeccable in technique and strategy. He gained confidence to do well against these monsters,” remarks Feitosa.
The coach was also pleased with Lucas Rocha’s participation, winning at brown belt middleweight and taking second in the absolute; and Otavio Sousa, medium heavyweight black belt champion.
“Our money was already on Lucas Rocha and Otavio. Even though Lucas only just got his brown belt, he’s phenomenal. They trained, as did Kayron, over Christmans and New Year’s, non-stop. Lucas could even have won the absolute. He didn’t fight well in the final and wasn’t happy about it, but overall it went well. Otavio did awesome, too. He trains a lot with Romulo Barral here and they’re all helping with each other’s training. Let me tell you: Otavio did awesome in the Pan and Romulo is going to kick butt at the World Pro,” he wagers.
Besides taking first in the Master and Senior, Gracie Barra took second in the adult and juvenile tournaments. Unable to count on some of the team’s stars, like Braulio Estima and Romulo Barral, Marcio feels they performed well.
“I thought it was great. Of course our aim is to win all the divisions. We went in practically just with the students who train here in the United States. In the age group where we have most practitioners here, the Master and Senior, we took first. But in the Adult our athletes did a great job. At black belt nearly all of them won medals. The ones who didn’t win made it onto the podium,” he comments.
The focus now is the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, which takes place in June. The work is about to begin.
“We rested a bit this week and next week we get back to competition training. The gang is motivated and we’re going for it yet again. We’ve been battling, always in the mix, ever since the very first Worlds and Pan. We’re going for the title again!” he warns.