Differences turn to gold in equal-opportunity Jiu-Jitsu

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Felipe Cranivata is a Gracie Barra black belt and was born into a family that could provide the conditions necessary for him to become a successful businessman. Kleber Buiú is also a Gracie Barra black belt, comes from humble origins and had in Jiu-Jitsu an opportunity to improve his lot in life. Proof how equal-opportunity reigns in the gentle art, fighters from such different backgrounds train together, compete together and, better still, win together.

Kleber Buiú in photo by Gustavo Aragão

Last Sunday, at the Tiuca Tennis Club, they closed out the medium heavyweight division of the Rio International Open. A true gentleman, Buiú didn’t make a big deal about keeping the gold for himself, as his teammate hadn’t yet won one in the weight group as a black belt before.

“Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that gave me an objective. It changed me not only in terms of having discipline on the mats, but in the things I want in life. It made me better at many things, even in the way I eat. Training Jiu-Jitsu was not only an opportunity for me, it changed the way I lead my life. It’s something that has only contributed to making me better,” says Buiú, the teacher at Gracie Barra headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.

The fighter remarked on his performance at the Rio Open, where he had to get through two opponents before shutting out the category.

“Closing out with Cranivata was excellent. I couldn’t compete at the Brazilian Nationals due to injury, but I did really solid pre-work with Jefferson Moura and Paulo Caruso for this one. I got a bit sick before the competition, so I looked to play a more tactical game. I used less strength and explosiveness and won my matches on tactics,” he says in analysis.

Cranivata in photo by Gustavo Aragão

Cranivata doesn’t make his living teaching and his routine in the world of business is exhausting. Even so, the black belt finds time to train and put on a show.

“Things are bit tricky for me at black belt because these days the guys make their livings doing this, they’re super-trained. I work all day, I get to the gym late, but I managed to fight well here. Truth is, I don’t train seriously due to lack of time, but for this tournament we worked hard every day,” he recounts.

At an age where he could be competing at master, this may have been the last competition the fighter enters as an adult. But Jiu-Jitsu will always be present in his life.

“It works like an escape valve for me. I feel the need to do some sport after the daily grind. Everyone needs a sport in their lives. I’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu since I was a kid. I like it a lot and can’t stop,” he says in closing.

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