Our GMA Gustavo Dantas is a busy man. The Vice-President of the AZSBJJF, and promoter one of the fastest growing tournaments in the United States, Dantas’s GD Jiu-Jitsu Events brings in such talent as: Kron Gracie, Robson Moura, JT Torres, Caio Terra, Bruno Bastos, and many others to perform in Arizona, but his responsibilities don’t end there. Dantas is the President of renowned Team Nova União in the USA and is responsible for structuring the team in the country. Check out this interview with one of Nova União’s leaders around the world.
How was 2010 for Nova Uniao USA?
I feel it was a very important year, especially since we started to organize all the official schools in the USA to put Nova União back on the podium at IBJJF championships. We got in contact with all first generation NU black belts and started getting a stronger team for the tournaments, but we have long ways to go. Our team placed at the Vegas Open, the U.S. No-Gi Nationals and took first at the Pan in the juvenile division.
Who were the Nova União standouts of 2010?
In the black belt Division, without a doubt, Bruno Bastos was the standout. He won a lot of tournaments this year, he is definitely the most active Nova União black belt competitor in the world. Also from Texas, Peter Runez, who took silver in a very tough brown belt/lightweight division at the Worlds, and Claudia Gadelha had a great year as well.
From Arizona, Kristina Barlaan won a lot of IBJJF Tournaments, including the Pan, Rio Open, and U.S. Nationals (Gi and No-Gi), getting promoted to purple belt. The same with Issa Able, who took third at the World Cup in Abu Dhabi and took second place in the blue belt/feather at the Worlds. He, too, received his purple belt
You competed at a couple of tournaments this year as well. How was that?
Well, since I moved to the USA (twelve years ago), my priorities changed a lot. I compete when I feel like it or when I have time to train often. I won the Vegas Open in the feather/master division and I won the International Master and Senior in the eather/senior 1; I am getting old! (laughs). But I am plan on competing again in 2011.
What are the plans for Nova União USA in 2011?
Our goal is to put Nova União back on the podium at the Worlds, and 2010 was a big step in that direction. Also, Nova União helps my non-profit organization called Live Jiu-Jitsu, which focuses on supporting BJJ projects in Brazil and other places around the World. The website is almost ready and we will be promoting a lot more. Ten perscent of the sales from novauniao.com will go towards the projects like Morro Azul (click here for the Morro Azul “Tatame Legal” project website) and Morro Santo Amaro, run by Andre Pederneiras black belts Fabiano Freitas (recently featured on GRACIEMAG.com here) and Marlon Sandro, respectively. Last year we were able to buy forty brand new gis and new mats for the Morro Azul project.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Too many people to thank, but in special my two main instructors who got me where I am right now, my first instructor, Fernando Cruz, and my current instructor for the past fifteen years, Andre Pederneiras, who inspires me a lot in everything I do for my students and for the community.