Tanner Rice: ‘I Believe the Americans Will Take Over the Sport’

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Tanner Rice at the 2012 IBJJF Pro League

Tanner Rice (bottom) vs Augusto Tanquinho (top) at the 2012 IBJJF Pro League. The young American is competing at the All Star in Santa Cruz, Calif. this weekend

During the IBJJF Pro-League back in December, Tanner Rice caused the biggest upset of the tournament, beating Augusto Tanquinho. Now he heads to Santa Cruz, Calif. where he will compete at the All Star Tournament this weekend. He paused his Sunday night routine to speak to GRACIEMAG.com:

GRACIEMAG: How has Jiu-Jitsu affected your life?

TR: I love Jiu-Jitsu; it’s a drug to me. I’m constantly doing it, thinking about it, obsessing about it. Jiu-Jitsu is my life. I was never successful in school as far as studying went because I could never focus, so Jiu-Jitsu has given me a life in a way that I never would have expected, making it more positive in every way. It has kept me healthy. It has taught me how to be a leader. And most importantly it has taught me how to lose. It’s a healthy lifestyle and it changes the way you think and see yourself as a person. Sometimes all of us need that from time to time.

How do you see this upcoming generation in Jiu-Jitsu and what do you think about the new generation of American black belts?

I see Jiu-Jitsu in the next few years evolving even more than it already has. I think that a lot of Americans will be in the sport and a lot more American black belt world champions. I believe we will eventually take over the sport.

Your dad is a Jiu-Jitsu black belt and you and your brothers started training at a young age. What was the importance of BJJ in your life growing up?

My mom left us at a young age so Jiu-Jitsu was an out from all the bad things going on at that time. Jiu-Jitsu saved my life!

Talk a little bit about competition, diet, preparation and the training with your professor Cobrinha?

Competition changes everything because you constantly want to do better in competitions, and to do so you have to be healthier and in better shape. My preparation before tournaments is always the same: eat well, train for as long and often as I can. It’s great training with Cobrinha but I don’t get to make it down to Los Angeles all that often to train with him because I’m always in my hometown of Redding, Calif. training with my brothers.

So you’re heading to Santa Cruz to compete at the All Star. What are your expectations and what can you say to the folks that will compete at the tournament this weekend in Santa Cruz, Calif.?

I plan on fighting whoever the best I can and hopefully that’s good enough to get the gold medal. I like it very much it’s a beautiful and a fun place to be so you’re in for an exciting tournament. Claudio Franca always puts on a great show!

Make sure you check out Tanner Rice and others in Santa Cruz on February 16-17 at the All Star #2 tournament! If you didn’t enroll yet, today is your last chance: head to www.allstartournament.com for further information.

GRACIEMAG.com will be present to cover the event, so expect live coverage and great images!

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