Joao Gabriel and the change in training to fight among black belts in Abu Dhabi

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João Gabriel celebrates his victory in Long Beach. Photo: Dan Rod

Brown belt absolute world champion, João Gabriel Rocha received his black belt in the beginning of the year, during the Heavyweight Grand Prix of Copa Pódio. Now the ace of Soul Fighters prepares to make his debut at the maximum degree, in the WPJJC Abu Dhabi, on April 13 and 14.

Leandro Escobar’s pupil talked to GracieMag.com about his training and the expectation to fight among big names in the desert of the Emirates. Check this out.

GracieMag: How do you feel about debuting in Abu Dhabi?

JOÃO GABRIEL: I’m excited. After all, it will be my first time fighting in Abu Dhabi and also my first tournament as a black belt. It will be fun.

What has changed in your training?

The main change has been the pace, which is a mile per minute thanks to coach Andre Nobrega. My Jiu-Jitsu training is in the hands of Leandro Escobar. I workout in the morning and train in the afternoon and in the evening – an average of six hours of training a day.

What do you expect to find in the black belt division?

In the black belt division, there’s nowhere to run. So I especially trained how to escape from tricky situations like with the guy passing my guard or on my back. Jiu-Jitsu is trying to get comfortable in all situations, and that’s what I try to do. I’ve got a lot of guts and will to win my place. I want to do everything I did at the other belts and now is the time to show my worth and I will fight hard for it. I do not promise titles, but I can promise a lot of willingness to win. Now is the time when the child cries and the mother doesn’t hear (laughs).

What does it take to be a good black belt?

Focusing on what you do, and a lot of love, too. If you have those two things, you get where you want, both in Jiu-Jitsu and in life.

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