The World Championship holds its 18th edition in Long Beach, Calif., from May 29 to June 2. The black belt comes packed with superstars like Marcos Souza, who comes to California with the title in Abu Dhabi, and changed his training routine in Japan to sharpen his game in San Diego.
Souza, along with his brother Roberto Satoshi, will represent the Atos team for the first time at the Worlds, after years of having a good relationship with Andre Galvao’s team, Ramon Lemos and the Mendes brothers.
According to Marcos, the mission of guiding his brother became increasingly difficult when Satoshi went on to black belt. GRACIEMAG chatted with the young talent from Bon Sai gym.
GRACIEMAG: How will your first championship be as part of the Atos team?
MARCOS SOUZA: Yes, Andre Galvao supported us to come to California and he is helping us in the training. Friendships have also influenced our choice to come to San Diego, like Rafa and Guilherme [Mendes], Bruno Frazatto, Guto Campos and others. To show them we are thankful, we will try to strengthen their team in the black belt division. In Japan, we will keep teaching for Bon Sai team founded by our father 20 years ago. We always had a very good friendship with many black belts from other teams. Many people do not know, but in Brazil I trained with (Rubens) Cobrinha and Michael Langhi. When Lucas Lepri and Cobrinha went to Japan they stayed at my house.
How did the partnership with Andre Galvao start?
It began when Robert and I were coming to fight in the United States. It was just us two for the team, so we kept taking turns on each other’s corner. When Satoshi became a black belt, it started to get more difficult to coach for each other, and the guys from Atos have always helped us in these circumstances. Sometimes they helped us to come up with a strategy for each opponent, stood in our corner and it made us feel safe. They always cheered and helped us even if we were from another team. That was something nobody did for us before, so we made the choice this year.
How is the training with the Atos guys in San Diego?
The training in insanely good. Before, I admired Andre Galvao as a fighter, but now I admire him as a leader. He really pushes us when we are tired and knows how to motivate the team. The drills are fully focused on the competition and I’m sure this will help me a lot, and Satoshi also. We have defeated tough opponents, won major championships, but with this support I am sure that we will evolve and surprise a lot of people. I can’t say it will be now, because it is still too early to reap these rewards. But we will plant them and in the near future I hope we will be challenging many people in our divisions. Personally, for example, I don’t think I’m talented, but willpower overcomes talent. I hope to do my best every day, for all those who believe in me and show support. See you at the Worlds!