Americans travel to Brazil often to gather knowledge from legends who are deeply rooted within the art of Jiu-Jitsu. One competitor, Nova Uniao brown belt Christian Broadnax, set up a way to train and learn from Nova Uniao professor Rodrigo Feijao in Maringa, Parana. “This will be a great life experience for Christian, who is only 19 years old,” says Gustavo Dantas, the leader of Nova Uniao Arizona. “He will be competing at the South America, Rio Open, Sao Paulo Open and the Brazilian National by teams.”
On his way to Brazil, Christian Broadnax took time to talk with us about his journey and how he feels it will benefit him:
GRACIEMAG: You’ll be training with Rodrigo Feijao who is known for turning good competitors into great competitors. What are you hoping to have him help you with while you’re with him?
CHRISTIAN BROADNAX: Well I want him to help me with patience and maintaining positions. This is something Gustavo [Dantas] has been helping me with for a while and I have somewhat improved upon, but I feel sometimes I get too antsy during my matches. The last tournament (The Arizona State BJJ Championship) I competed at I slipped up and got caught in a triangle in the finals of my division. Luckily there was only 30 sec left in the match and I held my composure and won (I was up by 7pts). I got antsy because I wanted to make the match exciting and pass the guy’s guard and submit him. I know Feijao will help me with more than patience though when I train with him. I still have a lot to improve on in my game.
What happened at Worlds this year?
I won my first match 4 – 0 and I got DQ’ed in the second match. I was winning the match and I went for a knee bar on my opponent and he escaped. When he escaped he turned his body in a way where it seemed as if I was reaping the knee. The ref stopped the match and I got DQ’ed. I was very disappointed I trained really hard and sacrificed a lot, but it’s a part of the game. I have to look forward to the future and train harder.
As a 19-year-old, you’re ahead of the game. A two-year degree, a BJJ brown belt around your waist and titles galore. What advice can you offer to kids and teenagers looking to follow similar footsteps?
My advice is to always follow your dreams, keep an open mind, always believe in yourself and have a positive mindset. Also you should always keep positive people around you and surround yourself with people that have the same goals as you do. This will create better productivity and more motivation for attaining ones goals. I’ve been training since I was 11 yrs old and I told myself that the first time I go compete worlds I will win first place. Many people have discouraged me and told me that I wouldn’t be able to even win when I first compete at worlds but in 2009 I won the juvenile division for blue belts when I was 15.
Do you think heading to Brazil on your own and living there for three months will help you mature even further? What kind of qualities do you think you’ll gain while there that will better yourself as a person?
I think the experience I will get from this will be very beneficial for me as a person. Lately I’ve been through a lot of bad personal situations and my coach Gustavo and I know that I need this. I know I will learn to relax more (laughs). I know that I will be more confident in myself and my abilities. I’m sure that I will have a different perspective on many things not only in Jiu-Jitsu but also in life. I love Jiu-Jitsu and without it, I’m not sure where I would be. I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I just would like to thank my coach Gustavo Dantas for believing in me. He has been with me through all my up and down times and he’s always helped if I need anything. He means a lot to me and my plan is to become the best I can for not only myself but for him and my team.
I would like to thank God for bringing me this far, my sponsor living canvas tattoos Gentle art x Body art, Arizona Biomechanics and Shoyoroll. P.S., another word of advice for kids is to always stay consistent in everything you do and work hard; you can never go wrong there haha.
See Christian in action at the 2012 IBJJF Toronto Open: