European Open marks new Jiu-Jitsu team’s debut

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Photo: Carlos Eduardo Ozório

In recent years, when MMA took over at Jiu-Jitsu academies, a lot of teachers left the big teams to focus on their own academies and teams.

That was the case with teachers Zé Marcello, Rafael Haubert, Fernando Paradeda, Murilo Rupp, Rodrigo Antunes. Douglas Santos, and Sergio Vita, who in December 2010 founded a new team. That team is called Icon Jiu-Jitsu Team, which also includes Zé Mario Sperry (pictured) and Walter Mattos as Master-consultants.

“After training at Carlson Gracie and BTT, which became an MMA team, we were lost. I focused all my efforts on Sul Jiu-Jitsu, but my students almost always would end up my friends’ students, who would often train with us because of the exchanges we would do,” says Fernando Paradeda, one of the team leaders. “We teachers met when we were still white belts and we always remembered the championships we would compete at together.”

“At more recent championships, our teams would sit togher on the stands. There was no doubt we needed to unite. We just needed someone to kick it off,” agrees Rafael Haubert, who is constantly making the trip between the United Arab Emirates and Spain.

Zé Marcello, who is originally from Niterói, Brazil, and has been living in England since 2006, was the catalyst in bringing the teachers together: “I’ve known all of them for a really long time, I always got along well with everyone. We are physically apart, but we identify a great deal with each other, from the way we teach class to how we treat our students. And every now and again we pay each other visits. Even so, so we would start on the right foot, it took us a year to formally launch our team.”

Icon Jiu-Jitsu Team’s theme is based on the thinking of industrialist Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

“Icon will enter international-level competitions competing against the best academies in the world,” guarantees Paradeda.

The team will make its competition debut at the European Open, taking 130 athletes right off the bat.

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