Ivan Rocha and the details of the international title that marked his career

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Ivan Rocha competed in London Open 2013. Photo: Personal archive

Black belt Ivan Rocha has built a consolidated work in Europe and has worked both as a competitor and in the training of Jiu-Jitsu athletes. Ivan lived in Italy for seven years and divided his time between teaching and competing. He taught several seminars in Italian cities and traveled to other European countries, such as England and Germany, with the purpose of testing his team, Cabecinha Team Italy, and spreading the values of Jiu-Jitsu.

One of the most special achievements of Ivan’s career came at the London Open 2013, organized by IBJJF. Ivan overcame the English cold and the opponents to be consecrated champion in the categories with and without kimono. “Winning is always gratifying, it’s too good. Besides my titles, my team had a positive balance. In total, we came home with ten medals, four of them gold”, recalled the black belt.

In a chat with the GRACIEMAG.com team, Ivan Rocha recalled some of the highlights of the London Open and listed the most important lessons learned during the period he lived in Italy.

GRACIEMAG: What did the London Open title represent for you?

IVAN ROCHA: Winning this title has a special meaning, because it is difficult to train hard and work on both my technical evolution and that of my students at the same time. The teachers who also compete know this. Winning is always gratifying, it is too good. Besides my titles in the categories with and without kimono, my team had a positive balance. In total, we came home with ten medals, four of them gold.

Do you have any outstanding memory from this championship?

Yes, besides my golds gi and nogi, the weight loss also marked me because it was not easy at all. Sacrifice sums up the fighter’s life. Besides losing weight, I ventured into the absolute afterwards. And, at the time, I weighed 64kg. What I remember from that day was the fact that it was very cold. I ran the whole gym and couldn’t sweat at all. It was a pleasure to accompany my students in an international competition and to see each of them winning and giving it their all. The team unity gives me an inexplicable feeling. What motivates me the most is to see my work going the right way. Besides these moments, Jiu-Jitsu provides incredible experiences, such as getting to know new places and different cultures around the world.

Ivan Rocha became gi and nogi champion at the London Open 2013. Photo: Personal Archive

What are the biggest challenges of competing abroad?

The rewards outweigh the challenges. However, it is not easy, there are numerous barriers, such as the cultural impact and the difference in food. But, in my opinion, the biggest obstacle is the cold. It is complicated to struggle in such low temperatures, something that is recurrent in Europe.

What were your favorite techniques in your competitive days?

I am a guard passer. I used to wait for the opponent to pull me to guard or I would try the fall to get on top. I feel good when I get to half-guard, I like to bull-fight to get to the side control. When I’m on the bottom, I like to do the De la Riva with the intention of scraping the opponent.

What were the biggest learnings during the time you lived in Europe?

Above all, I evolved personally and professionally. It is important to travel, to get to know other countries and experience cultures different from the one we are used to. Leaving our roots makes us go further, broadens our horizons, and is something enriching. No one ever takes that experience away from you. During the seven years I lived for Jiu-Jitsu in Europe I understood even more the value of the martial art and how the sport opens unimagined doors. One of my wishes is that people have the opportunity to see how Jiu-Jitsu can be transformative and provide more quality of life.



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