João Gabriel’s younger brother also looking for pro fighting success

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João Gabriel (in gi) next to his younger brother Pedro Rocha. Photo: screen grab / SporTV

João Gabriel (in gi) next to his younger brother Pedro Rocha. Photo: screen grab / SporTV

Vice-champion of the world and black belt Brazilian Champion, João Gabriel Rocha, 21, has quite the training partner to help sharpen takedowns – and right at home! His brother Pedro Rocha, 19, is also a fighter and a title collector – except his endeavors take place in wrestling, where he is a five-time Brazilian champ.

According to his their biggest supporter, Adilson Rocha, the recipe for success is simple and was given since very early on, like the devoted dad said recently on SporTV’s Sensei SporTV show:

“I told them: you have to practice for eight hours a day, with a two-hour lunch break. You don’t have an office job but you’re going to be there every day just as if you did, and the first commandment is discipline.”

Pedro, who started out in Jiu-Jitsu with his brother, tells of how he ended up taking a different path.

“My biggest dream was never to be a black-belt world champion as a kid. I always admired judo more, for being an Olympic sport, and I dreamed of going to the Olympics. Today I dream of fighting in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. I go to sleep and I wake up thinking of that,” he says.

Of course the brothers exchange tips to improve as much as possible.

“Since in judo the takedown is worth two points, Pedro gives me great pointers about wrestling. Both judo and wrestling help me in competition. If I get the takedown, I’m already ahead and the other guy has to try to catch up,” recalls the Soul Fighters black-belt. “And it’s also good for him, since wrestling is played standing for 90 percent of the time, but there is some ground play, and that’s where the Jiu-Jitsu way of moving one’s hips can make a difference.”

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