Gustavo Dantas on Nova União at the 2011 Pan

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Despite his endless toil at the helm of team Nova União’s US wing and the Arizona Jiu-Jitsu Federation putting on events like the Southwest Classic and Arizona Open, not to mention his everyday commitments as a teacher and coach in Arizona, Gustavo Dantas is always sure to make it to all the major championships bringing a troop of stalwart competitors with him, and last weekend’s Pan-American Championship in California was no different. In constant contact with, Dantas breaks down how Nova União did at the Pan and reveals what the plans are for the team in the near future:

Gustavo Dantas and Pan bronze-medalist Kristina Barlaan / Photo: John Cooper

How was Nova Uniao’s performance at the 2011 Pan?

We are pretty happy with the results, we got 26 medals. We took second in the novice division just one point behind first place. We did a good job organizing the team, which is another step to get towards our main goal: to win the adult division at Worlds again. I know that we are not there yet, but hopefully we can hope to see some of the competitors from Brazil compete in the US in the future. There are some really tough and hungry representatives there that unfortunately don’t have the means of making it to the US. Regardless of that, there is a lot of new talent being produced from the NU Instructors in North America and if we organize right, I believe we can do it in a few years.

Who were the team’s standouts?

At black belt, Bruno Bastos did a great job as usual and took second in the super heavy division. Also, Bruno’s student Danny Alvarez did awesome taking second place at master/light feather. Danny’s daughter, Danielle Alvarez, took third in the blue belt/feather. Bruno is a great example of what Nova União is about, very passionate about the team and a great leader in Texas, and in a few years his team will be huge.

And from Arizona, Christian Broadnax took second in the tough purple/feather, and Kristina Barlaan took third in the purple/feather/female division. In the blue belt division, John Van Buren took third in light feather/adult  he is one of our new upcoming competitors. We expect big things from them this year.

What is next for Nova União?

We have the Phoenix and Dallas International Open coming up, and we are going for first place in both of them. And of course with the Worlds coming up, we know that it will be hard, but we will be doing our best to be on the podium. Also, we’re really working on building a strong female team this year and I really believe that they can shine this year.

For further information regarding Dantas’s team Nova União USA, visit

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