Jiu-Jitsu black belt Marcel “Mãozinha” Fortuna earned his way to Abu Dhabi at the San Diego leg of WPJJC tryouts last March, overcoming Gustavo Elias by 6 to 0 in the over-92 kg final. The teacher at Ralph Gracie academy spoke with GRACIEMAG.com about what he learned, even while sick with the flu.
JIU-JITSU’S ABOUT NOT GETTING AHEAD OF YOURSELF
“You always learn something or the other when you compete, and at the San Diego Trials I ended up getting ahead of myself in going for the finish and ended up losing important positions,” Marcel recounted.
“I’d already faced my first opponent two weeks earlier at the San Franciso Open. That time he pulled guard on me, and I took eight minutes to pass and get back control. In San Diego he tried a different strategy on me; he started out standing, so I took him down, passed guard and got an armlock on him from side-control in less than a minute.
“In the final I started out standing, pulled guard and then swept. I tried passing, and he turned on all fours. That was where I got hasty: I got his back and went for the choke, but he escaped and ended up in my guard again. I ended up winning by 6-0, but I could have done a better job of scrutinizing the situations before attacking,” he added, before offering a helpful pointer for improving your guard game.
(Watch Mãozinha in action in Arizona.)
EXPOSE YOURSELF TO DANGER AT THE ACADEMY
“I’ve been working a lot on my guard because I tended to play top position a lot at tournaments. Now, I feel much more comfortable playing top or bottom depending on my game plan. Any position you wish to improve on you need to expose yourself to. There’s no point in only doing what you’re good at. At the academy you have to expose yourself to those positions against your training partners to improve,” said the fighter, who also boasts a blemishless three-fight MMA career.