Gone are the days when only Brazilian black belts could hold their own at Jiu-Jitsu competitions. Beasts like BJ Penn and Rafael Lovato are among the first to prove it, as world champions. There is, however, a new generation of fighters turning the scene on its head even more.
GRACIEMAG #167, now at bookstores, has the word on these new stalwart submission specialists. Lloyd Irvin student Jonathan “JT” Torres is one of the many American black belts who has been causing and will cause his counterparts a lot of problems at the highest belt rank. At just 21 years of age, the beast from the Bronx, New York, won’t settle for anything less than top spot on the winners’ podium.
“The training I go through at the academy is really intense. My body is always beat up, but my mind is more powerful. When I step onto the main mat at the academy, I know things will be cruel,” he says.
The fighter addresses his solid campaigns in major events. Both he and his master believe that it’s just a question of time till he makes it to the top. And one of winning secrets is:
“Of course we should respect our opponents, especially at black belt. But you can’t get hung up on the name the guys have in the sport or the titles they’ve won. That’s all in the past and your match with him is the present. It’s here and now,” says JT.