You never forget your first IBJJF trophy

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Bruno Bastos celebrates trophy in Houston. Photo: personal archive.

Bruno Bastos had an emotion-filled weekend, during the Houston Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Besides making it onto the winners’ stand yet again, he got to see students of his like Daniel Vejaque, who despite a handicapped arm, submitted all his opponents. To cap off Bastos’s performance as an athlete and teacher, he took his first team trophy at an IBJJF event ever since the black belt moved definitively to the USA.

Here’s what he had to say:

“Last weekend was an emotional one for me.

Sure I’d won a few titles in local events as a trainer here before, but it is only complete when it’s an IBJJF team trophy.”

“After sixteen months of work, I managed to lead Nova União to 2nd place overall at the Houston Open. I consider that an extraordinary feat in such short time. Of course, without the help of my associates (Octagon MMA, Team Lutter, Peak BJJ, Alvarez BJJ, Trinity MMA and Evolve BJJ) and all the athletes who trained so hard, like Daniel “Jacaré” Almeida, who led the athletes in the final phase of training while I was in Portugal to compete at the European Open and then in Brazil to promote my students, none of it would be possible. I can’t forget to mention Robson Moura and Gustavo Dantas, who is the person I model myself on here in the USA, with the serious work he does leading the whole of Nova União.”

“Finally I felt empowered and that I’m contributing to him fulfilling our objective, which is to make it back on the podium as a team at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship.

“Now on the individual standouts at black belt, I had Daniel Jacaré, who closed out the ultraheavyweight division with me and took bronze in the absolute, not to mention Daniel Alvarez, who won the master featherweight and took silver in the absolute master.”

“Among the girls, all of them took gold, with Yasmin Soto standing out at blue belt ultraheavyweight and Danielle Alvarez, who won the featherweight blue and took bronze in the absolute. Keep an eye on her, she’s only sixteen.”

Daniel Veja overcomes any challenge with Jiu-Jitsu.

“In the juvenile division, Levi Mowles won another IBJJF event and has a good future ahead of him. Still a blue belt, Loronz Marion won silver at middleweight master, but went back in full steam to take the absolute winning four wars.”

“Last but not least, at purple belt, Johnny Cross won the senior 1 heavyweight with two submissions and the sensational Daniel Veja, who with only one arm submitted his two opponents in the lightweight master division and won another gold medal. The guy is awesome and don’t be surprised if soon he gets a medal in the adult division; that’s what we’re working toward.

“Now I can hardly wait to help the team at the Pan and then go for first at the Dallas Open in May. We’ll have a big training camp here in Dallas for the Worlds, me and Rodrigo Feijão.”

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