Alliance’s Bernardo Faria (blue gi) applies a bow and arrow choke to CheckMat’s Antonio Carlos on his way to winning the super heavyweight black belt division at the 2012 IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
In 2011 Alliance BJJ won the “Grand Slam” of Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition: the European Championship, the Pans, the Brazilian Nationals, and the Worlds. Although Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu won the team title at the Europeans earlier in 2012, Alliance returned to their winning ways last weekend at the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Irvine, California. We sent Alliance leader Fabio Gurgel a few questions to get his thoughts on the event.
The FightWorks Podcast: Congratulations on Alliance’s gold medal in the Adult and Female divisions at the 2012 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Tournament. What was the event like from your perspective?
Fabio Gurgel: The Pan is the most difficult tournament in my point of view, there are many schools in California and so many athletes (more than 3200). Scoring points is always very hard in every division, but I think our team put out a good performance, not the best but enough to win.
The FightWorks Podcast: What is the one moment during the competition that you found to be most exciting?
Fabio Gurgel: Definitely the open division in purple belt, from the quarter finals to the end the level was pretty high with outstanding performances by the athletes from different schools. We managed to get the final but we lost. It was a pure demo of the modern jiu jitsu. Those guys will make a big noise when they get to black belt. I will follow all of them until there!
The FightWorks Podcast: Many competitors from teams outside Alliance were new faces to many in the audience. Did any of these newcomers’ performances catch your eye?
Fabio Gurgel: Many! As I told you before all those guys from the purple open division.
The FightWorks Podcast: What lessons did you and “Jacare” Cavalcanti take away from the event to prepare your team for the IBJJF World Championship in May? Any specific techniques or opponents you want to prepare for?
Fabio Gurgel: Every tournament we learn! I saw so many good guys and techniques and of course we will use this to prepare our team better for the Worlds. Jiu-jitsu is in constant evolution and we are 100% updated on what’s going on. There is no specific opponent – there are so many..LOL!
The FightWorks Podcast: Any last thoughts about the Pans 2012?
Fabio Gurgel: It was a nice weekend for us winning the adult division in both male and female but the other teams are getting closer and we are on “orange alert”. I’m back on the mats and we are starting the preparation for the Brazilian Nationals and Worlds that are coming up!
The FightWorks Podcast: The team that Alliance has created is inarguably the most successful team in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition in recent years, but knowing you and Jacare I imagine you still see room to improve. If you had a magic wand what would you do to make Alliance even better?
Fabio Gurgel: I wish I had a magic wand to freeze Marcelinho, Cobrinha, Malfacine, Lucas, Bernardo, Serginho, Leo, Tarsis, Michael and some others in their prime, but since we don’t have one we are here doing the same hard work in order to produce more guys like them to continue the dominance as long as possible!
The FightWorks Podcast: Parabens on Alliance’s performance, and see you at the 2012 BJJ World Championships!
Fabio Gurgel: Thank you Caleb and let me know if you need anything else. See you at Worlds!