There’s a saying that goes, “The presence of greatness inspires greatness.” If this is indeed the case, then I wouldn’t be surprised if we witnessed a Filipino jiu-jitsu extraordinaire in the near future.
Last weekend, a revamped locally-run jiu-jitsu team brought in two top notch black belts to share their knowledge in an open seminar. And since “top notch” as a description has been devalued because of its constant, and at times, unwarranted use in modern day lingo, allow me to explain what I meant.
Brazilian Japanese brothers Marcos (27) and Satoshi (22) De Souza have been making a killing in competitions for the last five years, success that has been brought about by a lifelong dedication to jiu-jitsu. Having Adilson De Souza as a father, who was himself a respected black belt, the brothers and their three other siblings took to the sport like fish to water. The quality training since the tender age of five has allowed the brothers to assert themselves at the forefront of a new generation of jiu-jitsu stars.
Marcos is the reigning Asian champion, while younger brother Satoshi, despite being a black belt for less than a year, has shocked numerous well-respected World Champions en route to capturing the European Championship and just recently, the very prestigious Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-jitsu Championship in the under 76kg category. Quite simply, the two are a depiction of the cutting edge of the sport in the world today.
Origins BJJ, headed by accomplished Filipino black belt Mike Vives, were responsible for spotting the duo and bringing them in to share their knowledge — a move that they say is just the launchpad for many more visits from the best jiu-jitsu fighters in the world. Being as the Philippines is already the most accomplished in the South East Asian region, the consistent influx of world-class talents will undoubtedly be a huge step in fulfilling ambitions to conquer Asia and perhaps further down the road, even the world.
In fact, we might be a lot closer to achieving such goals than we think, as Satoshi says of his training with Origins BJJ, “They’re a very good team, with very good movement. They are a great group, but in jiu-jitsu, it’s important to be absolutely perfect at all times, and we found some small things that we helped them improve on.”
Such high praise from Satoshi, shouldn’t be taken lightly, as the 22-year-old, despite his young age, is a master in the sport. Training twice a day since he was five, the highly accomplished man admits, “If I don’t train for one or two days I feel bad. I need to train everyday. It’s torture when I’ve been kept out of the gym with injuries. Jiu-jitsu is my life and I love it.”
The book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell states that 10,000 hours practicing a specific task is needed in order to become an expert in any field. Well if that’s to be believed than, my math tells me Satoshi’s accumulated almost twice the necessary time needed to be deemed an expert, and his youth points to the fact that he’s still got his best years ahead of him. Scary.
The Abu Dhabi champion’s continued development might be bad news for other competitors, but it will be to the benefit of Philippine jiu-jitsu, as Satoshi admits he “really likes this place”, even adding, “I love the really hot weather here because in Japan it’s always cold.” And with Origins BJJ revealing the De Souza brothers will likely be coming back to share more knowledge in the future, it seems a sure bet that those who missed out the first time will be getting a second opportunity. Except on that occasion, the two will likely be even more accomplished.
With the nation’s level constantly improving, and such world-class talent at the Filipino jiu-jitsu fighter’s disposal, it shouldn’t come as a shock if the Philippines starts making some serious waves in the sport soon.
Josue Jamlang covers football and MMA for InterAKTV and announces matches for AKTV on IBC. Follow him on Twitter for more MMA discussion.