Sunday, April 21, 2013

Leandro Lo and Marcos Souza: Abu Dhabi Pro 2013 Reflections

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The Cicero Costha representative, Leandro Lo, will compete as lightweight at Mundials:
"First, he needed to forget about the negatives, after leaving in the 2013 Pan in California without medals in his division nor in the absolute. After getting his head together, he made his game and won again in the land of sheikhs, in the final against old acquaintance Lucas Lepri. The gold came thanks to an advantage after he tried to pass the guard."

On his final with Lepri:
"We know each other well, we have done several finals in the lightweight division. Lucas is a very tough and technical guy, you can’t make mistakes against him or start the fight behind in the score. It is very difficult to gain points against him, on top or on bottom. What has helped me a that I have always managed to get my hands on the ground, it helps me with my base. He has a good guard and unbalances you a lot. I believe I won thanks to my base. I’ve been practicing my balance doing drills on the ball, in addition to base training with hands resting on the floor."

Marcos Souza on winning gold against Estima at Abu Dhabi World Pro 2013:
"When I woke up on the competition day I felt something different inside of me, I can’t explain. I had good energy and a lot of will to fight. When I qualified for the final, I watched my brother lose the semifinal to Leandro Lo in his weight. It was interesting, because at the same time I got sad, that made me stronger. I wanted so much to win for him because I didn’t want to see him completely sad. I just did enough to be the champion."
On the reality of winning at that level when ahead on points:
"Estima is a fighter who needs no comment, he has some of the most dangerous legs in the category. He is able to submit in any position...If he had swept me, for example, I would probably open the game to lead the score again. And if we fought standing up, I’d try a takedown. Anyway, at the end of the fight I even apologized to him. Victor told me: “If I was in your place, I would do the same thing. You knew how to manage the fight and won.” It was a major title at stake and I wanted to win more than ever. Regarding the takedown, I thought about pulling guard or letting him pull on me. I didn’t arrange anything and just went for it and took him down."
"What was your worst moment in Abu Dhabi?
Hitting the weight, I was eight kilos over and had to lose them in one day. It wasn’t easy. And also when I saw my brother lost, I got very sad.
What difficulties did you have until the podium? What happened?
The greater truth is that the fear of losing made me the champion. ...Organizers in Japan hadn’t allowed the Brazilians to fight the trial, they demanded permanent visa or a Japanese passport....With the help of my friend Douglas Santos, I enrolled on the last day. But my brother’s ticket was missing. We taught in seminars in Hawaii and raised the money. Even defending the championship, things weren’t easy for Satoshi. The result of it all is that there was a lot of running around, and we ended up fighting the tournament without training (laughs)! I was not prepared technically. "
What lessons have you learned?
None of this lasts long: the fights, the gold medal and the prize money. The medal will rust one day, the fights will be remembered by a few people and the money is almost gone (laughs). The most valuable in Jiu-Jitsu is the opportunity to live special moments forever. Whether at breakfast, a hotel, in practice all together and even in the sauna, in every corner you have fun. The friendship and the good times last forever. The rest is fleeting, there are people and moments in Abu Dhabi that I will carry in my heart forever. Some people don’t really know what Jiu-Jitsu can do in your life and give more importance to be the champion or to a simple gold medal. Another important lesson: if only a few believe in you, fight for the few who believe. It is for them that you should give your best, no matter what others say. The dream is yours, chase it."


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