Items tagged Alliance Charlotte

Tagged as: Alliance Charlotte

One final push-NoGi Worlds 2016


As the end of the 2016 No-Gi season crept towards a close, all eyes turned to San Francisco-host city for the final event. The 10th edition of the IBJJF No-Gi World Championship would provide an opportunity for grapplers from all over to make one final statement, one last push to assert themselves in their respective divisions. All weekend the intensity was high as competitors hoped to add the life changing title of “world champion” to their resume(s).

Starting in 2007 with inaugural black belt champions such as Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, Jeff Glover, Pablo Popovitch and Roberto “Tussa” Alencar, the tournament has long been a place where grappling standouts come to shine. Grapplers from all walks of life, and all different teams come to San Francisco to prove their mettle, and to demonstrate that their grappling prowess isn’t only limited to the Gi. The IBJJF has long been known as the organization which houses the top competitors, and with this event being one of its premier No-Gi tournaments (along with No-Gi PanAms), the stage was set for more amazing performances. Within this field of historic grappling figures and future legends, a few competitors from Alliance Charlotte made the trip to the west coast and looked to make their own mark upon the sport, and to hopefully leave their names etched in history. Hot on the heels of their successes at local tournaments like the New York Open, Charlotte Open and national tournaments like No-Gi PanAms these few hoped to finish the year on a high note. As the weekend progressed, and increasingly more competitors were eliminated they continued to fight. Thru attempted sweeps and hail-mary submission tries by their opponents they battled, the memory of grueling training sessions and lessons learned fueling them to fight harder, to push until the end and to give it all they had. Though they were small in number, they fought as if the entire team were with them-determined to stake their claim as the best.

At the end of the weekend as brackets were analyzed and results checked and rechecked, three from Lepri BJJ-Alliance Charlotte stood tall on the podium. They had done it, fighting their way thru fields of talented and determined competitors they had reached the coda. Fighting until the very end they made sure to end their season on a high note, and what a high note it was with Roberto Jimenez becoming the blue belt No-Gi World Champion, Dean Lewis becoming the purple belt No-Gi World Champion, and Mike Schweiger becoming the brown belt No-Gi Silver Medalist.

On top of their amazing performances Team Alliance blackbelts had yet another great showing; Thomas Lisboa took 3rd place in the black/Adult/Male/Light-Feather division, Mansher Khera took 3rd in the black/Adult/Male/Light division, Jonathan T. Satava took Second in the black/Adult/Male/Middle category, Matheus Oliveira Diniz took Third in the black/Adult/Male/Medium-Heavy division, Ana Talita de Oliveira Alencar placed First in the black/Adult/Female/Feather division, Megan Ann Nevill placed Second in the black/Adult/Female/Medium-Heavy division, and Andresa Correa won gold in the black/Adult/Female/Heavy division in addition to taking 2nd in the Open Class

By: Kenneth Page

Athlete of the Month: Bruno Malfacine – 8x World Champion

One of the most beautiful parts of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the way in which it unites people from all walks of life. Once you step onto the mats it doesn’t matter where you come from, how much money you have means nothing, and the progress you make is a direct result of the effort and hard work you put in-nothing else. In that way, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be thought of as a fresh start. One person whom has accepted and embraced that new beginning is 8X World Champion- Bruno Malfacine. Always interested in martial arts but unable to afford the monthly fees Bruno went without, until his uncle stepped in. Seeing Bruno and his brother involved in a neighborhood fight their uncle decided enough was enough and brought them to an academy to start learning self-defense. Initially unable to support himself financially, it was this uncle that would change Bruno’s life, and unknowingly….the future of jiujitsu.

Always a great friend of the Lepri BJJ and Alliance family, Bruno was kind enough to spare some of his time and gracious enough to answer a few questions we had.

How old were you when you got your black belt. How long did it take you to attain it?

At 19 years old I received my black belt, it took me seven years to achieve it. And during those seven years I actually only took one break from training, and that was for six months. Besides that six months of being out I was training consistently 6 or 7 hours per day-everyday, and competing with everything that I had. My dream was always to be the best athlete in my division,  and even with so many struggles in my life, deep down I knew it would work out one day and it did!

Which of your world championships was most special, and why?

Every year while you are training for the worlds you have to overcome something. All of the hard work, the sacrifices you make,  you give up so many things to spend more time on the mat. Each one is special and means something to me. But I would say two are most special.  In 2012 I fought with a serious injury in my shoulder. I had to train the whole camp with a brace because my shoulder was popping out of socket so many times, sometimes twice a day, but I decided to compete anyway. Thank God nothing happened in the competition and I could win the tournament, right after I had the surgery. In 2015 during the winning of the 10th Alliance World Title. We had won the tournament before all of the black belt finals took place and the celebration was right before my final match. Being part of that moment was something REALLY special.

Who do you model your style after?

I have had the privilege to train with one of the best, if not the best instructor that our sport has, Fabio Gurgel. He has always given us all of the tools that we need to become the best. Besides that I have the best teammates with each one having a different style. I frequently train with and learn from all of them. I try to absorb something from each one, some new technique or even just a little detail that I see I can put into my game

You’ve won 8 world championships, whats next for you? What’s your ultimate goal?

Actually…..many people don’t know this but I decided to retire last year. All my friends knew, but I just did not make it public. I received a proposal to transition over to MMA, and because of that I was to dedicating my career only to MMA but things didn’t work out. After that setback my professor Fabio Gurgel and my friends started to motivate me to compete again. Fabio came to my house last year and we talked a lot. I remember I spoke with him and told him that I was going to compete again, and if I got 8 I would go for 10.  I’m just so competitive and it’s been like this my whole life, if I decide to do something I give 100% to make sure I will be ready to perform the way that I want, it’s going to always be like that.  But now I feel that I’m there more for my friends and students, to help them and see them reaching their goals instead of mine. It makes me happy and honestly satisfies me just as much.

What are your thoughts on the recent increase in submission only tournaments?

I love the submission only events. But to me, the problem is that so many competitors don’t embrace the idea/concept of the rules and that’s why we see so many draws. Most of them are fighting to not tap, and then they leave the mat happy because they didn’t tap, isn’t how I am. My first and only submission only event I fought against a tough opponent, almost 30lbs heavier than me. I did my best and fought well but I just couldn’t submit him. I left so frustrated that I couldn’t sleep for a couple of days. I felt the same as being defeated.

Would you be interested in any super fights? If so, who would you like to face?

There are definitely some athletes that I admire and that I would like to face one day. I’ve always been interested in facing Caio Terra in a NOGI match with submission only rules. He is a world champion so many times in NOGI and I would like to see if he’s as good as he is marking himself OR, he just won so many times because he’s lucky for not having so many guys in his division.

What’re you thoughts on IBJJF vs Submission-only competitions?

I’ve competed under the IBJJF my whole career. It’s great what they have been doing for the sport, working really hard to provide the best for the athletes. At the IBJJF you will see most of the competitors leaving everything on the mat because at the end there are no draws and there will only be one champion. You need to take  every risk to be number one. Though, as I said before the idea of submission only is great. They just have to create the best match up’s because that way even if the submission doesn’t happen we will be able to see a great entertaining match. Plus, the submission only events are trying to make the sport more professional by paying all of the athletes, which is fantastic.

The IBJJF is trying to do the same, I just think that instead of paying the PRO which is a completely different division, they should save that money to pay the most important competition, that being the World Championship.

Toughest person you’ve grappled against?

I think it’s unfair to say only one name when you’re part of the best team in the world, a team with so many phenomenal teammates. The only thing I can say is that a few times I wanted to cry because of the sequence of the rolls I had to do. 10 minute rounds with each, starting with Cobrinha, then Mario Reis, then Lucas Lepri, then Michael Langhi, then Monstrinho and Laercio.. it’s nothing easy. But, I’m blessed because I know without my team I couldn’t have gotten this far.

Who do you like to watch/ who’s your favorite grappler?

I could tell you a lot of names from my team but I will pick someone from outside. I really like to watch Rodolfo Viera competing. He’s so technical, with an aggressive style and he’s always looking for the submission. It’s the perfect combination.

Do you still plan on fighting mma?

I still think about it and I see myself as a champion If I decide to do. And I’ve been talking with some people….so maybe one day.


By: Kenneth Page

Fighting Fire with Confidence

With Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experiencing an uptick in popularity lately, many people are looking to the art for the first time and seeing what it can bring to their lives. Thoughts then turn to children and whether they too can benefit from jiujitsu. After all, there are countless advertisements touting BJJ as the ultimate form of self-defense-the antidote to bullying.  Parents see the choke defenses, headlock escapes, and sucker-punch counters and think “perfect, this style of self-defense can keep my child safe from bullies, WITHOUT teaching them to hit people”.

And it can, but perhaps not in the way those people originally thought. One of the main things that Jiujitsu does (especially in children) is to promote a different way of thinking. The constant physical contact and action-reaction based nature of jiujitsu helps to inspire confidence within its practitioners. Because you are literally always working with another person, and people are unpredictable by nature, you start to learn to constantly be aware, but not fearful. When rolling you learn to expose yourself less whilst protecting yourself more. You become confident in your ability to protect your space. You gain confidence in yourself knowing that you are able to protect yourself, regardless of what someone else does.

Jiu-jitsu WILL put you into situations that are unfamiliar, it WILL put you into positions that are uncomfortable, and it WILL force you to push past your limits time and time again. But because of that constant adversity, a certain intrinsic toughness is nurtured and brought to the forefront. With children often being referred to as “sponges”, this thought process is perhaps one of the most important things transferred to them. We transfer to children the ability to overcome their fear(s), we teach them that you don’t have to lash out when you’re fearful or nervous. Jiujitsu helps to teach patience and demonstrates that thrashing about in a stressful situation only serves to make the danger worse, and it shows this lesson is one that can be applied across many facets of our lives.

When we sign our children up for jiujitsu classes we are hoping that their instructors will teach them to protect themselves. Protect themselves from the physical threats; the mean kids, the bullies etc. But perhaps one of the best things they learn is the confidence to NOT react with violence. Because they learn that you don’t have to.


By: Kenneth Page

2016 Pan-American Championship

In the world of No-Gi grappling the No-Gi Pan American Championship is amongst the most prestigious. Usually drawing world-class competitors and teams alike, the 2016 edition of this event was no different. Team Lucas Lepri sent three athletes to compete at the event and incredibly, all three went on to earn medals. We spoke with the three to get a bit of insight into their thoughts and training habits as they reflected on their performances.

Dean Lewis: No-Gi Pan-Ams Champion (Roosterweight,Purple)

What was your training like the week leading up to this years No-Gi Pan-Ams? 

The entire last month before the competition I was training Monday-Saturday. Monday-Thursdays I would train twice a day and on Friday I would train once in the afternoon. I made sure each training session was very intense; I usually did 7 or 8 rounds of 8 minutes each. I tried to roll as hard as I could for at least 45 minutes every day. On Friday nights I would add in an extra drilling session and I also tried to mix in at least two Strength and Conditioning sessions per week. That’s all in addition to the drilling and technique I was doing with the team, which was about 45-50 minutes itself per day.

Going into first match did you have a plan in mind of what you were going to do? Or do you prefer to just react to what’s happening at that time?

I think that a lot of people (including myself) have their first action planned out. I may plan to either pull guard or shoot a takedown (depending on the situation), but after that it’s all just me reacting to my opponent and what’s going on at that specific moment.

At this point in your jiujitsu career you’ve competed quite a bit, do you still get nervous or feel any anxiety before you compete? 

I’m nervous every single time. Honestly every single time before a tournament I’m nervous, to the point where I can’t eat the morning of. But at this point I just know what to expect and how to deal with it, it’s part of the process to me. I listen to music and try to relax, just focus on myself and what I need to do.

Mike Schweiger: No-Gi Pan Ams Champion (Brown belt, super heavy)

What was your training like the week leading up to this years No-Gi Pan-Ams?

I actually trained mostly with the Gi for this tournament. 2 days per week I trained No-Gi. I trained every day (Monday-Saturday), and about 3x per week I trained in the morning and at night. I did about 45 minutes of technique and drilling per class, then about 50 minutes of live rolling. A lot of the drilling we did were full sequences, rather than just individual moves. I like to train it all; takedowns, working from guard, passing etc. You never know where the match is going to end up so I like to be prepared for anything that can happen.

What’s your opinion on the role of “team” in an individual sport like JiuJitsu? 

Well I grew up wrestling which is also considered a team sport. But in both sports team is absolutely essential, no one walks alone as they say. If you’re not in an environment that’s positive and where you’re constantly learning and being pushed and training partners that force you to evolve… won’t evolve. It’s easy to become stagnant, for negative people to pull you down and effect your mindset. So team is essential, being with a good team and a good group of people is priceless. It honestly makes a huge difference. Environment will effect you whether you think it does or not, so I think having a good team around is absolutely one of the most important things.

Fred Silva: No-Gi Pan-Ams Bronze medalist (Brown belt, lightweight)

What was your training like the week leading up to this years No-Gi Pan-Ams? 

I actually competed the week before No-Gi Pans at this year’s Atlanta Open. During that competition I made sure to take note of things that were working, and things that I struggled with and spent a lot of my time preparing by trying to fix some of my mistakes I had made, and trying to improve some of my weaknesses.

You’re a seasoned competitor at this point, do you have any advice for someone that may be feeling some nervousness or fear before they compete? 

You have to believe in yourself, you really do. Train hard, believe in yourself and never, never give up. Eventually things will work out, you just have to hang in there until that point.


By: Kenneth Page

The IBJJF comes to Charlotte and the Team comes together

It seems that nearly ever weekend there’s an IBJJF tournament in another major metropolitan city, from Los Angeles to New York and every place between the IBJJF is there. Conspicuously absent on that list of host cities however, was Charlotte. Until now that is. After the urging of competitors, coaches and teams, the International Brazilian JiuJitsu Federation announced that they would finally be bringing a tournament to the Queen City.

Hearing the news, the entire Lepri BJJ team immediately started preparing. Approaching only it’s second year in existence, this would be the first opportunity for everyone to go compete and support one another. The collective goal for the team was as short as it was simple: just do your best. Lepri BJJ members from all walks of life stepped onto the mats and tested themselves; from the most seasoned competitor(s) and champions, to those just looking to try competing for the first time, the Lepri team had it all.

As the day went on and the excitement in the building grew, the camaraderie amongst the team began to grow exponentially. Nervous pacing and mentally reviewing previous matches gave way to excited screams and encouragement yelled from the sidelines. In between matches teammates looked for any familiar face they could find to briefly meet and share match results from earlier in the day, before sprinting off to the next mat to other teammates competing. The importance of results and wins became secondary to supporting one another.

At the end of the day as results were tallied the same question was repeatedly asked, “so how did we do?” Everyone had become so engrossed in supporting one another and making sure they had fun, thoughts of results had gone by the wayside. Medals were produced and unofficial tallies were made. Slowly a number started circulating, “321”. People repeatedly asked, “is that good,” as the minutes slowly ticked by. Finally it was announced, “Alliance, 321 points. First place”.  Looks of shock slowly gave way to smiles and feelings of intense pride. With nothing more than the dedication of fantastic coaches, hard work, and supportive teammates the Lepri BJJ/Alliance Charlotte family had come together and taken the overall team championship in only its 2nd year of existence.


By: Kenneth Page