The first bevvy of burly Jiu-Jitsu fighters has already started arriving at Los Angeles international airport for the 17th Jiu-Jitsu Pan, coming up at the end of March.
One of them is head teacher at Gracie Barra Midlands, Victor “Carcarazinho” Estima, who arrived from England this week. Bearer of one of the sightliest Jiu-Jitsu games around these days, the medium heavyweight will make the most of the trip to teach some seminars (anyone interested can show up at GB Arcadia on Sunday, the 6th).
GRACIEMAG.com had a chat with Victor about Jiu-Jitsu in England and training with one of the biggest characters in the UFC, welterweight Dan Hardy, who has been brushing up on his ground game with Bráulio’s brother. Check it out:
How did the partnership with Dan Hardy, a hard core striker, start? What’s your assessment of his Jiu-Jitsu?
I live in the same city as Dan, and his team invited me to train with them. Right at the first training session we started setting up private training sessions, for him and two more UFC fighters: André Winner and Ross Pearson. Now we’re good friends, and I can tell you he’s a really determined guy. Dan’s Jiu-Jitsu has developed a lot in recent months, and I believe he’ll catch some people by surprise on the ground.
What are your MMA plans?
My plans are to compete as much as I can in the gi still; I’m pursuing a world title and I want to be champion of the ADCC this September in England. Soon after that I intend to focus on MMA. With the training I’ve been doing with those guys, I’m certain I’ll be real comfortable standing when I start in MMA.
How do you evaluate Jiu-Jitsu in England? To you, who are the best representatives of the art in the country?
We have a number of good fighters here, but the biggest standouts are two brown belts, in my opinion: Norbit Nowak and Luke Costelo. Luke won the European Championship and even beat Sheikh Tahnoon’s adoptive son in the weight group final.
And what about GB Pernambuco? Which of Zé Radiola’s students should shine in 2011?
There are a lot of tough guys over there. Bruno Alves is one, and he’s already doing well in competition this year. There’s William Martins, who just got his black belt but won everything at brown belt last year. And there’s always Lucas Rocha.
How are your preparations for the British Open on April 2 and 3 going?
It’s all going great. We expect a thousand athletes for the two days of the championship, in April. It will be the third year of the tournament, and it’s already the second biggest competition in Europe, only trailing the European Open.