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Bruno Bastos talks adapting business for pandemic, says ‘we can still dream’ of competing in 2020

Bruno Bastos. Photo: Personal Archive

In times of pandemic, Bruno Bastos, 38, has had to reinvent himself to keep his students at Lead BJJ in Midland, Texas. With the dojo shut down, the black-belt has begun teaching his classes online, split between kids and adults, with livestreaming and technique videos on his Facebook page.

Besides this online contact, Bruno also chose to reward the loyal students who didn’t cancel or freeze their membership with free seminars.

“During this chaos that ravages the whole world, I’ve had to be strategic to bring the best to my students,” he said in a recent interview. “I learned to livestream, to manage Facebook groups and, chiefly, how to work on digital marketing. So this is the way I’ve been able to keep teaching my students without losing quality. We managed to answer some questions even as we are far away from each other. We’ve been able to realize, in practice, how the world is going to work from now on. We will pay more attention to online mechanisms to develop our work for our students. Now, also, due to the suspension of activities at the gym, I’ve already been able to reach an agreement for three seminars with Xande Ribeiro, Letícia Ribeiro and Jimmy Pedro — all free — for the students who didn’t cancel their memberships.”

Bruno went on to say it was necessary to armor his mind right at the beginning of quarantine — especially due to having to close his gym less than three months into operation.

“Like anything unexpected, the first reaction was frustration,” he said. “I had to practice what I’ve been teaching for years, which is to be comfortable in unfavorable situations. In spite of the bad period, I’ve only had positive thoughts in regard to all of it. I’ve always had to work for my dreams and goals, and this would not be the thing to stop me, for now. Soon I set out to produce online content for my athletes, and I’ve been doing a work of excellence. After all, this is also a way for the students to see how we can defeat hardship in life.”

With the IBJJF’s competition season on hold, Bruno remains hopeful about the rest of the year. “I have faith that some of the most important events will take place during this year of 2020, but the organizations depend on the academies going back to working normally, without restrictions. If there are any competitions in 2020, our focus will be on the World Championship, the Master Worlds and No-Gi Worlds. We will adapt as well as we can. Oss!”

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