One of the secrets to the European Open’s success is the collaboration between the IBJJF and the local promoters. On the front lines in the effort is the Portuguese Jiu-Jitsu Federation (FPJJB), headed by black belts Kiko Alves da Silva (president) and Diogo Valença (vice-president). Ever since 2004, the Portuguese entity has worked alongside the IBJJF in producing the third most significant championship on the gentle art calendar. To unearth some more of the story, we had a conversation with Diogo Valença.
During the laid-back chat, the black belt and leader of Gracie Barra Paço dos Arcos remembers the European Open’s start back in 2004, reveals the difficulties and challenges he overcame throughout the past seven installments, promises new features, recalls good and not so good moments and being the dedicated host he is, recommends can’t-miss trips around Lisbon and its adjacent areas. Coming up, an exclusive interview with the black belt who got his start in judo, has been training since 2000, was once a rock and roll bassist, and now is practically a gentle art executive.
Check out the GRACIEMAG at the European Open Blog to find out all the behind-the-scenes news from the big event first hand.