Gustavo “Sirizinho” Pires was the big name at the Chicago Winter Open, taking home with him two gold medals, one for the heavyweight class and the other for the absolute.
The Gracie Barra Mission Viejo teacher finished three matches with armbars and reaped some lessons. Furthermore, his win helped Gracie Barra to conquer the overall team title. The party was complete, as he remarks to come:
What did you learn at the Chicago Open?
I had three matches: the first against Frederick Ramie and the weight group final against Daniel Almeida, from Nova União. I won both by armbar. In the absolute I beat Davi Ramos from Top Brother, also by armbar. The big lesson to me is to always respect your opponents, be humble. That counts a lot when competing. It’s not that that will make you win, but you can be sure people will see you in a more positive light. Now I want to compete at all the IBJJF championships I can.
How’s life in California?
Life in California is great. The academy is growing here, with lots of new students. I am also teaching at GB Lake Elsinore now, I was invited and accepted this challenge as well. It’s really great to see the Gracie Barra family grow… I feel managing one’s own academy is a bigger challenge than winning championships, because in one way or another we deal with the lives of a number of people, the goal isn’t just to produce champions on the mat but off them as well. That’s a great challenge.