Vanderson Gomes of Gracie Barra St. Louis is winding down the 2011 year, while already gearing up for the 2012 tournament season. The master’s division black belt is currently training and preparing to fight in the adult division next year. In 2011, he reached a level of success that has led him to believe he can still compete at that level.
At the 2011 American Nationals, Vanderson won silver in his ultra heavy weight division for the gi and silver again in his no gi weight division. He then clinched gold in the no gi open class. At the North American Championship, he won gold in his ultra heavy division and silver in the open class. At the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, Vanderson was a double gold winner, winning both his division and the absolute. He received a bronze medal at the 2011 No Gi Worlds in his weight class.
The interesting thing is that he didn’t get in a whole lot of training time in 2011. Vanderson says with all of his working and teaching responsibilities, it hasn’t been easy making time to train for tournaments. To add to that, in November, Vanderson moved from GB Costa Mesa in California to GB St. Louis in Missouri and became the head instructor there. Vanderson is also an IBJJF referee, so when he’s at tournaments, he has to ref all day and compete in between.
“It requires a lot of mental and physical focus and preparation,” the 32-year-old says of trying to keep it all together, “Now, I train after my students leave. I don’t have time to relax. I just change my clothes and get ready to go, but I am ready to start competing back at the adult level. I’m training hard every day, all day. I’m doing a lot of running and other cardio activities. I also work on specific training for grappling, which is known as Greco Roman.”
Vanderson says his goal for 2012 is to be faster and lighter, so he can succeed in his fights. He is hoping he can repeat some of the same successes he had in 2011. “I just want to do my best and improve myself each time I train and compete,” he says, “I have the energy and motivation to keep working hard. So, I’ve now decided to focus on all the big 2012 tournaments, competing at the adult level. I know I’ll have hard fights, but I’m ready for whatever is coming! There are no victories without sacrifices. So, I’m giving my best, and training up to my limits. When the time comes, I will be able to show our Jiu-Jitsu art on the mats. That’s the place where the street fighters should be, instead of fighting or killing innocents out there.”