Taking down the opposition
A Marlborough martial arts team is among the best in the country after winning a huge haul of medals.
The Marcelo Lopes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team travelled to Auckland last weekend for the New Zealand Nationals Grappling tournament.
Winning a total of 16 medals, the team is ranked among the top 10 teams in New Zealand.
The Blenheim club was one of 35 teams from across the country to take part in the biggest competition of its kind this year.
The tournament was a family affair for club owner Marcelo Lopes and his son Lucas Lopes, both winning coveted belts. Blenheim from Brazil in 2005 and he started a gym 10 years ago, mainly focused on adult classes.
But the third degree black belt realised there was potential for the class to help children and his junior classes have become hugely popular.
‘‘It’s a great way for the kids to learn important skills such as co- ordination, self-discipline and social awareness, while being physically active.
‘‘The Marcelo Lopes Team is very proud of all our children and adults who competed in this national tournament, the high level of technique shown by all clubs and competitors shows how much Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has grown in New Zealand.
‘‘I am so proud of them all,’’ he says.
Brazilian jiu jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that teaches people how to defend using leverage and proper technique.
Marcelo says the national competition was a good chance for his team to showcase their skills. Team competitor Waiariki Marsh won the blue belt in the 64kg division and Gase Sanita took double gold in the women’s purple belt division as well as winning the absolute women’s division.
Gase will head to Bahrain later this year to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation Worlds competition.
The Marcelo Lopes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team is ranked among the top 10 teams in New Zealand.