Tak­ing down the op­po­si­tion

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

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.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The Marcelo Lopes Brazil­ian Jiu Jitsu team is ranked among the top 10 teams in New Zealand.

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