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The battle of the best submissions

A shark: a complete animal that not only brings its prey to submission but to ultimate defeat.

The shark moniker brands Gracie Jiu-Jitsu after Relson Gracie, a Brazilian fighter whose style of fighting is taught at a Jacksonville jiu-jitsu school.

Remo Kousins, a UNF marketing senior, and Sam Kanadilo, a UNF civil engineering senior, not only practice their skills at the school but are leaders in planning the North Florida Regional Gracie Tournament.

Kousins and Kanadilo are the president and vice president of the UNF Grappling Club, respectively. Grappling is a type of submission jiu-jitsu artists perform in order to get an opponent to tap out, Kanadilo said.

Both Kousins and Kanadilo said they want jiu-jitsu to become a collegiate sport, and that’s why they are hosting such a large tournament. Because Gracie will referee the tournament, and Daniel Moraes, a five-time jiu-jitsu champion, and Phil Cardella, a World Extreme Cagefighter, will be in attendance.

“The people we’re bringing in are pretty much a big deal,” Kousins said.

Kousins said because of all the work the Grappling Club has put into hosting this tournament, the club has worked harder than the UNF athletic teams have.

He said the upcoming tournament is the largest at the university level. And not only are college-aged Gracie jiu-jitsu artists from the Florida universities competing, but many schools such as Ludus Martial Arts in Jacksonville to jiu-jitsu schools all over the Southeast will compete, as well.

With achievements such as placing first in the men’s No-GI — or, no uniform — intermediate feather weight and second in the No-GI intermediate welter-weight competition at the North American Grappling Association U.S. Nationals Feb. 12, Kousins and Kanadilo will also compete in the tournament in their respective classes.

The recognition comes from the time the two put into the sport. Kanadilo said he and Kousins train at Relson Gracie Jacksonville four times a week under Moraes, and in the past, the Grappling Club met three times week, but now it only meets on Fridays.

The club mainly focuses on Gracie jiu-jitsu, and about 29 students make up its membership, which is a perfect club size, Kanadilo said.

Seeing friends train in jiu-jitsu inspired the pair to start it themselves. Kousins said his friend trained at a Gracie school and decided he wanted to do it, too. He said he practiced martial arts for all of his life, and he’s a fan of Mixed Martial Arts and Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Kanadilo said he originally started out with taekwondo, practiced it for eight years and even went to nationals, but he moved to jiu-jitsu four years after one of his friends put him in weird submissions.

He said jiu-jitsu helps build muscles and makes use of every muscle.

Regardless of how they place in the tournament, Kousins and Kanadilo will move on to a world’s event in Long Beach, Calif., with fellow club member David Daniels in July.

While he didn’t want to brag, Kousins is confident in his future in jiu-jitsu.

“I will become a world champion,” Kousins said.

The North Florida Regional Gracie Tournament goes down Saturday, April 2, at 9 a.m. in the UNF Arena. There will be a weigh-in scheduled for April 1 at Pulse Fitness April 1. Anyone interested in Gracie jiu-jitsu can check out the UNF Grappling Club in the UNF Arena, room 1062 on Fridays at 7:30 p.m.

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    annoyamousApr 3, 2011 at 8:44 am

    You should be brave and print the true opinions here. But I see you deleted my comment. Too bad.

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    annoyamousApr 3, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Oh, and one mediator said, “Hey, that wasn’t a face scrunch,” like they didn’t even see what the kid was doing to the other kid and like I didn’t even see the boy was holding his nose and face because it hurt extremely badly. And believe me, I know this kid, he’s tough, never throws in the towel. Well as a consolation, the boy did well in the tournament but it just didn’t seem at all like a correct move stated by the rules in the beginning. And the other boy, I really don’t think he knew by his position what he was doing, but, the mediator sure did. He saw it, unless he wasn’t paying attention. That would be a sad situation and my reasons for not going back valid.

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    annoyamousApr 2, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    I was very disappointed at the April 2 tournament. After hearing all the rules at the beginning of the tournament I thought that the rules would be followed, at least by the mediators. It seems, not by all competitors, but many competitors did not follow the rules and did illegal neck cranks, were not stopped or disqualified, among several other illegal moves that in the end, temporarily hurt some of the boys.

    I don’t really blame the boys in some of the bouts, they may not see what they are doing at times from their vantage point, except for a few neck cranks I saw that were deliberately trying to twist the head and pull from the body, due probably to the better skill of their opponent, and they wanted to win. Perhaps I’m not explaining myself correctly,a but a neck crank is to literally twist the neck up and to the side, very dangerous move. As well as other allowed moves, like stretching the neck up, out and forward so far that the chin hits the chest and pulled away from the body bent over so that one boy got a pulled muscle in his back from the stetch pull from his neck to his bent over spine. In the end of that bout, though, the child did win that had gotten the neck crank but suffered and wasn’t the same for the rest of the competition. I saw more than one neck crank too. I think he’ll need to heal that pull. But other’s in the competition were allowed other moves where I thought the boys weren’t supposed to smash each other in the nose, eyes and only push on the side of the face. I was thankful that the kid tapped out cause I thought I was going to see a broken nose. Well that rule didn’t seem to be followed either.

    These illegal moves were allowed as if they never stated what wasn’t allowed in the beginning.

    Most definitely, I will not have the people I know attend this type of brutal competition again. Not very sportmanlike I feel.

    Of course, I would like to say that there were many very talented individuals at the tournament, that played hard and fair with great skill. This comment does not go out to any of them. Sometime speed and brute strength and hurting someone doesn’t always make a win or cut out the competition. Most of the time, skill and sportsmanship does. Does anyone remember the message of the Karate Kid? Whether it’s Jui jitsu or Karate, the message still stands.

    Toward the end of the tournament, I did see one young man with skill and sportsmanship that was calm, cool, collected, focused, and won! Making it look so easy when I knew it wasn’t by the sweat of his brow and the sweat of the other talented competitors brow in the blue belt division. That, was a great show of talent I enjoyed and will not soon forget.