International recognition for Toti MMA coach

2015-11-25 06:23
Photos: SUPPLIED Roberto Atalla, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt World Champion and Rio Grappling Club head coach (left) with Morné Swanepoel at the Combat Coaching gym.

Photos: SUPPLIED Roberto Atalla, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt World Champion and Rio Grappling Club head coach (left) with Morné Swanepoel at the Combat Coaching gym.

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COMBAT Coaching’s Morné Swanepoel received his black belt in Jiu-Jitsu from international visitor, Roberto Atalla, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt World Champion and Rio Grappling Club head coach last week.

Atalla visited the Combat Coaching Gym and conducted specialised training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the ground- fighting aspect that Mixed Marshal Arts (MMA) has evolved from.

Atalla said Swanepoel is the local representative for Rio Grappling Club and they have been working together for more than three years. Atalla started participating in the sport to protect himself from bullies and has been involved in the sport for the past 25 years.

The Rio Grappling Club was established in 2003, inside SOAS University of London and is now in more than 23 countries and close to 150 schools worldwide. Commenting on the sport in our country, Atalla said the standard is high and the discipline and commitment are “second to none”.

“I have been following MMA in South Africa since 2007, and the progress is noticeable, and specifically in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the technical level has improved a lot and is not behind most European countries, but there is a lack of competition experience which can only be dealt with by more local competitions and fighters travelling overseas and competing abroad,” Atalla said.

He was optimistic about the growth in the sport, saying the EFC is growing and some MMA fighters are competing and doing well overseas, but of course there is much work to be done both in MMA and in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu­. Atalla said his focus is on improving the technical level and addressing issues to improve his students and try help them to attract and keep more people in the gyms.
“With a larger number of people, the level will rise naturally.”

Atalla, who is visiting South Africa for seven weeks, said he loves the beautiful landscape, biltong and the waves in Jay Bay. - Supplied.

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