Not many people think of professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (“BJJ”) when considering careers to pursue, but for Brazilian native Lucas Valente, it was different. This professional “BJJ” fighter fell in love with the sport when he was just a little kid. Two of his uncles introduced him to the Brazilian style of fighting and helped him find his passion for it. And he has achieved great success in the sport and earned medals in competitions from around the world.
“I work hard all year around,” Valente said. “I don’t take much of an off season like they do in other sports. So, I’m pretty much ready all year. But if there are rule changes, I change my strategy during some time off.”
Valente works at the Gracie Barra Texas, located in Houston, training people as well as being trained. Jiu jitsu encompasses his life and he finds joy in it even after all these years of training. He loves the sport for the lessons you learn on the mat that can be applied in real life. Valente compares it to a laboratory, where you learn lessons and values which you then take out into the real world.
“Everything you learn on the mat is applicable to your life,” Valente said. “It doesn’t matter how good you are, how tough you are, you’re not going to have a perfect go on the mat every time. And living life is just the same.”
He stays on track to be the best he can be by being competitive with himself and with his competitors. He’s been obsessed with reaching his goals and being successful at whatever he does since he was just a kid. But that competitiveness is a double-edged sword, and he used to have a hard time dealing with failure or a loss. He’s gotten better at accepting it though, and takes it as an opportunity to improve in his sport.
“As cheesy as it sounds, you fail to succeed, and then you succeed even more,” Valente says. “Sometimes failure is taking one step back to take several steps forward. I focus on each failure to learn the most I can from it to improve my skills in Jiu jitsu.”
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