CheckMat BJJ’s Lucas Leite has a lot of fans. At the 2011 No-Gi Worlds they could be heard cheering for him all around the Pyramid. When asked about their presence on Saturday, Lucas just shrugs his shoulders and says, “I teach at two different locations.” They must be two very large locations.
At the 2011 No-Gi Worlds, Lucas moved up two weight classes to compete at heavyweight, seeing as there were four of his CheckMat teammates in the medium heavy division. “My coach, Marcel Louzado, told me to go to heavyweight,” Lucas says, “I’m always training with big guys anyway, so I knew I could win. It’s easier for me in No-Gi.” And win he did, taking on three matches in his division. He won the first 6-2, the second 10-2 and then faced off with Roberto “Tussa” in the final.
Lucas and Tussa had come up against each other at the No-Gi Worlds two different times before, with them each taking a victory. Now the stakes were high, as they competed again to see who would claim the 2011 No-Gi Worlds champion title. The two tried to take each other down for a good part of the match, but it was the end of the match that counted most when Lucas attacked Tussa with a single-leg attempt. He was able to finish off the match 4 advantage points to 3 advantage points, resulting in a very close match.
Lucas, who turned 29 two days before the No-Gi Worlds, says this world title was a birthday present to himself. He hurt his wrist against Claudio Calasans back at the 2011 Pan, but says nothing could stop him on Saturday. He wanted this victory badly. And although he loves to win, he’s got a very balanced view overall about competing, winning, and losing. “Every championship is special,” he says, “Even losing one you have something to learn. I’m just going to keep competing for as long as I can put in a good performance. One day I will stop competing, but for now it’s a lot of fun to see old friends and I always have a great experience out here.”
Lucas, who’s been training for 15 years and is a first-degree black belt, has one more reason to celebrate. He just received his green card, so his other present to himself will be getting to go home to see his family in Brazil. “I haven’t been home in four years,” he says.
Lucas says he will now begin to lose weight for the Gi Jiu-Jitsu season coming up next year. He needs to lose about 10 pounds. He will also continue to focus on his teaching responsibilities, which he loves, and clearly, as shown by their presence at the No-Gi Worlds, his students love as well. “Teaching is my life,” he says, “I love teaching. My students are so supportive of me.”
Lucas would like to thank RVCA and Hakai and says next up for him are the San Diego World Pro trials – “I want to go to Abu Dhabi,” he says – and then the 2012 Pan.
Lucas and crew / Photos by Deb Blyth, homepage photo by Dan Rod