Saturday, February 24, 2007

Gracie students learn discipline, defense

By Joshua Chase

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been gaining popularity in recent years, with the success of organizations like the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Pride Fighting Championship.

In Pahrump, students train with the Carlson Gracie Team and learn some pretty valuable lessons.

Their instructor, Steven Cantwell, is more than qualified to teach those lessons. A black belt in Muay Thai Kick boxing and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Cantwell is undefeated in professional mixed martial arts fighting. He also has contracts with UFC and WEC.

For students, Cantwell said the school's most important offerings aren't trophies and belts. Rather, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on self-defense. And because street fights don't follow the same rules as most martial arts, Cantwell says, learning to grapple can be life-saving.

"Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most complete martial arts because it's pretty much a fact that 99 percent of all fights end up on the ground," Cantwell said.

Parent see other benefits, too. Marla Desmoni says the martial arts keep her kids, 11-year-old Anthony and 8-year-old Alyssa, from going down "the wrong path.

"I just think this teaches them more self-control and focus," Desmoni says. "My kid's more concerned with jumping rope at night than hanging out with his buddies at the arcade."

The three-year-old program was established by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fourth-degree black belt Ricardo Cavalcanti, who also owns a school in Las Vegas and trained under Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Carlson Gracie. Currently, Cavalcanti's students train at the Pahrump Valley High School wrestling team's gym.

The school has tentative plans to hold a mixed martial arts summer camp in Las Vegas. There, students will learn about diet and nutrition, first-aid and safety, weightlifting, exercise, mental preparation and self-defense.

For more information on the Carlson Gracie Team or the planned summer camp, call Gerald "Bear" Smith at 775-553-1081.

Tournament results
Six members of Pahrump's Carlson Gracie Team competed Feb. 10 at the North American Grappling Association's Vegas Grappling Championship.

Each of them placed in the tournament. The tournament was divided up by age and experience and students wrestled both with GIs (uniforms) and without them.

Intermediate Division
Bobby Lane, 13,placed second in GI competition and second in no-GI competition.
Hannah Lane, 11, placed second in GI competition and second in no-GI competition.

Beginner's Division
Anthony Desmoni, 11, placed second in no-GI competition.
Alyssa Desmoni, 8, placed fourth in no-GI competition.
Logan Ancell, 11, placed first in GI competition and second in no-GI competition.
Austin Ancell, 7, placed third in GI competition and fourth in no-GI competition.


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