Martial Arts Champion
Luis Felipe Ninja Pinto, a student at JCCC, was recently named a world champion by the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. All in all, it’s just one more way Pinto honors his Brazilian homeland and brings Brazilian culture to campus.
Pinto competed in Long Beach, Calif., in the light-feather division, where entrants must be 140 pounds or lighter. He fought the reigning Pan-American Games champion in a tight match where the judges ultimately decided the victor.
“I didn’t know I was champion until they lifted my arm over my head,” Pinto said. “It was a close match.”
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of martial arts that borrows from the Jiu-Jitsu of southeastern Asia with adaptations conceived in Rio de Janeiro almost 100 years ago. Pinto has been competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments for more than eight years. He’s taught the martial art for five years (to young and old alike) at the Brazil Academy in Lenexa.
“It takes discipline and teamwork. You certainly don’t win by yourself,” he said. “You need people to train you. You need people to push you. Also, there’s a self-improvement component.”
The title is the realization of a promise he made to his father in 2010. The elder Pinto was sick with cancer when his son promised to win the world championship for him. Unfortunately, his father died before he had a chance to see the promise realized.
“But I kept my promise,” Pinto said.
Pinto – or “Ninja” to his friends – has been taking classes at JCCC since 2005, concentrating on music and business. He’s president of the Capoeria Club, which promotes and performs the Afro-Brazilian martial art/dance. He’s also promoting the cultural play “Brazilian Mythology” sponsored by the JCCC Capoeira Club.
The play is at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, in Craig Community Auditorium (GEB 233). The public is encouraged to attend, and admission is free.“I am originally from Brazil,” Pinto said, “and I love sharing Brazil with other people.”