The cheers of friends and families reverberated in the Kissimmee Florida’s Silver Spurs Arena, as the world's most talented young Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes gathered for the Pan Kids event. This two-day tournament, hosted by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), was held on July 23 and 24 and welcomed kids aged 4 to 15 to showcase their skills. Among the impressive list of competitors, the Gameness Pro Team brought three extraordinary athletes: Rody Soares, Ricardo Yoshito and Hank McCool.
Rody Soares, emerged as a shining star by claiming gold in the teen 3, green belt, medium-heavy division, cementing his status as a 5x Pan American Champion. Representing Gameness and the Carlsbad Jiu-Jitsu academy, Soares' journey to the podium at Pan Kids 2023 was nothing short of remarkable. As the largest BJJ tournament for kids in the world, the Pan Kids event drew top-tier competitors, and Soares' achievements speak volumes about his commitment and future in the sport.
At this year's tournament, Soares entered determined to add another Pan American title to his already distinguished resume. Throughout the competition, his tenacity and technical skills were on full display, captivating spectators, and fellow competitors alike.
In his first match, Soares faced a formidable opponent, but managed to beat him by 13-0. In the second and final match, his years of rigorous training and experience paid off as he executed a series of well-timed sweeps and was able to submit his opponent with a beautiful armlock. With this victory, Soares not only secured his 5th Pan American title but also accomplished an extraordinary feat by having won Pan Kids in all kids’ belt categories.
Two other Gameness athletes, Ricardo Yoshito and Hank McCool also fought for a spot on the podium in their respective divisions. Yoshito's gold medal in the teen 3, green belt, lightweight division made him a 2x Pan American Champion. Meanwhile, McCool's silver medal in the teen 1, yellow belt, light-feather division made a statement about his potential.
While the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu continues to flourish, Gameness anticipates witnessing the future success of Soares and his fellow Gameness Pro Team athletes as they continue to make their mark on the Jiu-Jitsu scene.