The phrases “the sport changes lives” and “jiu-jitsu is a family” are well-known by fans of the sport, however, in the case of black belt Fernando Bonato, they are even more important. Currently 40 years old and a 2017 black graduate, Fernanda lives in San Diego, California (USA), where she trains and works as a volunteer teacher at Rafael Dallinha’s RADA Jiu-Jitsu Academy. However, the walk to get there is not easy.
“I started training out of passion in 2006. I remember taking a class and there was only one girl, she was skinny and a little shorter than me. I struggled a lot in my youth because I was skinny. t athletic, I have asthma, so “It was hard for me to play sports, this girl ‘knocked’ me in class, but at the same time I was frustrated and wanted to learn and show that girl later so I could beat her,” recalls Fernanda, who continued:
“At that time I had to go from Santa Catarina to Curitiba, where I met the master who guided me along my Jiu-Jitsu path from Checkmate to Sebastián Lalli. Leo Vieira started the team. The opportunity to learn from them not only martial arts, but how to become a better, more empathetic and resilient person.
From that moment on, Fernanda realized her passion for Jiu-Jitsu and the benefits she could gain from it, as well as started building her “Tatami Family”. Faced with parental and financial issues, the black belt discovered the delicate art of acceptance and felt she was a part of something, and today she is reaping the benefits of a life-changing decision.
In 2016, after ten years of dedication to Jiu-Jitsu, the Brazilian decided to move to California (USA) in search of better opportunities. Although still far from her goals, Fernanda works hard to achieve them.
“When I moved I had the chance to meet Rafael Tallinha and he welcomed me to his group Rada Jiu-Jitsu in a small academy located in growing La Jolla. Support to get my work permit here. I know everything. There are difficulties in making such a dream come true, but the degree As with gaining or competing, you have to be patient through emotions, worries, injuries. Being a black belt, I learned to never give up”, the athlete said:
“When I came to California, I couldn’t speak English fluently, so I had to dedicate myself and study a lot to learn how to express myself and communicate with the local people. It was a huge challenge. Participating in Jiu-Jitsu classes here. The Americans helped me a lot, not only with the martial arts, but also with the local language. “I made many friends who added to my learning. Devoting all these years to this art has made me a more determined and disciplined person to achieve any goal. My self-esteem and confidence in life has increased impressively,” he added.
Finally, Fernanda Bonato revealed her plan to stay in America and make a living from Jiu-Jitsu: “Next year I will finish my training course and look for a job while improving my English and Jiu-Jitsu. I want to practice the gentle art until my last days on this planet, because in my dreams, “It showed me that regardless of gender, color, race or nationality, if you dedicate yourself, it will bring you immeasurable strength to your mind and heart”, concluded the Brazilian, showing that with determination, you can achieve your goals.
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