Bruno Ewald, founder of Longman Jiu-Jitsu and former Pan American gold medalist, helped his team capture four medals at the latest Pan American Championships in Los Angeles.
The event, considered by many as one of the strongest competitions in the world, second only to the Mundial world championships held annually in Brazil, has been dominated by Kauaians in recent years.
“I am very proud of my team, they trained hard for this event six nights a week, sometimes as much as four hours daily. The team is now training to go the world championship in Brazil in July,” Ewald said.
Ewald is a second-degree black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under team Gracie Humaita and four-time world champion Royler Gracie.
Kalaheo’s Jake Scoval earned a gold medal in the super featherweight blue belt division.
Although he injured his shoulder in the first match, Scoval continued to fight on his way to gold.
Wainiha’s Nick Arnold also nabbed a gold medal in a close hard-fought match.
He competed in the juvenile blue belt division and was paired against Reylan Gracie (son of the legendary Rorian Gracie) in the finals.
Koloa’s Luke Hacker, who won a gold medal last year, grabbed a bronze medal in the lightweight purple belt division in 2006. Hanalei’s Aaron Moeller, an instructor at Longman Jiu-Jitsu, submitted two of his opponents on his way to a silver medal in the brown belt lightweight division.
“It was good to see that our jiu-jitsu was competitive at such a high-level event,” Moeller said.
Moeller was part of the first-ever United States Jiu-Jitsu team two years ago.
Longman has recently opened a school in Kona and currently has schools in Princeville, Koloa, and soon to be in Lihu‘e.
In state competitions last year, Longman placed second only to Relson Gracie’s team, which has eight schools on O‘ahu.
Kipi Akana’s “Knockout” Hawaiian clothing line sponsored the Longman Jiu-Jitsu team at the Pan American competition.
“I try to do whatever I can to support Kaua‘i’s youths,” Akana said.
The team is looking for sponsors for its upcoming trip to Brazil for the world championships in July. Call Aaron at 634-0141 for more information.
• Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or email@example.com.