3 promoted to BJJ Blue Belt

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HARD work paid off for Loretolyn Itibus, RayRay Santos and Pali Rovnan who were promoted to Blue Belt in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on Tuesday at the Trench Tech Gym.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Itibus, Santos and Rovnan have proven that they are still hard at work, rolling on the mats. Santos has been training for 12 years now. He started at Gracie Barra when it opened on Saipan in 2007. In late 2018, he brought his talents to Trench Tech where he has now earned his Blue Belt.

Itibus has shown her worth when she won a gold medal in November during The Art of War 14 at the Trench Tech Gym where she has been training for four years now.

Pali, for his part, has been consistently training with instructor and Trench Tech owner Cuki Alvarez for two years.

When asked about the promotions, Alvarez said, “It was just time! They improved tremendously over the past few years and it showed in their skill set and movements. They also were very consistent in training, even during the pandemic, and kept up with their solo drilling and work ethic.”

 BJJ Blue Belt promotee Loretolyn Itibus, center, down on the mat, goes through the “walk the gauntlet” tradition during Tuesday's BJJ class at the Trench Tech Gym. Contributed photo


Promotees Pali Rovnan, center, RayRay Santos, second right, and Loretolyn Itibus, second left, wear their blue belts as they pose for a photo with instructors Cuki Alvarez, right, and Clinton Dela Cruz, left, during Tuesday's promotion ceremony at the Trench Tech Gym. Contributed photo

Alvarez decided to hold the promotion ceremony before the start of class so that participants could show their support for the promotees.

After the ceremony, the promotees had to “walk the gauntlet.” Alvarez said it is a tradition in most BJJ schools. When adult students get promoted, the other students form a corridor, positioning themselves on each side of the mat. The promoted person walks slowly through them while his or her teammates use their belts to “whip” the promotee on the back.

Alvarez said this builds brotherhood and sisterhood and empowers the students’ fighting warrior spirit while instilling respect, tolerance and discipline.

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