Willpower. Working his way from the favela to the top of the podium, Jonata Gomes understands what willpower means. This Checkmat brown belt is a five time Brasileiro champion, and most recently won the Atlanta Open. Hailing from Cantagalo Brazil, he and brother Jansen both now train in California under Leo Vieira.
While some may train for personal gain, he does it for his family. Let's get to know Checkmat brown belt Jonata Gomes.
Name: Jonata Gomes Ramos
BJJ Tees: Where are you from and where do you currently train?
Jonata: I'm from Brazil, in the community of Cantagalo, and I'm currently training in America!
How long have you been training?
I have been training Jiu-Jitsu since age 16!
How did you get involved in Jiu-Jitsu?
I got involved in jiu jitsu through my father. He already trained, and one day he took me to the gym to watch the training. The teacher asked if I wanted to attend the class. I didn’t want to and I started to cry. He told me, it's OK! You can join in the game. So I played with the other kids. The next day, I went to the training. I did my first lesson with a little fear, but I could do it, and after that day I never stopped.
How much do you train every week? How is your daily schedule?
I do two to three workouts per day, a week of around 15 or 18 workouts.
What are some of the challenges you faced throughout your journey as a competitor?
I think, for people coming from a favela, we are always facing the same challenges. Things are a little more difficult. But I think this gives me the willpower to continue on this journey in search of my goal.
What motivates you?
Certainly my greatest motivation comes from my family that is always with me in good and bad times.
Who are your inspirations in Jiu-Jitsu?
I have many inspirations and idols in Jiu-Jitsu: Jackson Sousa, Léo Vieira, Ricardo Viera, and Thiago Sá Fortes, among other athletes.
What are some of your goals for the future?
My greatest objective is to give a better life to my family. To give a worthy life to my mother, that is my main objective.
Do you have any hobbies outside of Jiu-Jitsu?
I really like to play football, and to go to the beach and get waves! I'm a person who can not stand still for long. I always want to be doing something, whether it's training or having fun.
What are some of your favorite foods to eat?
I really like churrasco, pizza, hamburgers, Japanese food, and cake! Among other foods .. Hahaha.
What is some advice you would give to other guys or girls who want to try Jiu-Jitsu?
I think the first thing is to believe. Have enough willpower, train hard, and stay focused on what you want.
Anything else you want us to know about you?
In the future, I dream of having my own gym. I want to help people and be able to live on Jiu-Jitsu!
You can follow Jonata on Instagram @jonatagomesbjj .
by Nikki Sullivan