After 35 years of training and competing in jiu-jitsu, Alexandre “Soca” Freitas has seen the sport grow and evolve as much as anyone. That growth was on full display at the 2022 Jiu-Jitsu CON, where Soca competed at the World Master. “I started training and competing 35 years ago and I saw my Professor Carlos Gracie Jr. create the jiu-jitsu federation since day one and how he believed that jiu-jitsu would get to where we are. Jiu-Jitsu grew so much since then and not just for competitors but for regular people that don’t even look to compete. A lot more professors nowadays are teaching the jiu-jitsu that everyone can do. It’s amazing how big it’s getting. When I first started I never thought that we would get this amount of people training.”
Not only is jiu-jitsu constantly growing in terms of the number of practitioners, but also in the technical level of the athletes. “I see that everybody understands the techniques better and the new generation is learning jiu-jitsu so fast. I see kids nowadays having amazing jiu-jitsu with more physical movements than before.” Despite being a coach and competitor for so long, Soca is not one to rest on his laurels. He’s continued to evolve as the sport has grown and is constantly in the academy working on his game, and often his submissions. “The submission game is always a goal for me every time I train and compete. I work hard for it and I do a lot of specific training for this to happen.”
In the master 4 featherweight division at the 2022 World Master, Soca put his submissions skills to the test. In his four matches in the toughest masters competition in the world, Soca finished all his opponents by submission despite some physical challenges. “For this event I hurt my back two days before the competition and I was very nervous, but I won all four of my matches by submission. I’ve been submitting all my opponents since World Masters 2019 and I had 20 straight submissions including World Masters, Pans, and the New Haven Open.”
The submission streak and ensuing victories gave Soca his 8th World Master title, earning his first title in 2013. What made the event even more special was that he was able to win alongside his wife Samantha Freitas. Samantha won the master 4 heavy division and was also recognized for achieving the #1 ranking for master 4 females in a ceremony that took place during the event.
Soca shared some final thoughts on Jiu-Jitsu CON, an event that will go down in the history books as one that continues to unite the jiu-jitsu community. “It’s my favorite time of the year that I can try to improve my jiu-jitsu competition skills and see so many of my friends that I've known for more than 30 years. It’s a great event that I can bring my family and all ages of students to compete. The last few years all three of my kids competed at this event.”
If you want to train at one of Soca’s academies, you can find them in New York, San Diego, and Costa Rica. In closing, he discussed his association and its goals moving forward. “I’m one of the directors of the R1ng BJJ Team together with my friends Roberto “Gordo”, Mauricio “Tinguinha”, Márcio “Pé de pano,” and Regis Calixto. We bring our students and competitors to represent the team at IBJJF tournaments. And with just a few years of the team in existence we already conquered a lot of great results including third place at the 2020 World Master and much more.”
Visit ibjjf.com/events/results for full results for the 2022 Jiu-Jitsu CON and World Master events.