Christmas at home for Brazilian jiu-jitsu sensation

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MacKenzie returns to Truro for much-deserved break

Lyle Carter

Jake MacKenzie, a young man from Truro, is well known and highly respected in Brazilian jiu-jitsu circles.

Jake MacKenzie, middle, shares his jiu-jitsu gold medals with Greg Johnston, left, and Paul Clark, owners of Inglis Jewelers. The store is MacKenzie's main sponsor, allowing him to stay in Brazil for months at a time to train.

Jake MacKenzie, a young man from Truro, is well known and highly respected in Brazilian jiu-jitsu circles.

MacKenze is ranked eighth in the world among middleweights by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation and is the only Canadian in the top 100 rankings.

The past year has been an amazing one for the athlete, who competes in the 181-pound division. The first-degree black belt won two Brazilian national titles while also winning international open competitions in Chicago, Sao Paulo and Florida. In recent months he won 12 gold medals, three silver and two bronze.

"Winning the Sao Paulo Open was a highlight," MacKenzie said. "That was a big one for sure. Sao Paulo is one of Brazil's biggest cities and one of the toughest places in the world to win. There were probably 1,000 competitors in all the classes at that event."

The two national titles were won in Rio de Janeiro and gave MacKenzie five Brazilian national titles for his career.

"Jiu-jitsu is a big sport in Brazil," MacKenzie said. "For me, a foreigner, it was like having a dream come true enjoying this success."

MacKenzie recently arrived home from Rio de Janeiro for a much-deserved break.

"Truro looks really good to me," said the 28-year-old. "It is good to get home for a break. I'm looking forward to spending Christmas with my father Gary, my mother Jane and my sister Mary Beth."

Soon after arriving home, MacKenzie headed for Inglis Jewellers on Inglis Place in Truro to thank the bald boys - Paul Clark and Greg Johnston, the store's owners.

"Paul and Greg have been helping me out for the past seven or eight years," MacKenzie said. "These guys have been my main sponsors and they are the best you could ever ask for. I could never have competed and accomplished what I have without Paul and Greg's tremendous support."

Clark said he and his business partner have been very pleased with the working arrangement.

"Greg and I are both gratified as supporters," Clark said. "Jake is a talented young man and he certainly brought back the hardware from Brazil to prove it. Jake is such a nice young man. He is very humble and one of the top athletes in the world in his chosen sport."

Added Johnston: "We think a lot of Jake. We want to help him continue on with his career and accomplish what he wants in life. Jake has such a good outlook, you can't help but notice."

Besides a busy schedule competing, MacKenzie, who speaks fluent Portuguese, teaches young people.

"I teach a jiu-jitsu kids program in Brazil," MacKenzie said. "All my classes are in Portuguese. I work this in with my three training sessions per day. My intention is to focus on training and competing for the next four or five years, but after that my goal will be to teach, coach and develop athletes."

MacKenzie resides in a neighbourhood called Meier, near Rio. His residence is upstairs above a gym.

"Besides training at this gym I also travel 40 minutes by bus to a gym Vila Isabel. I meet all kinds of people from all over the world in the gym. It is great to learn about the cultures of other countries and to make friends with people from all over."

MacKenzie said Brazil is beautiful, boasting outstanding beaches and scenic mountains, accompanied by temperatures usually between 25 and 45 degrees Celsius.

Planning an extended Colchester County visit, MacKenzie will return to Rio de Janeiro in mid April.

"I suffered a knee injury during a recent match. My knee cap came out of place. Besides giving it rest I'll be under the care of Patrick Legge, a friend and massage therapist. I've been treated for injuries all over the world and Patrick is one of the best people to ever work on me."

We wish MacKenzie a full recovery and a joyful and meaningful Christmas with family and friends.

Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.

 

Organizations: International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Truro Daily News

Geographic location: Truro, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Sao Paulo Chicago Florida Colchester County

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  • melanie macpherson
    December 15, 2013 - 09:38

    nice to see local talent thrive in Truro ! Hope to see Jake at MAR MAC ?