Bethany martial arts academy boasts two world jujitsu champs

On Aug. 28, two Oklahomans fought for a piece of history in Brazilian jujitsu's biggest tournament, the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Long Beach, Calif. Rafael Lovato Jr. was trying to become only the second non-Brazilian in history to win a championship as a black belt.

He wasn't alone, either: His training partner, Norman's Justin Rader, had clawed his way up to the featherweight championship match in the purple belt division.

Both won, giving Oklahoma two world champions in the sport from the same school in the same year.

"It's very, very rare," Lovato Jr. said of the feat. "Especially having a purple belt and a black belt. Non-Brazilians winning the championship, across all belts, you could probably put it on one page."

Rader, 21, is working toward a professional career in jujitsu, while Lovato Jr., 24, already has made it a full-time career. Both train with Rafael Lovato Sr. at his Bethany-based Lovato's School of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Vale Tudo.

Brazilian jujitsu has become a necessary training tool for fighters competing at the top ranks of mixed martial artists. It focuses on ground fighting, grappling and submissions, which are holds such as chokes and arm bars that force the opponent to give up to keep from passing out or suffering a dislocated joint. 

"It's practical " the most practical form of self-defense," Lovato Sr. said. "It's all predicated on technique and leverage, not size and strength." "Charles Martin

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