Pedro Diaz, Black belt and head instructor of Tiger’s Lair Jiu Jitsu in Mesa, has been training Jiu Jitsu for well over a decade. Although he started the sport as an adult, Pedro has always had ambitious competition goals that have led him to American National and World Master titles. “I started training under Gustavo Dantas in 2004 after my boys Christian and Pedro asked me to try out a Jiu-jitsu class. Needless to say we were all immediately hooked on the sport. I received my Black belt from Gustavo in March 2014 after Winning the World Masters, making me Gustavo’s 2nd black belt to go from white belt to black belt under him. My son Christian was awarded his Black belt in 2016.”
Most Jiu Jitsu academies have an extremely diverse range of students. While this variety of students provides for a dynamic and exciting atmosphere, it can be challenging to create an environment where every student is able to progress towards their goals in an optimal way. For Pedro, however, all competitors should train with a similar mindset. “I believe training for Masters tournaments is no different than training for adults especially in the Black belt division. The competitors are so talented at this level that you have to train as if you were training to compete at the adult level.”
Despite Pedro’s competitive accomplishments, he’s had his fair share of setbacks as well. “I’ve had my share of near career ending injuries like the time I separated my AC joint in the PAN open finals. Fortunately for me Dr. Jenny from Oss Physical Therapy has been working on healing my body since 2010. Because of her talent I have been able to avoid surgeries and make 100% recoveries.”
These setbacks have only fueled Pedro’s future competitive goals. “I most definitely plan to continue competing. Unfortunately after Winning the 2016 US Nationals my wife and I were involved in a terrible car accident that had us in therapy for 8 months and caused me to miss the entire 2017 season. My goal for 2018 is to win the PAN, Nationals & Master Worlds.” To keep up with Pedro’s school and his competitions, visit tigerslairaz.com.