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Fogolin not pleased with new Mendes Bros. Academy

Costa Mesa resident runs studio next door to new Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy and calls it awkward situation.

July 03, 2012|By Steve Virgen

"... I'll keep doing what I'm doing over here," Fogolin said. "Pat came and talked to me and whatever. I was here before. He offered me to relocate and I looked for other places. But I came here first. It's my place and I have 100 students who are backing me up. They don't want to let go. They are my family right now. It's just a hard situation. But fighting this, we have to prevail this hard situation. Everything is going to be all right."

Fogolin said Tenore wants Team Triunfo to move, but Fogolin said he likes the area. He said he worked hard to produce his studio. He worked at a restaurant and saved money while he trained for fights. Fogolin said Tenore and his friends would sometimes visit the restaurant.

"I used to hook them up at the restaurant," Fogolin said.

Fogolin, from Brazil, has never met the Mendes brothers, but like many in the jiu jitsu community he knows of the elite fighters, who are also from Brazil.

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Guilherme Mendes is a six-time world champion (all belts, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011) and Rafael Mendes is a five-time world champ (all belts, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011).

The brothers saw their dream come true with the grand opening of their jiu jitsu academy on Sunday.

Fogolin also reached a high point in his life when Team Triunfo opened a year ago. Fogolin remembered his late father, who would drive him to judo classes for so many years.

But now, Fogolin sees adversity for Team Triunfo.

"Things in your life come like this and you deal with it," Fogolin said. "It's my dream and I won't let anybody crush my dream."

Tenore stressed the positive impact the Mendes brothers academy will make in the community. The new academy will have a strong focus on teaching the youth. The Mendes brothers plan to conduct an anti-bullying class once a week.

However, Fogolin said the new studio moving in next door sends the wrong message.

"We have to unify to make the sport grow," Fogolin said. "Jiu jitsu is a small community. But it's becoming more and more popular around the world. It's spreading. We're going to be big. Everything about jiu jitsu is positive. This is not only about competing or being the best. It's about building character, teaching the kids the skills and teaching them how to be honest, respectful and about discipline and how to control their mind. When things like this happen they throw it all out the window. That's what makes it sad. It's bad energy and bad karma. But I know everything is going to work out for the best."

Fogolin said he doesn't wish the new academy any ill will.

"In my heart I don't want to wish them the worst," he said. "I want to wish them the best. I wish them the best in the gym and hopefully they prosper."

steve.virgen@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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