Sports

Jiu-jitsu athlete trying to win, for himself and other men

Jimmy Lapointe of Island Top Team will be competing at the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Irvine, Calif. next month. He is using the competition as a chance to fundraise for the Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Jimmy Lapointe of Island Top Team will be competing at the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Irvine, Calif. next month. He is using the competition as a chance to fundraise for the Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Jimmy Lapointe went a long time between big competitions, but now he’s got a lot to fight for.

The purple-belt athlete is one of three Nanaimoites who will be participating in the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship next month in Irvine, Calif. Lapointe, Shane Malone and instructor Robert Biernacki will make up the Island Top Team contingent at the Pan-Ams, the second-largest jiu-jitsu tournament in North America.

“It’s been something that’s been on my to-do list for a long time, to go and compete again at a big tournament,” Lapointe said. “If you’re going to do a tournament, go big.”

He finished fourth at the event in 2007, the same year he won a bronze medal at worlds, and he’s kept up his jiu-jitsu all along but hasn’t had a chance to hit the mats in major competition.

Now, entering these Pan-Ams, he decided to make the most of the opportunity and fundraise for the Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre.

“It gives me a whole new level of motivation to compete because it’s not just me I’m competing for,” he said. “I’m competing to help out men, help out dads.”

Lapointe said the cause became important to him the past few years, as he went through a “pretty rough” separation and found the centre’s help to be invaluable.

“They do some really nice work and they’re underfunded and underused,” he said.

So he’s collecting pledges based on the number of wins he manages at the tournament.

It could be quite a few – Lapointe is feeling good about his game at the moment.

Island Top Team has totally changed his jiu-jitsu, he said, and even though he’s a veteran at the sport, he continues to learn.

“All the time,” Lapointe said. “Rob’s brilliant, the techniques he brings in. Every day [we’re] learning something new, always getting better. You never stop. That’s what’s great about jiu-jitsu. There are always innovations and always new techniques.”

His own game plan is straightforward – dominate, get on top of opponents and try for submissions. Having the right frame of mind is essential, he said.

“I know exactly where my mind has to be when I walk onto that mat and I truly believe, not to sound arrogant, no one can stop me and I will steamroll through anybody.”

To contribute to Lapointe’s fundraising efforts for the Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre, please e-mail jimmylapointe@ymail.com.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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