San Marcos teen grapples for jiujitsu world title

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SAN DIEGO – Nathan Navida knows exactly what draws him to the rough and tumble sport of Brazilian jiujitsu.

“Jiujitsu is really fun because you get to make the guy quit using arm bars and chokes, and getting them to  tap out,” Navida said.

The 15 year-old honor student at San Marcos High School said he took up the sport six years ago and practices up to six hours a day, polishing up his submission moves to polish off  opponents.

Nathan Navida “Jiu jitsu strengthened my work ethic,” Navida said. “It’s really helped me through school and hard times. Whenever I’m down or after a big tournament, training usually relieves a lot of stress.”

Navida’s training led him to Los Angeles last fall where he won a regional qualifier and earned an all expenses paid trip to the Abu Dhabi Pro Jiu Jitsu World Championships in the 130-pound weight class of the 13-15 age group.

“I think he’s going to do amazing,” said Jonathan Torres, Navida’s coach. “I have no doubt that he’s going to be one of the top dogs there, and I will not be surprised if he comes home the champion. I actually have my money on him.”

“The kid has all the tools in his hands. He has all the power. He has the right support to do whatever he wants to do in life. He can take it as far as any of those things. He can be the greatest ever,” Torres added.

Navida won the title as top freshman wrestler in San Diego last winter and he also competes in judo.  His biggest honor came when he earned the trip to Abu Dhabi, and he knows exactly what it would mean to bring home a world championship.

“Wow, it would be a great honor,” Navida said. “Technically, I’d the first to be called ‘World Champion’ in my family.”