Bond University law student Coco Izutsu is primed for a serious World Championship tilt next month after claiming gold at the recent International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) European Championships in Rome.
He won the Adult Black Belt Rooster-weight division in a tense final. His victory ranks him third in the world in his class.
Izutsu said he had always hoped to do well but the result was slightly unexpected.
“I only earned my black belt last year and this was my first black belt competition,” he said.
Born in Japan and raised on the Gold Coast, Izutsu is now based in Singapore where he trains and pursues an entrepreneurial opportunity in an alternative currency start-up.
The aspiring legal eagle continues to study remotely in and around the rigours of his training and international competition schedule.
He started practising jiu jitsu as a ten-year-old.
“My parents were always keen on me participating in a martial art,” he said.
“Dad wanted me to learn something that was uniquely mine. Something that no one could take away from me.”
Izutsu started with wrestling as a very young boy, then tried his hand at karate, but it was the move from Japan to Australia that saw a passion jiu jitsu take hold.
“I moved from Japan when I was six. There weren’t many karate and wrestling schools on the Gold Coast, so I started doing Jiu Jitsu.”
For those more familiar with the dynamic movements of martial arts like judo or taekwondo, jiu jitsu is a vastly different spectacle.
A true test of will, patience and technique, a jiu jitsu bout resembles an intense, tangle-limbed wrestling match. Even the most subtle of movements can shape an outcome.
“The discipline of jiu jitsu is all about learning to control yourself and others,” he says. “It’s about feeling you are entirely connected to the moment. There’s nothing quite like being choked out and feeling like you a fighting to survive. Survival is literally all you are thinking about.”
Despite the inherent competitive physicality of his sport, there is another side to it.
“You have to know your limitations. If you go at it 100 percent, you can injure yourself. You need to learn the art of control. And you need to learn to take care of your opponent too. Understanding when to submit is a really important part of it.”
Isutzu will now travel to California for the IBJJF World Championship event next month.