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BUSTAMANTE GOLDEN IN GEORGIA

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By Errol “DynamiX” Alegre, Jr.

Ryan Bustamante recently returned from Jonesboro, Georgia after competing in the 2012 NAGA (North American Grappling Tournament) Georgia Grappling Championship. He took gold in the blue belt class of the Gi division and silver in the no Gi Intermediate division. His recent return put him at a total of nine gold medals that he has achieved throughout his life in various Jiu Jitsu tournaments around the world.

“I feel very satisfied with the result. It is a direct product of the many hours of training and the quality of training I get from my teammates and coaches,” stated Bustamante on his performance.

Although the Mundy Hills High School gym was without air-conditioning, there were about 1,300 attendants who enjoyed the competitive event. (courtesy photo)

The 24-year old loves to compete in international tournaments as his exceptional performance shows that Guam athletes are at the same level, and have the potential to stand out, with stateside athletes.

With his continued dominance in the many events he has competed in, you would have never thought that the local champion had begun his Jiu Jitsu career by learning techniques through Youtube videos less than two years ago.

Bustamante trained with three-time sports lead instructor, Ranieri Paiva, in preparation for his tournament. (courtesy photo)

Bustamante graduated from Simon Sanchez and played football for all four years. He joined the Air Force after graduating in 2005 and went off island for active duty a few years after. It was there when he and a few of his friends would search for certain Jiu Jitsu techniques on Youtube then head to the gym to try them out. His Youtube training continued when he came back on island until renown Jiu Jitsu atrists, Jon Tuck and Luis Reyes, approached him and recommended that he check out their classes at Paradise Fitness Center. Bustamante attended the class with no hesitation and after just two months of formal instruction with Reyes and Tuck, along with his Youtube experience, the high school football athlete competed in his first tournament – the Marianas Open – where he won gold and bronze in the Gi and no Gi events, respectively.

The Air Force Reservist continues to compete in all local tournaments and in any international BJJ events that he can afford to go to. In the midst of his non-stop training, Bustamante is also pursuing his business degree at the University of Guam with a possible minor in Communications. Although he is continually learning in and out of school, he also finds time to teach the beginners Jiu Jitsu course at Universal Alliance Gym located at International Sports Center in Anigua.

Bustamante trains to keep himself in competition-ready shape year round and is focused on making himself better by developing and evolving with his team, coaches, and Guam. As of now, he is preparing for the GSPN Open, Copa De Marianas, Asian Open in Japan, and possibly the Abu Dhabi trials in the Philippines. Although he has established himself as one of the island’s top competitors, the Jiu Jitsu artist feels that he is still in the early stages of his Jiu Jitsu career and has a lot to learn for his promising future ahead of him.

“I don’t think about where my future will be in Jiu Jitsu, but where Jiu Jitsu will put me in it’s future. I will always be a student and will always be learning.”

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Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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