Itibus eager to get better in BJJ


Trench Tech’s Lo Itibus, left, tries to pull down her Japanese foe during their bout in the 2019 Asian Open in Tokyo last weekend. (Contributed Photo)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu newcomer Lo Itibus is motivated to become a better BJJ practitioner after losing her debut in the 2019 Asian Open in Japan last weekend.

Itibus said that despite the defeat she suffered at the hands of her 3-stripe white belt foe, she is not disappointed at all. The Trench Tech and CNMI’s lone female entry to the tournament, on the contrary, gained inspiration from other competitors in the women’s division and is adamant about putting in the hustle to better her skills for future tournaments.

“I have taken something from this that cannot be replaced. I have seen the level of other females in this sport, in my division and above, and I’m inspired to build my skill and participate in even more tournaments to get that experience on that mat,” said Itibus.

“I will definitely be grinding this whole year and putting in the work. No regrets. Everything truly happens for a reason and I know that this loss is only just the beginning of my journey in jiu-jitsu,” she added.

Itibus said her main takeaway from competing internationally would be to stick with what your strengths are and go full throttle from the beginning.

“To be honest, I’m not happy with the game I decided to play (guard pull), when most of my experience is with guard passing. If there’s something I learned from my opponent that I could use in my future tournaments, it’s that we got to do everything we can in the time given to us,” she said.

Itibus explained that international competitors are extremely more aggressive on the mat compared to training at the gym.

“We do go round after round and you kind of build a habit of saving your stamina to last you through the hour-long sparring. However, in a competition, you just got to go 100% from the get-go. It’s all or nothing and I just got a gist of what it’s like to roll competitively,” she said.

Overall, Itibus said her first tournament experience was a learning one and she did the best with what she was faced with.

“In the end, I just had to believe in myself and try my best. My first tournament experience was definitely something to learn from. My opponent got the arm-bar submission at 2 minutes and 59 seconds in. I definitely felt the experience she had under her belt and I just had to defend as best I could and I think I did okay with that. She is a 3-stripe white belt and I could tell she had experience at rolling. So, I’m happy I got to witness the level of the white belt division that is out there,” she said.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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