Lonnie Bascome ‘made dream a reality’ with world title
It’s the time of year when everybody may be hoping for a valuable gift but one Bermudian has this year already got enough gold to last a lifetime.
Lonnie Bascome, 38, is still thrilled to have added a Jiu Jitsu world championship gold medal he won last weekend in Anaheim, California, to the one he picked up at the Pan American games in July.
“I’m beside myself right now and I just can’t believe that I did this,” Bascome said.
“I did very well in the Pan Ams and to win the Worlds was quite something. I Knew from my experience at the Pan Americans that it’s all or nothing in the final and there is a thin line between silver and gold, so when I made it to the finals I knew I had to get it everything I had and I left it all on the mat.
“When the time finished and I was up on points, I didn’t get the submission, I just knew that I’d given it 100 per cent and that all the training, all the specific drills I’d done, all those times I put in the hours came to that point. I was just so happy that I made my dream a reality.”
Bascome, 38, has been involved in Jiu Jitsu for nearly half a decade but recently redoubled his efforts to fulfil his potential.
“I just dug in deep and gave Jiu-Jitsu the attention it needed to compete on the international scene,” Bascome said.
“I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu for just under five years, it will be five years in February and for the past two years or so I really dug in. Covid played a factor and I couldn’t train as much but once I experienced my first competition and losing in the first round, I got an understanding of what it would take.
“Over the past couple of years, I got strength and conditioning from Reina Maypa and I dedicated most of my evenings to jiu-jitsu from Monday through Thursday.”
Maypa is one of the coaches at Open Mat Bermuda and Bascome is keen to pay tribute to the organisation’s founder Aaron Dyer, who recently achieved his black belt, as well as Chris Regan, who has become something of a mentor.
“The head coach Chris Regan, I credit all my achievements to him,” Bascome said. “He knows what it takes from his competition experience and is one of those leaders who wants to help you achieve your potential and he gives 100 percent to make sure that you can be the best version of yourself.
“Open Mat is very competition based. We have a lot of competitors and people willing to put themself out there and compete on the international stage. We’ve had a lot of success over the years and even some of the white belts at their first go at competition are picking up golds. we have a well-rounded group of individuals who overall make the team better.”
Bascome feels that Jiu Jitsu has also helped him off the mat and given him techniques to improve his outlook on life.
“It improves focus and commitment,” Bascome said. You discover yourself in a different way. Problems that you might have reacted to in the past, you apporach a little bit differently, more calm. They say Jiu Jitsu is similar to chess, there is always a strategy in the thick of it and you think your way through things a bit more rather than react.“
Bascome’s world championship win came in the Male Purple Lightweight division and he intends on obtaining his black belt, although that could be some time away.
“The goal is always to get to black,” he said. “Purple belt is in the middle and it goes white, blue, purple, brown, black. On average it takes about ten years to get to black so I don’t anticipate getting there sooner than that and I’m halfway there.”
As the calendar prepares to tick over to 2023, Bascome is preparing for another good year of competition with the focus on more medals and he is hoping that someone may step up to provide him with some sponsorship.
“For Bermudians to go out there and compete, we pay almost twice as much as anybody else to get to any event so I wanted to make most of the campaign and I was so happy with my victories,” Bascome said.
“The plan for 2023 is to try to have more success in the same tournaments. They have a division called the absolute, where there is no weight limits. You can fight anyone from any weight and I can try to double medal at some events.
“Jiu Jitsu is growing in Bermuda and results like this are the beginning. Hopefully I can get some recognition and sponsorship.”