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By Tom Bell

JT Torres has spoken out about the knee injury that has ruled him out of the ADCC in Sao Paulo at short notice, leaving one spot available in the -77kg division.

Torres broke the news through social media following medical advice late last week, just short of seven days before the prestigious event takes place.

The former world no gi champion, and current European champion, competed at the World’s earlier this year despite carrying the injury. However, following a breakdown in the condition of his knee, the Atos Jiu Jitsu team member has decided to withdraw in a calculated decision to ensure he can continue competing at the highest level in future.

Speaking exclusively with Jiu Jitsu Style, Torres explained how the injury came about:

“Basically, like a week and a half before the Worlds, we were training, my partner went to pull closed guard and slightly missed the closed hard and it buckled my knee in pretty well. I obviously competed at the worlds and my knee was stiff. IBJJF you can’t wear a brace so I just went out with the way my knee was.”

The calculated gamble resulted in a bronze medal, an incredible achievement in itself, with Michael Langhi taking gold and Lucas Lepri taking silver. Torres accepted his invitation to compete in Sao Paulo and resumed training to prepare to compete against some more of the planet’s best grappling talents.

“I then took about two weeks out before going straight into ADCC camp” says Torres. "Obviously there’s a lot of leg locks involved and wrestling, grabbing the legs, scrambling so it just didn’t make any sense or get any better.

“I really tried to push through to the end but this is an injury that’s really been holding me back all camp. What really forced me to decide not to compete is, I was training last week, you know, training hard, lots of scrambles, it was actually with Keenan and my knee just completely locked out. I could barely walk for the rest of the day.

“Prior to that it was locking up occasionally. It would lock up for a few seconds and then loosen out and I could keep going, but this time around I was done for the day. I just knew something was not good.”

The 25-year-old took this new development as a warning, heading to the doctors to see what the problem was, resulting in an initial consultation, booking him in for an MRI.

“I went and saw a doctor and what he believes I might have a tear in my meniscus, so I have to see the doctor and he’s going to go over the results," explains JT. "From there we’ll make a decision about see what I have to do to fix the problem

“It’s just unfortunate but it’s the price we pay for pushing our bodies so hard, all year round so something has to give eventually and unfortunately it happened right before ADCC so, I had to be smart about it so this way I can make sure I can compete in another ADCC down the road. It is what it is and now I’m going to come back stronger for the next season, 2016 and before we know it the big tournaments are here again.”

It was the moment of realisation, when the knee locked up well-and-truly, which prompted Torres into both action and disappointment. Grapplers are used to some part of their body being sore, or functioning differently, so it took something big to strike genuine fear into the heart of the world champion.

“One of my worst nightmares is having a major injury,” says Torres. "Like the knee, because those are tough to just bounce back from but when it happened that day all I could think was ‘please don’t let this be anything major’ and I was nervous, I was scared.”

Despite his career flashing before his eyes and the decision to withdraw being a bitter pill to swallow, Torres was smiled upon by the grappling gods, not that he could compete in the ADCC this weekend; but that he could go on to compete in future - with his eyes set firmly on the 2016 season.

Torres’ ADCC absence leaves a space available in arguably the most stacked division of the tournament. Due to compete at 77kg, Torres could have been meeting a host of famous  names in the grappling and martial arts world. The likes of Garry Tonon, Otavio Sousa, Lucas Lepri, Gilberto Durinho Burns and AJ Agazarm will now be casting a watchful eye towards the empty space on the bracket, as a replacement has yet to be announced.

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August 28, 2015 — Jiu Jitsu Style