THEY are some of the most dedicated and finely-honed athletes, and former Stanthorpe resident Tony Torrisi is on the way to joining their ranks.
For the past two-and-a half-years, as part of his quest to compete as a mixed martial artist, Torrisi has been studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), and judging by recent results, he would be hard to beat.
Last month Torrisi travelled to New Zealand where he won a tournament against 100 other competitors, with four submission wins and two points decisions and for the second time earned a ticket to compete at the World Professional BJJ Championships in Abu Dhabi next April.
When he travelled to Abu Dhabi last year, Torrisi returned with a bronze medal but has set his sights even higher this time.
"They select the best fighters from around the world and the Sheik pays for them to compete at the world championships," Torrisi said.
"I went last year after I won the ticket for Australia and I won the bronze medal.
"This year I want to go hard and win number one in the world.
"I want to be the number one BJJ fighter in my middle weight division."
Torrisi said studying BJJ was part of his plan to become a mixed martial arts fighter and he had trained previously in muay thai, wrestling and kickboxing.
"The reason I do it is because in the future I plan to compete as a mixed martial arts fighter," he said.
"I love the determination and sacrifice plus it really tests your mental and physical strength."
Between now and leaving for the United Arab Emirates, Torrisi said he would be hard at work training to give himself the best chance of success.
"I'll be doing high- intensity training twice every day,' he said.
"It will involve sparring, cardio training in the pool and weights-training to build strength."
Torrisi said one of the keys to his success on the mat was to remain calm and clear headed before each bout but still treat his opponent ruthlessly.
"I don't make it too big of a deal and try to approach a bout like it was another training match,' he said.
"I keep my mind steady and focused and each time I try to choke my guy out or win by submission."
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