Hunter’s Brian Pereira Places First in Judo ChampsNational Champion hopes to start Judo Club at Hunter
Staff Writer For Hunter junior Brian Pereira, Judo is a way of life. Born and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, he has been practicing Judo as long as he can remember. He even spent year training in Japan. His competition success is a direct result of the many hours of hard work he has put into the sport.
“Judo was our family business,” he said. “I don’t really remember starting it, it was just always there.” As a child, he would wake up early to train every day before school with his father and siblings, all of whom were national champons at the junior level. He competed in his first national tournament at 8 years old, when he finished in third place.
In March, Pereira competed in the 2012 National Collegiate Judo Association Championships in San Jose, California. Competing in the 81 kg weight class – the same weight class contested in the Olympics - he entered the tournament as defending champion, having won first place in the 2011 competition at West Point the year before.
2012 would be no different, as Pereira skillfully marched his way through the competition and again took first place as a back-to-back champion.
His 2011 win enabled him to represent Team USA at the World University Games, also called Universiade, in Shenzen, China. In the bi-annual event, over 11,000 collegiate athletes from a 147 different countries competed for gold medals in their respective sports.
Most recently, in April, Pereira competed in the US Judo Senior Nationals in Iriving, Texas. Again in the 81kg Olympic weight class, he finished third place despite being seeded fifth going into the competition. Refusing to rest on his laurels, Pereira will be in action again in May when he travels to Miami, Florida to compete in the US Open Tournament.
Believe it or not, this is a light schedule for him. As a full time student, he does not have as much time to travel to tournaments as he once did. His current ranking is number six in the US Judo Men’s 81 kg roster, but he has been ranked as high as number 5 when he was competing more.
At Hunter, Pereira majors in economics, with a focus on statistics, and he was recently named a Leon Cooperman Pre-Business Scholar. In addition to his studies in his major, he also enjoys taking classes offered by the Classical and History Departments.
Pereira’s drive to succeed in Judo is matched only by his desire to succeed in life. He has always pushed himself to do more, and his efforts have been met with much success. In high school, alongside his Judo exploits, he captained his tennis team and was a member of both the wrestling and chess teams.
His plate is just as full today. Somewhere between school and judo, Pereira finds time for his job as a personal trainer at a gym in Hartsdale, NY. He gives Judo lessons too when his schedule allows. Currently, he is in the process of building up his new business idea – an online professional network where he can market personal trainers and tutors.
Back at Hunter, he is working on yet another project. He wants to start a Judo Club, where members can practice and train together at least once a week in the school’s athletic facilities.
One year ago, after a mass marketing campaign that included flyers poster, and tabling several times a week, Pereira managed to get over 300 signatures on a petition to start the club. Hunter officially recognized the club itself, but Pereira was unable to secure time in the athletic facilities for its members to physically practice.
He met with members of Hunter’s Athletic Department to try to arrange for a weekly slot in the martial arts room, but his requests were respectfully declined due to liability issues. He is hoping that his recent success on the national Judo stage will help to change the minds of the department.
“Now that I have won two National Collegiate Championship titles, I am hoping the department reconsiders the opportunity as I would really like to bring at least one Judo practice to Hunter per week.”
Judging by his track record, it’s hard to imagine anything going wrong with Pereira in charge.