Every day Orlando Sanchez tells his classes at the Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu School in Pasadena to be "champions in life."
It's a motto Sanchez, a La Cañada High graduate, has not only trademarked but lives by. He proved that over the past two months, as he's won four gold medals in that time in the Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Irvine, the Spring Open in Long Beach and two more in the Brazilian Nationals.
Sanchez' performance in the Brazilian Nationals has become the highlight of his four-year jiu-jitsu career. He won the ultra-heavyweight class for competitors 220 pounds and above and the absolute class, which is made up of the champions from each weight class.
"I beat some really big named champions," said Sanchez, who earned the fourth degree on his brown belt due to all the success. "It was a big deal, it really put me on the map and opened some eyes. I am the only American to do it as a brown belt."