By JARROD POTTER
HITTING the mats for a noble cause, Brazillian jiu jitsu master Jhunior Guarnido set a martial arts world record on Sunday to help find a cure for a friend.
With the help of 39 students and over 300 people who came to support the world record attempt on the day, Guarnido didn’t just break the world record at his Pakenham-based dojo – previously set at 100 consecutive rounds of Brazilian jiu jitsu – but he utterly annihilated it.
Guarnido took to his first round at 10am on Sunday morning at Gracie Elite Australia’s gym … and left the mat six hours and 40 minutes later after setting the new world record for most consecutive jiu jitsu rounds at 200.
But this wasn’t a day about Guarnido, and he didn’t take any credit for his actions.
He was doing it all for Tristan Allamby, the nephew of student Wayne Spence, who is going through a monumentally tougher challenge at the moment.
Five-year-old Tristan was diagnosed 18 months ago with Friedreich ataxia – an inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system.
Freidrich ataxia is incredibly rare – affecting 1/50,000 people – and usually manifests later in life, which makes Tristan one of the youngest in the world diagnosed with the currently incurable disease.
Guarnido immediately sprang into action when he heard about Tristan’s fight and launched Gracie Elite Australia’s Roll for Tristan to fund-raise for Friedreich Ataxia Research Association (FARA) in the hope of getting closer to a cure.
“I think martial arts is to help people inside and outside of the mats,” Guarnido said. “When his uncle Wayne told me about his nephew, I knew I had to do something to help him and that was the idea to help Tristan.
“We did well, because we could put this together to help Tristan and break the record as well.”
With people baking cupcakes, cooking a barbecue, face-painting and other fun activities outside, as well as donations from the students to spar in the event, Gracie Elite Australia’s Roll for Tristan has currently raised $7500 for FARA with more still on the way from the dojo.
“You see a lot of people using drugs or drinking alcohol and don’t give anyone any value from their lives, then you see Tristan fight with all his strength to keep his life, it’s very good to see a kid like Tristan,” Guarnido said. “That was the best thing I could have back – the support of all my teams, all my guys here and my wife helped me and everyone getting together to help Tristan – that was very good.”
“To come and support something like that – that was the best thing I could have back from that.”
If anyone would like to donate, the link is available off the Everyday Hero website – https://give.everydayhero.com/au/gracie-elite-australia-s-roll-for-tristan- or through FARA at www.fara.org.au/donate.