Black Belt Tomas ” Papo ” Sone Talks With

Tomas “Papo” Soñé , black belt under Fernando Yamasaki , was kind enough to talk with us about his academy located in the Dominican Republic. With a grassroots campaign to spread the sport and doing so within an island that is more of a boxing country in Latin America than any other sport, Tomas ” Papo ” Sone spoke with us about his school and how new of a sport Jiu Jitsu is in the Dominican Republic, and his lifelong dedication to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
First up, thanks for agreeing to do this interview, we first heard your incredible story through and we wanted to learn more about your school.  Could we start by you telling us your Jiu Jitsu belt rank and who you’re ranked under?
Tomas “Papo” Soñé:
Thank you for thinking of us and for the interview!  My name is Tomas “Papo” Soñé.  I received my black belt personally from Fernando Yamasaki and my instructor Abraham “El Maetron” Tabar.  Abraham has been my instructor since I first started Jiu Jitsu.
How long have you been training Jiu Jitsu?
Tomas “Papo” Soñé:
I’ve been training Jiu Jitsu for 11 years
Is BJJ very popular in the Dominican Republic?  Or is it a new sport?
Tomas “Papo” Soñé:
BJJ has been in the Dominican Republic for around 12 years, but it’s only really taken off over the past five years or so.  Over the past few years a lot of people have taken up the sport and we now have excellent representation internationally thanks to Abraham Marte who always manages to bring back a few medals every time he travels to compete.
Papo, because this magazine includes all things Jiu Jitsu and we are trying to promote BJJ to the rest of the world who still don’t know about it,  how is your school promoting Jiu Jitsu?

Tomas “Papo” Soñé:
Our best promotion is our students, in the way they comport themselves in their communities and they way they represent the academy in the tournaments we host here in Cabarete as well as the other national tournaments.  Also, since we live in a fantastic tourist destination and are right next to the beach, we team up with the hotel where we’re located to offer BJJ camps and vacations.  (  We also enjoy great word-of-mouth from people who drop in to train while on vacation and then spread the word back home.
That’s awesome ! Professor Sone, do you feel it’s important that students compete in BJJ?
Tomas “Papo” Soñé:
It depends on your goals in life.  Some train for the pure love of the sport, others to build a future as athletes.  That being said, I think everyone who trains should compete at least once — it’s a great experience.

Completely agree with you. Also for those students who wish to advance rank quicker, competition is a great way to do that . Speaking of competing, what’s your favorite submission?

Tomas “Papo” Soñé:

I really don’t have a favorite submission, which is one of the reasons I love Jiu Jitsu.  Sometimes you’re looking for the arm and you end up with a triangle, other times you’re working a choke and end up with an arm bar.

Do you have any students you’d consider prodigies in the sport?  Any future Mundials champs, and if so could you tell us their names so we can give them their props?

Tomas “Papo” Soñé:

I have several extremely talented students, but I’m not someone who puts a lot of trust in talent.  Becoming a Mundials champion takes an incredible amount of work and dedication to being consistent with your training.  Talent helps, but talent without the work doesn’t win the Mundials.  I think it’s the same with life.  I don’t want to single anyone out.  All my guys are great and I think that if they stay as dedicated as they are, they could one day be world champions.  They’ll get their recognition through hard work.

Absolutely! Before we conclude the interview professor, is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping you out with your Jiu Jitsu school?

Tomas “Papo” Soñé:

I’m not sure if you’ll have space for them all, but here goes:  I’m sure I’ll forget a few people but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to thank my two biggest supporters in life, my mother “Nina” and my father “Negro”, all the people who come out to support our tournaments, Extreme hotels, the whole Yamasaki family, Vale Tudo Academy, Fight Training Academy, Binh Le and Forty Thieves, Christian Graugart and all those who’ve helped out with their equipment and gi donations, Frontline Academy, José Leroy, Carlos Cuervo, all those who’ve dropped in to train with us and showed some technique we could build onto keep growing, the students who come to train every day and their families, as well as the whole Cabarete community who come out to support our small but exciting tournaments.

Thanks for including us in such a great magazine!
The pleasure is ours professor. We hope to hear more about Jiu Jitsu De La Costa in the future! would like to thank Tomas “Papo” Sone for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us,  here at we strive hard to bring you quality interviews with quality up and coming Jiu Jitsu athletes. If you would like to learn more about Tomas ” Papo ” Sone  visit his website or you can visit the academies Facebook page .