Congrats on your team's victory at the June 26 Strikeforce event. How do you prepare to defeat somebody that was considered almost a perfect fighter in every way?
First, Fedor is a human being, to use his own words, "I am just an ordinary man." From the beginning of preparation, I was studying and discovered that he is an ordinary man with habits. We found he was a normal fighter that was predictable in his fights. His knockouts were similar (overhand right) and his submission victories were also similar (arm bars to the right arm). When you are the top fighter in the world, you pay the price because you have fought so many times. As a coach, I had plenty of material to study from his previous fights and learn his body mechanics. Based on the countless hours of studying, we were able to discover some weaknesses.
How did you come to be a part of Werdum's team?
I met him through my consultant work that I have been doing. I work as a martial arts consultant that focuses on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for wellness (for the dynamic meditation that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu provides [body and mind working as one]), self defense, competition for professional athletes at the highest caliber such as Fabricio Werdum, former NFL player Jarrod Bunch, and other elite athletes, as well as ordinary non competing athletes from financial auditors to lawyers and entertainment industry executives.
You were a member of the original Master Academy in Rio de Janeiro under Grand Master Romero Calvacanti, from your beginnings until now, how have you seen jiu jitsu evolve?
BJJ has become one of the most recognizable martial arts in the past 20 years. It is extremely efficient for self defense. All of the development and growth has helped to create federations in different countries, an international federation, and an important tournament that now carries over 2000 competitors in the United States. It has evolved because of the competitive aspect, its growth is constant, not only through the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but in the sport people know today as mixed martial arts. The progress and evolution is constant. The competition helps the continued development and evolution of the art.
Do you feel it is moving away from the self defense aspect to a competition oriented sport jiu jitsu, such as tkd or karate?
In my eyes, the essence of the art Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one, there's no distinction between sports or self defense. The foundation is based on body mechanics and timing. Timing to analyze and apply movements. If, after you have a solid foundation and based on the conditions in that moment, you can adapt for self defense, competition, or elite level sports such as MMA. An aggressive stance (such as a boxer's stance) can easily be adapted to a defensive posture (hands stay up, but palms open.)
What are your plans for the future?
I am going to return to my full time dedication to my wife and daughter. I spent some time away from them for the past 5 months working and studying for the fight... and my daughter's only 8 months old!
On the professional side, I am in various negotiations to set up an academy in the United States or establish a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program within another type of school. I might like to try something different and partner with a yoga or pilates facility. Also, I am not interested in living in a huge metropolis. I prefer small cities so my little princess can have a better environment.
You've been here for 3 years. Why don't you already have an academy set up?
My queen, my wife, also happens to be a very elite attorney. She has the kind of career where she could go into government, which requires extensive background checks. For my first year here, I was waiting for my work authorization, so I couldn't set anything up early and risk her professional reputation. Then, in my second year, I was busy developing my European practice. Finally, almost nine months ago, my princess was born 6 weeks early. I dedicated all of my time to her for her first 3 months, and then I split any time that I wasn't consulting between her and Werdum for the next 5 months.
Are you open to training other fighters, or are you exclusive to Werdum?
I definitely don't want to train any of Werdum's competitors! I am only part of Rafael Cordeiro's King's MMA Team. I am open to being the BJJ coach for any fighters so long as they have Rafael Cordeiro as a head coach... or if they were my students from before, like Chad Robo in Texas or Rafael Lang in Brasil.
Among those that know the history of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you are known for your excellent and entertaining performance at competitions. You were even written up in the first Tatame Magazine for having the fight of the night. Are you ever going to compete in jiu jitsu again?
I will always compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, ALWAYS. It is one of the hobbies that helps me relax. If everything goes as planned, people will be able to see me at International Masters/Seniors at my weight class AND open weight division.
Can people train with you? If so, how?
If somebody from another school wants to train with me on a consultant basis, they can certainly do so, as long as they have their professor's or master's permission. If they are brand new and choose me to be their master, they can train within my established network or directly under me.
Any final words?
I would like to give special thanks to my wife for her incredible sacrifice of having a tough job and finding the time to care for our daughter and allowing me to focus on my studying and training for Werdum's fight. I'm sorry I haven't been there for you enough, but I love you so much! Thank you, we made it! I love you so much, my love!