Why did you start BJJ?
"I watched the first UFC’s and saw Royce Gracie choking everyone but I didn't understand what he was doing! At the time jiu-Jitsu was more popular in the south of Brazil. After a while my friend kept on asking me to go with him to a class and give it a try! I had done a bit of Capoeira in the past but not a lot. One day I went to watch a class and started to chat to a big guy with a blue belt I thought was the coach, he told me if I wanted to train that I should talk with the teacher and pointed to another guy, a purple belt, who was my age and size and I thought if this guy is the teacher and he's built the same as me BJJ might be for me! I went the next day to a trial and a got hooked straight way, after I finished the class I went to a sports store and bought myself a Gi!"
How long have you been training BJJ?
"I been training jiu-jitsu for 16 years now!"
Where did you complete your BJJ training and who under?
"After training for just over a year my first instructor had to stop teaching classes in my city, Bahia, because he had to return to his hometown. I spoke to some of my old teammates who had started training with two very talented brothers Freddy and Antonio Simoes both having recently got their purple belts under Alexandre "Gigi" Paiva and opened the first Alliance affiliation in Bahia. It sounded great so I trained with Freddy and Antonio under Gigi’s guidance until I received my black belt in 2010."
Why did you choose to teach BJJ?
"When I became a purple belt I always really enjoyed helping my instructors with the lower belts and then when I became a brown belt I started teaching in a gym in my city in Brazil. I really enjoyed the teaching side but it was frustrating as I couldn’t train as much as I wanted and I felt some of the students were not as committed as they could have been so I decided to stop as it was stopping me from fitting in my own BJJ training! When I finished my degree in IT I decided to dedicate some time to learn English and then I came here to Australia on an exchange. When I arrived here in Brisbane and started training BJJ people realised I was a black belt and asked me to take some classes in the gym I was training at. They really liked my teaching style and the techniques i used. I was then lucky enough to help in the opening of Australia’s first Alliance academy. Today I love what I do and wouldn't change my life for anything!"
Have you trained any other martial arts before?
"I trained a little in Capoeira and boxing when I was younger but nothing much before starting BJJ. After I had moved to Brisbane and I realised I was going to be able to make a living from teaching BJJ I wanted to learn as much as I could to help my grappling. I started to learn wrestling and I really enjoyed it but unfortunately I hurt my neck and had to take some time off. I decided instead to start training Judo to help improve my overall game and I really enjoy it! I progressed very quickly and am now a blue belt in Judo. I love take downs! I have also been doing some wrestling again recently which is great. I feel the addition of learning Judo and wrestling is really beneficial for helping to teach my students and increase my overall knowledge."
Why do you think bjj is so effective as a martial art?
"I don't know anyone who has anything bad to say about BJJ! I always listen to people and only hear people saying good things about it. BJJ is good for you in so many ways, it helps build your confidence, helps you learn more about yourself and your body and gives you skills to defend yourself. It also teaches you how to be respectful towards others. I believe everybody should do it! It's not an easy martial art but I can guarantee you will have no regrets if you stick with it."
Why do you think BJJ is so good as a form of self-defense?
"BJJ is really useful in terms of self-defense. It teaches you how to be calm in stressful situations and how to deescalate in others. If the worst happens and you need to defend yourself your BJJ training will definitely help you know what to do and when. BJJ is so useful as it helps you understand about your balance and leverage and how to use your opponents weight and momentum against them!"