Jiu jitsu Lifestyle Part 1 – “The People”

In your journey through this fascinating art,  you will come to find as I have, that you will meet some of the nicest and most humble people you could ever hope to meet! There is so much more to gain from the path you have chosen (learning Jiu jitsu) than acquiring new techniques/skills, self defense, fighting ability(competition/cage etc) or even fitness. On the mat, we are all equal! We all start out as white belts and we all tap to people with more experience and better technique! Jiu jitsu training transcends race, religion, social or economic background and any other barriers that normally exist between people. From the royal sheiks of the United Arab Emirates to the poor kids in the favelas of Brazil, when you step onto the mat you are equal. 

An old photo of me and Royce Gracie!

We are all here to learn and train Jiu jitsu, to improve our skills and challenge ourselves. We will all suffer through a grueling training session, we will help each other learn, grow and build our games together! And on the mat, you will form a close bond with your training partners. You will develop respect for your training partners. And not some shallow, forced respect that you give for no reason… You will sweat, suffer and learn together. You will respect the hard work, commitment and dedication that it takes to learn Jiu jitsu. You will respect your opponent’s ability to escape and defend your techniques. You will respect their technical prowess regardless of their level. You will develop a healthy respect for both your partner’s and your safety. And you will help them to challenge their limits as they will help you challenge yours! And most of the time you will develop great respect for the art, the history and philosophy of the art, your teachers, the people who have gone before you and those that will follow.

I got to meet Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza at the 2003 Brasilero!

Jiu jitsu is an art that requires you to leave your ego at the door. 🙂 There really is no room for ego in the gym. There’s no two ways about it. Train Jiu jitsu and you will get submitted, swept, have your guard passed, get mounted, have opponents take your back and take you down! And you will learn to appreciate superior technique.  Being controlled and submitted by partners who are smaller, weaker, older, younger and of different gender is  quite a humbling experience. And this is common practise on the mats, it happens every day in gyms all around the world! In order to get good, you really do need to leave your ego at the door, come in with a good attitude and accept that the gym is a learning environment for both you and your partner. And that’s what’s great about the art, you are challenged every time you train. It’s a healthy and positive environment where you learn to think, problem solve, develop perseverance and an indomitable spirit!

Me and Ricardo Arona at after training at BTT in Lagoa, 2003!

And I believe these things are what makes Jiu jitsu students, teachers and fighters such great people. We all have a special bond that we share. And that bond runs deeper than a casual work acquaintance or sporting club membership. That bond is there in all of us who step onto the mat to learn Jiu jitsu. I personally have had the great fortune of meeting and training with many highly respected teachers and world class fighters like Marcelo Garcia, Royce Gracie, Royler Gracie, Ryron Gracie, Mario Sperry, Walter Mattos, Murilo Bustamante, Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio “Minotouro” Nogueira, Allan Goes, Carlos Barreto, Fabiano Capoani, Roan “Jucao” Carneiro, Fernando Paradeda, Luis Brito, Bento Ribeiro, Olavo Abreu, Bruno Fernandes, Jon Olav Einemo, Jorge Pereira, Xande Ribeiro as well as my coaches Bruno Panno, Marcos Nevel and Luke Picklum. And you know what??? They were all great people, eager to share their knowledge and experiences with me!

Mario Sperry, Felipe Grez, Fabiano Capoani chilling at Pepe beach in Rio!

Marcelo Garcia is one of the nicest and humblest guys you could ever hope to meet. He’s not just a technical wizard on the mat but a caring and passionate instructor who takes great pride in seeing his students learn and their technique improve! Mario Sperry is also a very kind and friendly person who, at the time I was last there (2003), was teaching and running the toughest mma and no gi team in the world, Brazilian Top Team! Yet he was still always smiling, offering advice, helping people find their way around (myself included), coaching and making sure everyone was having a good time and enjoying their training! I could go on and on about how many great people I have met through Jiu jitsu and how many friendships I have formed but I think you get the idea!

You will meet great people, form strong bonds and develop friendships for life! That’s just one of many of the hidden benefits of learning Jiu jitsu that you will experience!  Anyway that’s all for now, more to follow in the next couple of days. Have a great weekend!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!


Jiu jitsu Kingdom


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