This was an interview made by Deb, for Graciemag.com, with the BJJ World Champion, Felipe Costa.
1. What is your main Jiu-Jitsu school? How many affiliate schools do you have and where are they?
Im one of the leaders of BRASA team, who have affiliated schools in Brazil, USA, Mexico, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Finland and New Zealand
2. Tell me about your affiliate school in Mexico - what is the name of the school, how many students do you have, who teaches there when you are not there, how often do you go to Mexico to train with them/give them new belts, what are their approximate belt levels?
I have affiliated schools in 7 different states of Mexico, in total we have 10 academies that fight under the BRASA flag, I've been going there since 2004 and today I have purple, brown belts and black belts teaching in those academies. I visit Mexico at least 2 times a year and the main students try to visit me in Brazil once a year as well.
3. Tell me about the last Mexican Nationals - how many students went, how did you get there, how did they do, was there anything interesting that happened while you were there, how did the school place in team standings at the end.
The Mexican Nationals have been happening for several years, but this was the first one under affiliation of IBJJF, so we decided to enter and support the tournament. Our initial plan was to put 30 competitors together, since our academies are spread around Mexico and its very expensive for them to travel. I got there 3 weeks before and passed by many of the academies training and motivating them. Our group is very well integrated and we manage to motivate everyone so good that from 30 we got 130 competitors together.
The Mexican Nationals had over 600 competitors this year, the biggest group so far, in the end we made together 182 points, only 5 behind the first place , who had over 70 competitors more than us. So that means we had 35% less fighters, but 46% better results.
4. How long were you in Mexico and what were some of the things you did while you were there? Did you have any memorable experiences while you were there?
In this trip I was only there for 3 weeks, but I have been traveling there for many years and got the chance to visit from north to South in many cities and yet there is so much I still want to see. Mexico is one of the most beautiful place I have visit in the world, I recommend everyone who loves to travel and likes BJJ to give it a try.
BJJ is growing a lot there, and despite of each team, we have a lot of respect for everyone who practice this sport. Any visitor will be welcome in our academies and Im sure in other teams as well. Mexican are very warm and welcoming, I felt in love for it's people and place.
5. What are your goals for 2012? Will we see you at all the major tournaments?
I have conquer all major gi tournament from IBJJF as a black belt in adult category, except PAN (who I was 2 in the last 3 years in a row) and Asian (That I have never competed on). I still fight adult, but Im already mixing it and also competing in the master in some categories. But I still feel the urge to train hard and compete, so its super pleasant for me to do so. My goal is to fight the biggest tournaments of IBJJF , for sure.
6. How old are you? How old were you when you started Jiu-Jitsu, What degree black belt are you? Who is your professor? (Anything else you want to add to the story), what is your biggest accomplishment in Jiu-Jitsu so far?
In 2012 I will be 34, I started in BJJ when i was 12 and Im a third degree black belt under Rodrigo Comprido, Im the first, and so far, the only BJJ World Champion to achieve this title in the black belt level, without ever winning any major tournaments in lower belt.
All my biggest titles were after I got my black belt, something very unusual, since most top fighters seen to be natural born champions. I like to believe my history brings hope to a lot of people who are dedicate, but dont have as good results as they wish for.
7. How do think Jiu-Jitsu has changed your life and your students' lives - especially the students in Mexico that you just visited.
The Jiu Jitsu benefits are huge, besides a great sport and way of keeping a healthy life style, it helps build confidence and that makes a big diference on anyone's life, dont matter the nationality or if a person who has BJJ as a hobby or is dedicate like an athlete
8. Are you working on any projects that you want us to know about?
Comprido and I are planning our Brazilian Black Belt Jiu Jitsu CAMP of 2012 in Cancun, for September 20 and we will have as special guest teaching the MMA start and current UFC fighter DEMIAN MAIA. The places will full fill very fast and we are looking forward to have our traditional camp for the first time in MEXICO