Posts in Category: Felipe Costa

15 months after my knee injury (ACL ligament torn) 

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15 months after my knee injury (ACL ligament torn)

Competing was the rule, at least among the people I grew up with, that was what we did. 
We did not create major expectations about it, there was no dream of conquering fame beyond a firm handshake with great admiration for that academy friend, a guy at the beach, on the street, or a school friend we highly regarded.
We did not even dream of making a living out of Jiu Jitsu, travelling the world, having people taken a picture with us in tournaments or on the street. Even less so to think about people willing cross half the globe just to meet us or invite us over to their country with the same purpose.

To us, we competed because we trained, and we trained because we competed.

There were those who seem to have been born to compete always having excellent results; those who seemed nervous but when the time came, they knew what had to be done; and then there was me: a nervous guy, completely scared at the time of the fight and always getting terrible results.

At the time, to me it seemed that I was the only guy like that from the group. Now, in retrospective, I realized it wasn't like that. I was the only one, among the worst, who did not really care about losing a tournament or been defeated, I would still kept on trying relentlessly. I have no shadow of doubt that because I was so good at dealing with defeat, I became a great champion.

My professor at that time, someone I deeply admired, really marked me with something he said, that he still competed because he wanted to set an example for us.
At the time, I thought it was really cool, but today, that phrase reaches me more profoundly than ever before.

Recently, some students wanted to compete in a tournament, and even though I was not properly training for a tournament, I signed up for it with the purpose of setting an example for my students. Due to circumstances beyond my control, all of my students decided to withdraw from the competition. But my name was already on the sheet, so I thought, why not? I even thought it was pointless to compete in that tournament, but if competing is what I do so, then, why not?

It turn out to be a terrible decision. At the final, with only a minute left to finish the fight, I was up in points when my adversary tried a twisting knee lock (which is forbidden in the sport) and caused my knee to bend forcing me to stop immediately. That is when it hit me, this was not just another knee injury, this one was without a doubt, the worst.

After a while, my suspicion was confirmed, it was a complete torn of the ACL and the lateral meniscus showed some damages as well. This was an injury that would prevent me from training for six months and it would take a year to fully recover.
Prepare yourself psychologically for such a recovery is a thing only few people can do. Closing up to my 40s, motivation is not the same as it was when I was young, so I went into automatic pilot, I was not going to think, I was going to do. So I basically fulfilled my daily duties seeking a full recovery, one day after the other, chasing laziness away, no absences, no delays, basically displaying the same behavior I have had throughout my entire professional career as an athlete. Until one day the automatic pilot stopped working and a major breakdown happened.
I simply stopped attending the therapy sessions and, whenever a slight reaction would appear, it would last only a couple of days and discouragement would take over again. If I had done everything by the book, I would have been back within 8 months of the surgery. But, back to where?

I remember one time a friend was frustrated for not closing a deal with a group of people, and said to me: “there is no point in offering food to someone who is not hungry”. Without a doubt, that was the best metaphor that pictured my situation at the time. I had no desire to conquer anything in terms of competition, since I had already conquered them all in the past. So what was the point in dedicating myself to full recovery as a professional athlete? 

I had to battle my own thoughts for months, rambling between going back to training to compete and keep doing things the the way I was without seeking anything else.

That should have been the point I found myself in the Grand Finale, thinking I was back and getting ready for all of the challenges to come, but that was not the case. Every day, I still find myself with a head full of uncertainties and, every day I think about quitting or focusing my energy somewhere else.

In a whirlwind of doubts and thoughts, I am still trying to make peace with the fact that I may have other priorities at present and that the competitor, Felipe,  will slowly become a memory, but believe me when I say, is a reality very difficult to accept perhaps not tomorrow, but some day. A part of me still wants to squeeze out every part of myself, to leave no room for doubt, to know that I gave my best.

Today, I squeezed myself a little further, after 15 months of my knee injury, I fought and won in a local tournament (Aberto de Verão FJJ-RIO), see video.

When I injured my knee, at first I was scared with the fact that it was going to take a year to fully recover. If you are looking ahead, twelve months seems like an eternity, but when looking back, it is more like a blink of an eye. Think about it whenever you are going through something similar.

I am curious to find out what lays ahead!

Posted by Felipe Costa Feb 06, 2018 Categories: BJJ Felipe Costa Motivational Video BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a language  

Clique aqui para ler esse artigo em português

In 2003, after becoming a Black Belt World Champion, I was invited to spend 3 months teaching in the EUA. I decided to go because of the experience, the chance to travel and to be able to dust off my English. I had not professional expectations whatsoever.

I came back from that trip wanting to make a living from Jiu Jitsu, but always keeping a realistic outlook of things. When weighing off the pros and cons, I deduced I could profit from teaching Jiu Jitsu around the world for a maximum of 10 years  (that is the average time it takes a person to get their black belt). After that time, I knew I would have to have to choose another life path.

felipe costa jiu jitsu ohio


Today, I realize it’s been over a decade since I came to that conclusion (GULP! – swallowing hard)

So, why would a country I helped train several graduates, whom now have their own academies and teach me so much every time I visit, still invite me over if not for the friendship built throughout the years?

I would dare to assume, without sounding pretentious, that I still get called to teach seminars not because of my Jiu Jitsu techniques – those are hardly a secret now, but because of the way I understand and apply the techniques. It’s the different combinations and the way I can fraction the sequences that up to this day raise  an  interest.


If grappling techniques were letters (each of those letters representing a movement or a grip), after teaching the alphabet, I would be left with nothing else to teach. 

What I teach is a language, the Brazilian JJ language. What I teach are not just letters, but a combination to create words, and the way I do that is by spelling them so that everyone can understand.

That is why a teacher can never lose his motivation to spar. Because Sparring is the moment every instruct has to apply those learnt words; to create new phrases under different circumstances, physical limitations (injuries, age, etc.),fighting style of the “opponent”, rules (no time, with points, fight until someone is submitted, etc.)


After a 5-month recovery period from my surgery, I went back to training with a lot of physical and mental limitations from undergoing a complex medical procedure and, consequently, the lack of stamina. Needless to say the negative impact a long term recovery can have on someone’s motivation to the point of having to exercise a control on one’s ego. 

Combinations would not come into my mind immediately, but with several adjustments and time, I was certainly getting there. At present, I am not 100% recuperated, but I am better. I can manage to combine more efficiently, due to having less “pain” as a limiting factor. 

My last seminar was based entirely on those new “phrases” I had to create to dribble with my limitations at that time. 

Can I say I invented/created something new? I am not sure, I don’t think so. My virtue may be reflected on my creativity trait and  the way I can perceive combinations. Same combinations that may be perceived by others across the world to create a whole new “grappling” language other than Brazilian JJ. 

At the end of my last seminar, a student came to me and said he was not aware of my wrestling knowledge. I laughed in disbelief replying that my expertise in that area was limited. He was surprised of my answer because he saw my grips were highly rich on wrestling details. Further, he showed me some  takedowns using the very same grips I had previously taught. I was marveled! 

Different languages (modality) may be created by the same letters (techniques), with diverse combinations in accordance to each particular need, cultural influence, and rules. 

Seek to learn the words, the phrases, the languages, and not just the letters. Surround yourself with people who holds a vast vocabulary, understands the combinations, and most certainly, your evolution will be grand.

Posted by Felipe Costa Jul 03, 2017 Categories: Felipe Costa Gracie Jiu Jitsu Motivational

Jiu Jitsu é um idioma 

To read this article in English CLICK HERE


Em 2003, depois de me tornar

Campeão Mundial na faixa preta, fui convidado a passar 3 meses nos EUA dando aula. Fui pela experiência, pela viagem e para reciclar meu inglês. Não tinha pretensões profissionais.  


Voltei da viagem com sonho de viver do JiuJitsu, mas sempre procurei ter uma visão realista das coisas e, pesando os prós e contras, estimei que conseguiria viver ensinando pelo mundo por cerca de 10 anos ( tempo médio para se tornar um faixa preta), depois disso teria que dar outro rumo a minha vida. 


Me dei conta esses dias que falhei na minha previsão, já se passaram bem mais que uma década (gulp - eu engolindo seco rs).


Por que um país que ajudei a formar vários graduados, que hoje tem suas próprias academias e inclusive me ensinam aos montes quando visito, continuaria me convidando se não apenas pela amizade formada?


Suponho, sem maiores pretensões, que continuo sendo convidado para seminários não para ensinar técnicas de JiuJitsu, essas já não são segredos como outrora, mas sim pelo interesse na minha forma de entender e aplicar as técnicas. São as combinações e a forma como consigo fracionar as sequências que geram o interesse. 


Se as técnicas da luta corpo a corpo fossem letras, cada letra representando um movimento ou controle e isso fosse o que eu ensinasse, depois de ensinado o alfabeto, meu estoque acabaria. 

Mas ensino um idioma, ensino o JJ Brasileiro. 

Eu não ensino letras. Ensino como as combino em minha mente para então formar palavras e consigo soletrar cada letra delas, de maneira simples, onde todos possam entender.

Por isso entendo que o professor não pode perder a motivação de treinar, o treino é o bate papo, onde novas frases se formarão de acordo com as circunstâncias, sejam elas limitações físicas ( contusões, idade, etc), estilos de luta dos "oponentes", regras (sem tempo, com pontos, até finalizar etc) e outros. 


felipe costa

Depois de 5 meses recuperando de uma cirurgia, voltei a treinar com muitas limitações, tanto da lesão como na questão de resistência física, sem entrar no detalhe de desânimo que isso gera e até mesmo no exercício de controlar o ego. Essas limitações me forçaram a combinar algumas técnicas que me possibilitassem a ter algum êxito durante meus treinos. 

A combinação não saiu de imediato, mas com ajustes foi melhorando. 

Hoje ainda não estando 100%, mas já melhor da lesão, consigo fazer essa combinação de maneira mais eficiente, pois não há o fator "dor" que é muito limitante. 


Meu último seminário foi inteiro baseado nessas "frases" que formei para driblar minha limitação. 

Posso dizer que inventei algo? Não sei, acho que não. Meu mérito talvez seja a criatividade e visão de perceber essas combinações. Combinações essas que pode ter ou ser percebidas por outras pessoas do outro lado do mundo e podem formar até outro idioma, que  não o JJ Brasileiro, mas outra "luta agarrada". 


Ao fim do meu seminário, um aluno veio comentar que não sabia que eu tinha aquele conhecimento de Wrestling. Eu ri sem entender e disse que o meu conhecimento nessa área era limitado, ele ficou surpreso e disse que as técnicas que eu havia mostrado tinha muitos detalhes da luta e me mostrou formas de derrubar o adversário usando os mesmos controles. Fiquei maravilhado!

Idiomas diferentes ( modalidades) formados pelas mesmas letras  (técnicas), tendo suas combinações ou criações feitas de acordo com suas necessidades, influências culturais e regras. 


Procure aprender as palavras, as frases, os idiomas e não apenas as letras. Se cerque de pessoas com vocabulário vasto, entenda a combinação e certamente sua evolução será grande.


Posted by Felipe Costa Jul 03, 2017 Categories: BJJ Felipe Costa Jiu Jitsu Motivational