Mauricio Gomes Interview
Mauricio Gomes interviewed by Carl Fisher 24 February 2001
Carl Fisher & Mauricio Gomes
Thanks for taking time out to do this interview. When did you move to London?
Mauricio Gomes: I arrived here in December. There is an academy which is going to open 2nd May. It's called "The 3rd Space" and actually, I should be teaching there when it opens. It has a fully matted area; its a nice place. It's in Piccadilly Circus and the opening got delayed because of all of the refurbishment. So I am just waiting and teaching here meanwhile also in another place called Seymour Leisure Centre.
Why did you move to London?
Mauricio Gomes:The opportunity came through, I was invited to teach at the academy and see how things go.
Is the academy in Birmingham still going and who is in charge of that now?
Mauricio Gomes:Yes it's still going, Dave & Jabar are running it.For more information on Gracie Barra Birmingham please call 0777 305 9313 inside the UK....
What have you got planned for the new academy this year?
Mauricio Gomes:I think things put up slowly. I have already a lot of students here and guys are helping us a lot in promotions and Martial Arts Illustrated magazine, so basically what we are trying to do is try and hold official championships here which would qualify fighters to fight in the championships in Brazil. So we are creating a federation of Jiu-jitsu here in Europe getting people from around represented by me or some other person, we put everyone together, we hold at least 2 or 3 championships a year and this would qualify the fighters as we are the only ones rated by the international federation of Jiu-jitsu so they would quality the fighters to fight in Brazil like world championships or whatever.
Would that be the same for the Pan-Ams as well?
Mauricio Gomes:Pan American is just an American thing.
So you think the guys are ready in the UK and Europe for the tournaments in Brazil?
Mauricio Gomes:Yes. Things are picking up, the level is getting higher and higher and I think that from now on it's just going to grow.
Have you any seminars planned for 2001 or are you concentrating on setting up the competition side?
Mauricio Gomes: No, I usually give 2 seminars a month. I have 1 on Sunday at an Rob Locke's academy in Stourbridge, I have 2 in March, 1 for the Royal Marines at the Naval base and the other one at the end of the month at Dave Briggs' academy at Mansfield. There is always a seminar going around.
Who are your instructors?
Mauricio Gomes: Rolls Gracie
Moving onto the tragic news of Rockson Gracie, anything you would like to say.
Mauricio Gomes: Yes, it was a very very sad thing, it's something that you can't even think of the pain that a father would feel loosing his son and I couldn't even imagine that sort of thing, really very sad. He was the same age as my son.
How is your son now, is he teaching?
Mauricio Gomes: No he is preparing himself for the next competitions. He left here yesterday. He went back to Brazil fight the Brazilian Team Championship at the end of March and then he has the Pan-American in April then he should be back here for a couple of weeks and then we'll return to Brazil to get ready for the World Championships at the end of July.
Do you practice Vale Tudo in your clubs or just Brazilian Ju-jitsu?
Mauricio Gomes: No it's usually just Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. On the sports side with competitions and things like that we also do Ju-jitsu without the Gi but that does not mean that we do Vale Tudo. I do not try to teach what I do not do myself.
What are the main differences between Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Luta Livre?
Mauricio Gomes: Well, Luta Livre never put a Gi on, OK? They fight without the Gi and with Jiu-jitsu they use the Gi, but with the techniques, some are similar but quite different from one another
Are you familiar with the Abu Dhabi Combat Club concept of fighting.
Mauricio Gomes: Yes.
Do you enjoy them?
Mauricio Gomes: Yes very much.
Will you be going there this year or will you just be following it.
Mauricio Gomes: Yes I should be following it, I'm not going it's too expensive (haha). My son is looking for maybe going for the preliminaries next year.
Is there anyone in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu from Europe or throughout the World who you hold in high respect?
Mauricio Gomes: Oh - there are so many, too many to name!
How have the Gracies got to be so dominant in their art?
Mauricio Gomes: I think it is something inside you, they were born with that, and they have been doing it since they were 3 years old - studying, competing and growing inside. Something that the entire family studies together. All of the details, looking at this and looking at that. I think that they are a step ahead of everybody else.
Have you studied any other art yourself or has it just been Brazilian Ju-jitsu?
Mauricio Gomes: I did boxing for quite a while and enjoyed it and I did some Judo and a bit of wrestling. You go around doing things but you basically stick to your own.
Can you tell us a bit about your competition background please Mauricio?
Mauricio Gomes: I have competed ever since I started at the academy 1976 - 77, that's a long way back, then after 1986-87 I entered my last championship as a black belt. In 1996-97-98 I entered the Pan - American and won some Brazilian Championships. International Masters Category. I have won a lot of championships.
Do you like living in the UK?
Mauricio Gomes: Yes I do. You could change the weather a bit.
A lot of Brazilians' say they miss the warm weather, do you miss that?
Mauricio Gomes: Oh yes very much.
Do you get chance to visit as often as you would like to?
Mauricio Gomes: No, and I do not know what is going to happen when the academy opens. I went to Brazil last week and stayed there for 10 days, my son took care of the classes for me here. I expect my next time there will be at the end of July for the World Championships.
Where in Brazil are you from?
Mauricio Gomes: Rio.
What have been the high and the low points in your Jiu-jitsu career?
Mauricio Gomes: I think the high points were while Rolls was alive and when he died it was like part of you died as well. After his death, it took us a while for me anyway to get a grip of myself. Then with Jiu-jitsu it is something that you are born to, my father used to take me to the academy when I was very young and I have done it all my life. If you look back this was something he would not like us to be doing we have to continue something. So I think that every time that we thought about it we had to train harder and harder. Some part of my life after he died I had to work with other things because I needed money and I think basically I am still here representing a team and a teacher that very few people will have a clue who he was so I try and bring his name as far as I can.
So, we have interesting and exciting times to look forward to in the UK as far as Jiu-jitsu is concerned?
Mauricio Gomes: Yes very much so I think.
Mauricio, thanks for the interview
Mauricio Gomes: A pleasure my friend.
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