legend Mauricao Gomes talks to Carl Fisher, March 23rd 2003, Jersey,
brilliant seminar and a fine weekend of training; have you enjoyed yourself?
indeed Carl I have; Rob and his group always make me very welcome out here and
its nice to be appreciated.
was the last time you visited Jersey?
a year ago; after that my son Roger came over and we swap about so the guys can
receive different methods of teaching and different techniques to practice.
have also been awarding belts today as well?
I am very happy and always happy to give out the belts, first because you are
awarding somebodys hard work; you dont just get a belt because youre
a special person. I never give a belt to somebody where he will not be able to
use and defend his belt properly anywhere he goes. I would look ridiculous and
they would look ridiculous and as a whole the guy would end up saying why do I
use this belt if I cant defend it.
with the belt promotions, youve been busy promoting others in the UK?
we now have some more purple belts; they have been training and entering competitions
as often as possible, especially the guys from Birmingham and have so many local
competitions and they now have a strong group. The London guys are gonna get jealous
(laughs) but I think the Birmingham guys train harder you know and work harder,
thats why I gave Rachel her purple belt alone you know; Ande, Barry, Glen
and Dan, they were all going to get the belts together, but I wanted to give Rachel
her belt separately as she has been putting in a lot of hard work, a lot of hard
work, so many hours and she is so good, so I wanted her to have a special day
to herself. Dan Elmer had the belt first, he was one of the first guys with me
from the start, when he first came to me he was almost blue belt level, so its
a reward of all the years hard work. A purple belt is one stay towards the darker
belts brown and black and a very significant step forward and youre kind
of leaving your teenage groundwork on the way to the adult level and I feel very
proud to give them their belts as well as John Donnelly, Jude Samuels, a very
very good player, very dedicated and Kevin Chan from London.
was the first club, now we have two clubs in London, the guys in Belfast, Rob
in Jersey and now one in Guernsey and clubs in Leeds, Exeter, Edinburgh, Bradford,
Doncaster and its growing all the time; after all these years with me and
Roger coming out here, people are trusting us a little more and seeing that we
have been doing a pretty good job here, trying to pass on the information about
How long are you
here for this time?
three months; last June I was here and I was going to come out at the end of the
year, but Sal was here, as well as Roger and Philipe Souza, so there were too
many guys here and came out this year instead. I leave near the end of April after
the Seni 2003 event 20th April and go back to Brazil and come back
in the end of May as I will be opening Gracie Barra in Shanghai, China.
did this come about?
was a guy that was training with us and he wanted to start a club in the Golds
Gym in Shanghai, so its a good venue, so lets see how its received.
In 1997 I was the first Brazilian to teach BJJ in Japan, in Tokyo, so I hope it
goes well in China.
did Japan happen?
Gracie is my ex brother in law and he called me for the gig in Japan as they needed
someone who could speak good English and sent me out there to start an academy
and I went out for three months and another two three month periods after that
and it was good fun and have now been here in the UK for nearly five years. Ill
go out to China to set things up and then come back here to the UK as I have some
seminars and workshops at the start of June and at the start of July and then
off to Brazil as Roger is at the Worlds and I want to compete in the International
Masters this year at the end of August in Brazil and have been training pretty
good. Last year I broke my thumb, so I couldnt go (laughs).
trains Mauricao Gomes then? Youre a seventh degree, you know it all.
degree means that Im older (laughs); so you get to a situation where my
ex brother in law Helion, Carlinhos and the guys at Gracie Barra, Marcio Feitosa,
I train with these guys. Helion I train with a lot as his academy is close to
my house and I live in Ipanema and is easier to come and go and Barra is far away;
sometimes I end up training with ten or twelve black belts, we just make arrangements
to meet up somewhere and train.
in the Mundials this year; whos he training with now?
with his cousin Renzo and will be training hard til May and then goes back to
Brazil and hes been doing well.
he going on there; are they coping with him?
think giving Roger a hard time is not an easy task anymore (laughs). Hes
staying with Renzo at his house and hes helping to polish off his game.
must be due his black belt soon?
should be going into the Pan Ams as well so lets see what happens; I think
he a strong level to change the belt but its not up to me, thats up
to Carlinhos and Marcio, as they are his coaches throughout the belts. Its
not up to me just because Im his father, I would not give him the belts,
it wouldnt be good, it wouldnt look and I wouldnt look good
and neither would he. His uncle would probably give him his belt.
will the UK have a brown belt?
very soon; Im not naming anyone yet (laughs). Maybe by the end of the year,
start of next year. Gracie Barra UK will have its first English black belt as
well and I hope I have the honour of awarding it.
does Carlos value the UK scene?
very busy; since we started we have had a very good conversation about the future
of BJJ in the UK and its been growing a lot. The last time we spoke we settled
things to start the Association here to hold championships under the Confederation
and it wont be long before the UK is holding official competitions. Anyone
wishing to compete in Brazil will have to go through these competitions, they
will be the official European BJJ events and its all in the process, a lot
of red tape to get through, but its looking well.
Europe, its going well, we have Kazeka in Belgium and one in Paris and the
Marcelo Yogui guys in Scandinavia. Marcelo and I get along very well and have
the keys to his academy in Rio that I can use any time I want. I know him very
well and usually when guys come to Rio I take them to his academy, like Rick Young,
my London students and put them near Marcelos academy.
here for three months and have a heavy schedule training and teaching; where do
you get the energy to keep going?
jitsu gives me the energy and my kids; its the only thing we really have,
the art and the family, not counting on the ex wives (big laughs). Its the
kids that make me try my best and do my best. Ju jitsu will relieve stress, give
you a good workout, make you leave your troubles behind until after the session;
some people spend thousands of pounds in therapy you know, go to a ju jitsu school
and get on the mats instead and sweat and train. Its been in me before I
was born; he used to take me to the academy when he trained at Helios first
What was his
he was from Brazil and he took me when I was a little boy and in turn I took my
son there; he had no escape, he had my fathers side and his mothers
side (laughs), he could never have gone away from ju jitsu.
its been a pleasure to interview you as always; see you next week in Birmingham.
photo Carl Fisher
links: Interview with Rob Staples