Gracie Jr exclusive UK interview!
Carl Fisher 10 February 2004
all the years on the reporting front, Ive carried around a top ten list
of people in the grappling world that I have wanted to interview; Ive been
fortunate enough to tick a large number of people off my list (most notably at
the ADCC 2001 championships) yet BJJ has always been my main passion and being
a Gracie Barra student, the most sought after interview would have to be with
Carlos Gracie Jr.
to conveniently hop on a plane to Brazil to achieve this dream, I placed the number
one name on the back burner, striking it off as a pipe dream
now. As growing testament to the rise of Gracie Jiu Jitsu in the UK, Carlos took
time out of his busy schedule and dropped in to London after the highly successful
European BJJ tournament in Lisbon, the previous week.
overall head of Gracie Barra held a one off seminar on Saturday 6th
February and I can now cross that number one name off my list as I present to
you, Fighting Photographers first 2004 interview - Carlos Gracie Jr.
are you looking forward to the seminar today?
Gracie Jr : Of course Carl, yes I am.
long are you in England for?
Gracie Jr : Just for the weekend to do the seminar as Roger invited me over to
open his new school and he called me and said you have to see the new place and
meet all the Gracie Barra students.
this your first time in the UK?
Gracie Jr : It is yes
you be coming here again?
Gracie Jr : Sure; my plan is to arrange a tournament in Europe every year and
it will make me come back here and spend more time in the UK, as I spent a lot
of time in Portugal just now. I have some business to sort out in Brazil, but
next time I hope to be here again this year.
long did you stay in Portugal?
Gracie Jr : I stayed about twenty days and we organised the tournament together
with the guys from the Portugal academy; there were many countries competing over
the weekend. I organised the event and directed the people on how to organise
the event, I didnt referee any matches.
did you think about the competition?
Gracie Jr : It was very nice, it went well, it wasnt so big with number
of participants but it was the first event of its kind in Europe, but it
will grow little by little. It was clean and fast and I think the people enjoyed
Do you plan
to open more academies in Europe?
Gracie Jr : Yes I do, Im looking to organise a Gracie Barra organisation
and its now time to invest in Europe and organise as many as possible.
has been working hard here in the UK, establishing Gracie Barra in the UK?
Gracie Jr : Yes, hes a very serious guy and is working hard and I think
through his hard work, this country is one of the strongest in Europe for jiu
Are you pleased
with Rogers progress?
Gracie Jr : He trains hard and is keen and am very restrictive to give a black
belt to a fighter, as I have two kinds of students, one who wants to be a fighter
and the others just want to train and enjoy life, so they dont have to be
pushed too hard, they have other jobs and cannot spend as much time on the mat
as they would like. The fighters can put the hours in on the mats and I push them
hard and Roger trains hard and now hes opening a school and being professional
in his teaching, so this will take up a lot of his time and energy, so choices
have to be made and after hes settled things here, he can come back to Brazil
and start hard training again.
was scheduled to attend the seminar today, yet hes not here now?
Gracie Jr : Thats right he was due here, but my nephew Rodrigo is due to
fight in Pride and he said it was going to be very difficult to attend here, so
he said he will come next time.
Barra now has a Vale Tudo team doesnt it?
Gracie Jr : Yes a lot of people in my school when they get the black belt, they
say they want to fight vale tudo, so we now have a team that trains and I put
somewhere in the academy to take care of that and now its growing a lot
and this year the guys will fight more and they are training hard. We have some
guys over from Cuba to teach the wrestling and some kickboxing trainers.
you still get time to go on the mats in Brazil?
Gracie Jr : Yes I try to every day or night to spar with my students and take
a class, as I dont want to lose contact with jiu jitsu and the time I feel
happiest is when I am on the mats, its the best time for me.
else helps you with the CBJJ?
Gracie Jr : In the school, Marcio Feitosa is the chief instructor in the academy
and for the CBJJ we have Marcelo, we call him Siriema, which is a bird with long
legs (laughs), everybody knows him by this name (laughs).
Mundials are growing each year, would you agree?
Gracie Jr : Yes the foreign participants continue to grow and I think the level
is very high, there are a lot of tough guys; I see in a couple of years there
will be many good foreign fighters.
did you feel about Roger and Pe de Pano facing each other in the finals, as team
mates do not usually fight each other?
Gracie Jr : Most of the time the eldest fighter have the title, as theyve
been longer in the black belt, but the television were coming to me and we need
to record the finals and we want the guys to fight and they pushed me a lot, so
I said OK lets go and make a fight, we dont care who wins we have
to fight and they went and fought.
Barra has new kimonos in stock now?
Gracie Jr : We want to start a uniform and everyone use the same gis, so
when the tournaments are on you can see whos with Gracie Barra and on the
back well have the name of the teachers on the back but the man who makes
the kimonos does not have the time yet to do it, hes very busy. They will
be available in the UK soon.
do you see Gracie Barra in five years time?
Gracie Jr : I give a lot of my time to the federation and to spread jiu jitsu
around the world and Gracie Barra is growing naturally and now I want to make
it work like a company and become a strong organisation.
keeps you motivated to keeping the flame alive?
Gracie Jr : I think I have a legacy of my family, my father had the first job
and I was born in a place in the family that had ideas to spread jiu jitsu and
I think it is very important in my life and its been so good in my life
that I want to pass it to other people so they can enjoy it and bring people together
and make their life more healthy.
for Neil Owen and Neil White, as they got their purple belts from Carlos Gracie