Felipe Costa had a pretty great 2011. Heading into 2012, the BRASA team leader, who has affiliate schools in Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Finland, and New Zealand; reflects on one of the highlights of his 2011 year: taking his Mexican affiliate school members to the Mexican Nationals.
Felipe currently has affiliated schools in seven different Mexican states. Felipe says, “In total, we have 10 academies that fight under the BRASA flag.” Felipe has been visiting his schools in Mexico since 2004 and today has students who hold black, brown, and purple belts teaching in those academies. “I visit Mexico at least two times a year and the main students try to visit me in Brazil once a year as well,” Felipe says.
The Mexican Nationals have been taking place for several years, but 2011 was the first year they were held under the affiliation of the IBJJF. Felipe encouraged his students to register and compete at the tournament. “Our initial plan was to put 30 competitors together, since our academies are spread around Mexico and it’s very expensive for them to travel,” Felipe says, “I got there three weeks before the event and visited many of the academies to train with and motivate the students before the tournament.”
Felipe says the Mexican BRASA group is very well integrated, so instead of 30 registrants entering into the Mexican Nationals, they got 130 competitors to go.
“The Mexican Nationals had over 600 competitors this year, the biggest group so far,” Felipe says, “In the end, we made 182 points, which was only five points behind the first place team. But they brought over 70 competitors more than us. So, that means we had 35% less fighters, but 46% better results!” Now that is a successful trip.
Felipe hung out in Mexico for about three weeks for this particular trip, but he’s been traveling there for many years. “This time I got the chance to visit Mexico from North to South and I went to many cities, yet there is still so much I want to see,” he says, “Mexico is one of the most beautiful places I have visited in the world. I recommend everyone who loves to travel and likes BJJ to give it a try.”
Jiu-Jitsu is growing rapidly in Mexico and Felipe says he has a lot of respect for everyone who practices the sport, regardless of their team affiliation. “I just want everyone to know that any visitor from any team is welcome in our academies in Mexico,” he says, “Mexicans are very warm and welcoming. You can feel the love in its people and places.”
Felipe is grateful to have been able to help change the lives of others through the art of Jiu-Jitsu, and his time in Mexico only added to that feeling. “The Jiu-Jitsu benefits are huge,” he says, “Besides a great sport and a way of keeping a healthy lifestyle, it helps build confidence and that makes a big difference in anyone’s life. Jiu-Jitsu crosses all boundaries. It doesn’t matter what a person’s nationality is or whether it’s just a hobby to a regular person or a lifetime pursuit and dedication to an athlete. It benefits everyone.”
Felipe, himself, learned the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu from an early age. He started training in Jiu-Jitsu at 12 and will be 34 years old in 2012. He’s a third degree black belt under Rodrigo Comprido. He says, “I’m the first, and so far, the only, BJJ World Champion to achieve the world champion title at the black belt level, without ever winning any major tournaments in the lower belts. All my biggest titles were after I got my black belt, something very unusual, since most top fighters are seen to be natural born champions. I like to believe my history brings hope to a lot of people who are dedicated, but haven’t had as good of results as they’d wished for as they rise in their belts.”
Felipe says he’s conquered all his goals in relation to the major IBJJF gi tournaments as a black belt in the adult category, except for the Pan where he’s won silver the last three years in a row. He also hasn’t competed in the Asian Open yet, so that’s on his bucket list as well. Outside of that, he says he will continue to fight in the adult division, but he is already mixing it up and starting to compete in the master’s division in some categories. “I still feel the urge to train hard and compete, so it’s super pleasant for me to do so,” the Jiu-Jitsu veteran says.
As for his 2012 goals, Felipe says, “I’m going to fight in the biggest IBJJF tournaments for sure. And Comprido and I are planning our Brazilian Black Belt Jiu-Jitsu Camp for 2012 in Cancun. It will be held on September 20th and UFC fighter Demian Maia is going to be our special guest. He’s going to teach the MMA set. Places are going to fill up very fast. We are really looking forward to having our traditional camp in Mexico for the first time.”
If you would like more information about Felipe and his schools, programs, and camps, you can contact him three different ways. At his official website: www.felipecosta.com, on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/felipecostaBJJ or on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/felipecostabjj.