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Mendes bros talk 2014 accomplishments, 2015 sites on and off the mat

 

The Art of Jiu-Jitsu student base. Photo: Owen Francis Photography
The Art of Jiu-Jitsu student base. Photo: Owen Francis Photography

Guilherme and Rafael Mendes had a great year by many standards. They both won their fourth world championship title, were entered into the IBJJF Hall of Fame, facilitated multiple championship wins by their adult and kids students, celebrated two years since GMA Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy opened,  traveled the world to teach and compete and much more.

GRACIEMAG spoke with the duo in an end-of-year closing interview to speak about their accomplishments and goals still set.

Check it out:

GRACIEMAG: With 2014 coming to a close, can you say you accomplished all your goals?

MENDES BROS: Yes, and it’s way beyond winning the World Championship. I believe that our lives have improved a lot and it’s our main achievement, being able to support people that are with us every day, our family and students, doing what good people were doing to us when we started, supporting.

AOJ team at 2014 Kids Worlds. Photo: Owen Francis Photography
AOJ team at 2014 Kids Worlds. Photo: Owen Francis Photography

What achievements were made by the kids team at AOJ this year? What major milestones can go into the yearbook?

It’s definitely a result of team work, we can not talk about the kids program without giving credits to all our AOJ coaches. We feel blessed to have so many good people with us. The kids are amazing; in 14 years of training Jiu-Jitsu I never saw anything like it. Some academies have one, two, maybe three kids that always win tournaments. We have 60, 70 kids that always win tournaments. It’s because of the environment. Our kids are inspired by us and the coaches as we motivate them and we keep the classes fun. They love Jiu-Jitsu and the result could not be different.

Since winning the worlds for another year, both of you, can you describe what it feels like to keep winning the most prestigious title? When will you be satisfied or when will your competition results be enough?

Rafa after winning his fourth black belt world title. Photo: Ivan Trindade
Rafa after winning his fourth black belt world title. Photo: Ivan Trindade

It feels amazing of course, not like the first one but each one has a special taste. Being able to enter the Hall of Fame is something special, because our name will be in the history of the sport forever. Stopping competition is something hard, especially when you are as young as we are. We don’t have any special number to achieve now but we just can’t stop because we feel greater than ever.

What was the proudest moment this year as competitors? As teachers? As school owners?

As competitors it was winning Worlds, as professors we had great results with kids team winning Pan Kids, students winning Pans, Europeans & Worlds, just watching all the students improving competition after competition is something very motivational. People that could not win the first match before are becoming great competitors, world champions, and it’s a result of dedication. There is nothing more special than seeing hard work pay off.

Congratulations to our students for the discipline and focus–true champions. As school owners? I don’t see us as “school owners” but as leaders of a team, because when we grow, everybody that is with us grows together. We don’t have the boss mentality, we have the leaders mentality. We walk together, always leading by example.

Now we are in Brazil visiting our family. We come every year and spend two weeks with them. It’s good to see everybody but we already miss our AOJ family. Hope everyone has a happy holiday with many dreams to achieve in 2015, that God gives everyone the health and courage to pursue each one of these dreams.

Follow the team at www.artofjiujitsu.com and follow the brothers on Instagram @MendesBros

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