The job of head instructor is difficult and time consuming, yet very rewarding. Just ask Marcio Feitosa. He knows this all too well. As head instructor for five Gracie Barra schools, he has a very busy and interesting life that most people do not completely understand.
Under the leadership of Master Carlos Gracie, Jr., Feitosa has been given the directive to oversee school programs, including managing and training instructors. This type of instruction is not the kind of training that occurs on the mats. Instead, it is the kind of training that is outside the scope of BJJ techniques. Feitosa teaches his instructors how to share the philosophy of Gracie Barra with students. “They need to learn how to speak in front of people,” Feitosa says, “I teach them how to describe Jiu-Jitsu and define for them how they should speak to white belts, up to brown belts, for example.”
Feitosa loves his job. It is something he’s been doing for Master Carlos since he was a young man in Brazil. He moved to two different states (Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul) as a GB ambassador to start schools before he was trusted to teach classes at the GB HQ in Brazil. After he had proven himself in his work, Master Carlos sent him and professor Andre Fernandes to the U.S. to start the GB Association and GB America, which is the Headquarters for GB in the U.S. “Not many people know this, but Andre is one of the main people responsible for the success of GB in Orange County,” Feitosa says.
Feitosa says that Master Carlos gave him goals to accomplish while he was here. “One of those goals is to continue to convey the Jiu-Jitsu message and to teach instructors how to properly communicate GB Fundamentals and techniques in a way that students can benefit from the most,” Feitosa says, ”The other is to continue to help strengthen the GB Association in order to create more opportunities for the new up-and-coming GB black belts, so they can work in the field they love so much, which is Jiu-Jitsu.”
As head instructor, Feitosa is currently responsible for five schools: GB America, GB Mission Viejo, GB Anaheim Hills, and GB Placentia, and GB Laguna. He spends a lot of his time with his instructors and office staff making sure school programs are running well. His responsibilities as head instructor involve anything that could interfere with success “on the mat” from the type of class schedule offered, to the safety of the live training sessions. He also sends his staff written materials that they have to study and send back to him. “I supervise school programs and the instructors themselves,” Feitosa says, “I work with the schools’ software programs, read reports, and reformulate class schedules once I define which classes are the most popular.”
One exciting new development in Feitosa’s life is the growth of the Jiu-Jitsu market in Texas. “We have a very strong team in Houston,” Feitosa says, “Master Carlos wants me to help join forces with them to build a GB powerhouse in Texas like we have here in California. So, I am going to be going to Austin for 6 months to help start new schools and spread the GB Association over there. I will start in Austin and then move around the state, whenever the chance comes. Since my teenage years, I made it clear to Master Carlos that I would go wherever he thought I could help GB the most. If he says, ‘Texas,’ then that’s where I’m going, without asking any questions. I’m just so happy to be entrusted with such important projects for GB.”
Feitosa is upbeat about his trip and has been preparing for this for some time. “Spreading Jiu-Jitsu around the globe has always been the plan,” Feitosa says, “and it won’t stop in Texas. This is the job I’ve always done for Master Carlos. It’s just a continuation of the original plan.”
Master Carlos says the time has come for Feitosa to think bigger and get on the road again. “It’s been exactly five years since GB America opened,” he says, “We chose Austin because it’s central. Instructors from all over Texas will be able to commute to see Master Carlos. We will have a nice place for him to train, teach, and stay while we are there. We’ll be holding instructors’ meetings, seminars, and training camps to talk to everyone.”
While he’s gone, Marcio will still be overseeing the quality of all the schools and that the Jiu-Jitsu classes will continue to be taught by Kayron Gracie, Otavio Sousa, Marcelo Brandao, Gustavo Pires, Fabiana Borges, Lucas Rocha, Carlos Eduardo, Philipe Della Monica, and Rodrigo Simoes, which sounds like the equivalent of the “GB Dream Team.” “Besides that great team,” Feitosa says, “50% of the leadership of the schools I completely entrust to the black, brown, and purple belts we have promoted here in the last five years. They will help me a lot!”
“I’ll continue to oversee school programs, train instructors, and recruit the best instructors for our schools,” Feitosa says, “Plus, I’ll be back once or twice a month to check on everything.” Master Carlos will remain in California while Feitosa is gone. “Everything will continue to run smoothly in my absence,” Feitosa says, “Master Carlos and I will continue to promote to purple belt without delay and the other instructors will continue to promote to blue belt and give belt stripes when the time is right.”
If you’re interested in seeing what Feitosa is working on in Austin, Texas, check out www.gbaustin.com and http://www.facebook.com/graciebarra.austin for more information.