GB Montreal’s Bruno Fernandes does his part to try to promote Gracie Barra around Canada. “I feel it’s one of my roles,” he says. Although Bruno is very busy with his career as a researcher at McGill University in Montreal, he continues to passionately run GB Montreal, which currently has about 180 students.
Bruno has been building up his school and his team and is proud of their accomplishments thus far. “My students compete a lot and recently medaled at the Europeans and the Pan,” he says, “I was happy to be able to bring five students out to the Worlds this year after only being open for one year.”
Although Bruno is trying to build a strong competitive team within GB Montreal, he himself has stopped competing. Bruno is now 33 years old now. “I passed the torch,” he says, “I love competing, but it’s hard to train in Canada. I’m at a different phase in my life. I’m focused on my career, running my school and training my students.”
Bruno says he’s not retired, but he’s had some obstacles that have held him back from the competitive scene. He had a knee injury and then a neck injury that put him out of commission. “I basically stopped for two whole years,” Bruno says, “I’m injury free now. So, people will see me still. I plan a comeback for next year.”
Bruno will compete at the masters level. “It’s almost harder to have to go faster,” Bruno says, referring to the five-minute masters’ matches, “If you make a mistake there’s no time to catch up.”
Bruno loves competing and the impact it has on his life. “Jiu-Jitsu motivates me to keep a healthy lifestyle,” he says, “Competition turns that up a notch. I eat healthier, get more rest, train harder, and stay more focused. My students want me to compete. It pushes them to train harder. It’s had a good impact on my life all around.”
So, Bruno is going to start training again to compete. He’s going to see if he can get his timing back so he can go for the gold again. He believes that after all the training you do before an event, it boils down to “mental heart” once you get there and he is looking forward to getting out there again, and proving to himself that he still has what it takes to get it done. “I want to do it,” he says, “So many times ego stands in your way and prevents you from doing the things you love. I have to drop the ego and just do it. That’s the message I want to send. I have to walk the talk. If I tell my students that winning or losing doesn’t matter, and then I’m not competing and they see me training… I have to back up what I say and lead by example.”
For now, Bruno will continue to teach seminars around Canada and promote Gracie Barra whenever and wherever he can. In August he’s bringing Lucio Legarto out from the UK to GB Montreal to teach a seminar. “He’s going to stay a week or two,” Bruno says, “He’ll be really good for my training. I haven’t seen him in years!”
Bruno does have one other exciting event coming up – a fundraising seminar for the Canada Team of deaf Basketball players. “They are going to compete in Italy in September and they’re trying to raise funds,” Bruno says, “The coach is a Brazilian friend of mine. I work at the university with his mom.” If you’d like details on this event or you’d like to contribute to the cause, you can go to Bruno Fernandes’ Facebook page for more information.