Originally from New Mexico, in the late 1990s Alberto Crane moved to Brazil to learn Jiu-Jitsu. With steller achievements as a competitor both in BJJ and MMA, Crane now runs four GB schools in California and is about to open two more. Our GMA took some questions for the Gracie Barra official website.
How did your having the guts to spend so many years training in Brazil change you and the way you teach today?
Professor Alberto Crane: Training in Brazil changed me in many ways; it taught me toughness, street smarts, and it opened my mind and heart to the culture of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the rest of my life.
You own four schools and are about to open two more. What’s the strong point in spreading Jiu-Jitsu around?
Right now we have Gracie Barra Burbank, Encino and Pasadena. We just opened up Gracie Barra Woodland Hills and will be opening up Gracie Barra Hollywood and Gracie Barra Baldwin Park in the next month. The strong point of spreading GB BJJ around for me is simple, I really believe in Gracie Barra and what it is all about! Gracie Barra changed my life as a young man. This is my way of giving back, making a difference, helping and improving people’s lives through the work that we do.
How was your last MMA bout? Does it help you to teach BJJ for everyone?
My last MMA fight was in July of this year. It was an amazing experience, it was in an outdoor arena in the South of France adjacent to the French Riviera. I won by first round submission. It really doesn’t get any better than that! How does fighting MMA help me teach BJJ for everyone? I want to experience everything. I want to be the best martial artist I can be. I think when you compete and fight and go for it, I think at some level you inspire the student to battle their own fight, in whatever it may be, to be better. Also from a self-defense BJJ technical standpoint, I understand what I can and cannot do in a real situation where there are strikes involved. It just makes me a better teacher.
Jiu-Jitsu is all about family. We heard you left New Mexico for California at your family and wife’s behest, right? How important is it to listen to your family?
Yes, I left my native New Mexico for California because I made a deal with my wife when we got married. My wife is Armenian and it was very important to her once we have kids that they grow up around the Armenian culture. So she moved to New Mexico and, once she got pregnant with my son Sevan, I followed through on my end. I definitely miss family and all my students in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. We now have Sona and Serineh, our twin girls, and the support my wife has definitely made things easier. What’s the saying, “A happy wife is a happy life”?