Last weekend, the fans from around Texas who crowded the Jerabeck Activity and Athletic Center for the IBJJF Houston Open were rewarded with a real treat. One of several top-tier Jiu-Jitsu stylists who entered the mix, Guilherme Mendes took the featherweight crown upon closing out with his brother Rafael, who took second. “It was on the last day of sign-ups that we decided to compete in Houston. We’re in San Diego at André Galvão’s academy training for upcoming tournaments, and there’s nothing better than competing for testing yourself and seeing what adjustments need to be made before the year’s big events. The Houston Open was great. I decided to compete at featherweight this time. I already started dieting to compete at light feather at the bigger events, but I’m losing weight in a proper, controlled manner. I only had one match, against Pablo Silva, and I got the tapout. Thank God I put in a good appearance; now I just have to keep up my training, fix some mistakes, and show up for the Pan even sharper,” Gui told GRACIEMAG.com.
The black belt knows that it’s the little things that make the difference, whether when attacking or defending, and offers two important lessons to help your Jiu-Jitsu evolve, as well as one on passing your opponent’s guard:
Test your Jiu-Jitsu
“As with all championships, I always try analyzing not just the technical part but how I was feeling before and during the match, and I always learn something and find something to fix. We’re constantly testing ourselves; we try competing to the max because we want to evolve and that evolution happens a lot quicker when we compete, since it’s at this moment when we’re being tested, it’s under pressure that we manage to see what positions really work and where we’re going wrong.”
Break your own records
“Surpassing last year’s results will be a huge challenge, and I’m driven by challenges. The target is always personal achievement, proving to myself that I can be better than what I’ve been; in this manner I can evolve without thinking specifically about competition. “André [Galvão] has been doing a gret job in San Diego and training has been going great! Now he’s putting together a training camp for the Pan, and we have a number of students from all over the world coming in to join us. We’re really enjoying it.”
Posture before technique
“At seminars we’re always talking a lot about ‘posture,’ how you position yourself so that even if you’re light you make yourself heavy, and even when you’re heavy you manage to be quick. Posture comes first, before pass techniques, since if you have good posture, you can frustrate your opponent, keep your base firm and attack at the right moment; when you don’t have good posture, even if you know thousands of guard pass variations, your opponent will sweep you before you get to try the first of them.
“I’d like to thank the gang that cheers for me and sends positive messages to us on Facebook [www.mendesbrosfans.com] and on Twitter [www.twitter.com/mendesbros]. We’re overjoyed by the messages we receive or when people show up at competitions and say they appreciate the work we do. That is worth more than anything, since there’s no point in being a champion if you don’t convey anything good to people. Thank you all, especially our family for the support and God for him allowing us to make a living doing what we love.”