With Jiu-Jitsu as a major part of his life, Raphael Barbosa has a long history of contributing to society with the sport. A black belt since 2007, graduated by his teacher Luís Cláudio, Raphael spent years teaching the sport in Thailand and the United States until his methodology was propagated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
A Jiu-Jitsu practitioner since he was 15 years old, he has always been devoted to studies and his black belt has arrived at the same rate as his undergraduate degree in Physical Education. Today, with five years of work at UFC Gym Middle East, the company that hired his services, Raphael recalls his first steps as a head coach and analyzes the technical level of Jiu-Jitsu overall.
“I remember I came here to start a project at the army’s military base and today I am a Jiu-Jitsu leader at UFC Gym. I am a true lover of the sport and I am always willing to pass on the best content to our students. I come from Rickson Gracie’s lineage; my teacher Luis is his black belt. Because of this, I never forget self-defense in my training. I believe competition is part of Jiu-Jitsu, but it has other parts to be presented and studied more and more. Our base comes from this Gracie lineage. Jiu-Jitsu here in the UAE will be a great power in a short time; the level is very high. Today we have more than 700 black belts developing the sport here,” says Raphael.
At 38 and 12 as a Jiu-Jitsu black belt, he celebrates the fruits of his work in competition as well. Last weekend, for example, at Fujairah International Pro, Raphael took 22 athletes and returned with five gold medals, one silver and three bronze.
“My students showed a very good technical level and a willingness to win. I’m sure my coaching team and I are on the right track. It was so good to see everyone working hard, wanting to win. I can’t wait to see everyone at the next competition next Friday. We are going with 25 athletes this time,” says the teacher.
Raphael took the time to highlight the key benefits of Jiu-Jitsu, whether you are competitive or not.
“Our sport is beneficial to our lives. We can improve our self-esteem, build more confidence and especially cope under pressure. Jiu-Jitsu changes the life of every practitioner, be it man, woman or child,” he concludes.