Alexandre Odebrecht, 39, took his first steps in jiu-jitsu in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro state, under the instruction of Prof. Fabricio “Bicudo” Medeiros. The teachings were essential to the journey of Alexandre, who currently resides and teaches in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Having lived there for nine years, Alexandre now feels at home with the culture and way of life.
“I adapted pretty quickly; I like the place and my routine a lot,” he said. “The climate is very similar to that of Rio de Janeiro, so it’s pretty easy to deal with the heat. The Arab people have their own customs; they wear different clothes, and their cuisine is based around meat, grains and dairy, which doesn’t deviate much from what we Brazilians also like.”
He added: “The sheikh has embraced our sport; he made jiu-jitsu progressively more valued and more professional. I’m very grateful for everything.”
A two-time champion of the masters’ World Pro and collector of medals on the IBJJF circuit, Alexandre is responsible for teaching jiu-jitsu at Flyhigh Fitness, TK MMA Fitness, Binous Gym, Al Nasr Club and Sharjah Self Defense Club — five BJJ schools in Dubai.
“Our Team Alexandre Odebrecht (TAO) has more than 100 students with all five schools combined,” he said. “My way of teaching jiu-jitsu follows the methodology I learned from Fabrício and Helder, my teachers, and I teach from the basics up to advanced stuff.”
“I’m always competing, traveling and participating in seminars to evolve progressively as a teacher,” he continued. “I fuse everything I learned doing old-school jiu-jitsu with today’s jiu-jitsu, which is more commercial. My students will always have the most modern techniques available, also. We at TAO propagate BJJ as a sport and tool for personal development, because the sport’s philosophy teaches much more than a technique on the mat.”
And just in case you’re wondering whether you’re invited to roll with the people at TAO, Alexandre went on to clarify:
“People from around the world are coming here to train, to do their camp for future competitions, and you’re invited too. When you feel like training here, just send a message and you will be very welcome. I hope to see all of you who want to evolve your techniques and train in one of our sport’s highest-rated hubs.”
Alexandre, who has a veterinary degree and has practiced BJJ for the past 21 years, ended the interview by speaking passionately about the way the sport is treated in the UAE:
“Jiu-jitsu is seen as a national sport here. It’s gratifying to see the magnitude of our sport and how we, the teachers, can feel valued by this country. Today, it is, indeed, possible to live off jiu-jitsu. Before — ten, 15 years ago — it was impossible to imagine a reality like the one we’re currently living. May our jiu-jitsu go on making a difference more and more in each practitioner who ties their first belt around their waist. Jiu-jitsu is an ally for you to live a healthier, better life.”