Text: Marco Réss
I started training Jiu-Jitsu in 1991, in São Paulo, with the late Marcelo Behring. What piqued my interest was an MMA event in São Paulo, in which Jiu-Jitsu athletes faced Full Contact and Kung Fu fighters. I remember how easily Jiu-Jitsu dominated all the matches and that impressed me.
Right at the beginning of my career, I was met with a challenge: the address of Behring Jiu-Jitsu changed as soon as master Flávio Behring, who graduated me to blue belt, took over the team, a fact that made it impossible for me to continue training there. I started training at Companhia Paulista with Professor Rich Kowarick and stayed there until I reached brown belt.
Before Jiu-Jitsu, I practiced karate for 10 years and judo for 4 years. I practiced judo as a complement to Jiu-Jitsu. Competitions have always been very present in my life, but even brown belts were fewer, the main ones only happened in Rio de Janeiro and, at the time, Jiu-Jitsu was still very amateur. From purple belt onwards, more competitions started to appear and everything became more professional.
In 1998 I moved to the interior of São Paulo and, as Jiu-Jitsu was not widespread, I had to look a lot until I found somewhere to train. I trained for a while with master Orlando Saraiva, who is responsible for my brief stint at MMA, but distance, a constant hindrance in my athlete life, led me to change course yet again.
In 2001, I started training in Poços de Caldas, in the state of Minas Gerais, and I received my black belt the following year at the hands of Professor Paulo Resende. The good memories of that period may not seem like it, but they are directly linked to Jiu-Jitsu. That’s when I got married and the kids came. My wife has always been my haven and she is directly responsible for our professional success, for helping and encouraging the family to stay in the gentle art. With this essential support, my life as an athlete became easier and it was during this period that I won my most important competitions. There were several Brazilian Championships, International Masters, and a valuable silver in the Pan of the IBJJF, as well as classic State Championships of the FPJJ, victories in the NABJJ, and other federations.
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A very common fact at that time for many fighters is that we had to be athletes and teachers at the same time. This worked well for me as I always used my experiences as a fighter to improve my repertoire as a teacher. A point I learned as an athlete, and that I always tell my students, is that whatever is your goal in life, dedication, selflessness, and commitment are essential factors for success. This allowed me to win in Jiu-Jitsu and still train a lot of good athletes.
In 2021, I completed 16 years at Gracie Barra. Being received in GB was a turning point for me, as master Carlinhos’ vision of bringing Jiu-Jitsu to everyone greatly expanded my perception of teaching the gentle art. I started to contemplate a more complete Jiu-Jitsu that considers self-defense as an important part as any other, attracting more people to the practice. Today, we work together with all GB schools around the world. All in the same harmony and taking us, through Jiu-Jitsu, to a better world. The training of athletes is the result of this work, always looking for excellence.