Analysis of the importance of the master

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GRACIEMAG was present at the party honoring José Aldo after he dethroned Mike Brown in November of 2009, when he captured the WEC featherweight belt. This time, after Aldo’s second title defense, in a great performance against Manny Gamburyan, the one honored at Nova União academy was André Pederneiras.

Photo: Carlos Ozório

“Dedé”, who has worked with the WEC champion for several years, follows the guiding principles that command most Jiu-Jitsu academies, or some teams based on other styles like Chute Boxe, for example. The black belt works with the fighters starting at their base and is recognized by them as their master.

In an article published on (see here), Mohamad Jehad analyzes the often controversial posture of Chael Sonnen and the possibility that the master, one who advises or imposes limits, is definitive in determined situations. The truth is that, currently, many fighters opt to hire a team and set aside the “culture of the master.”

I don’t feel there are negative repercussions to it, but having someone you can trust is always good. If I ask the folks at the academy to jump head first, they jump and ask why later. That is something very valuable during a difficult moment in a fight. The people on the outside who understand what is going on can see things the athlete in the ring can’t. So having someone to believe in is very important. When we hire trainers for a specific fight, and there is no solid trust, the fighter may hesitate when it is time to get out of a situation or take advantage of an opportunity,” opines Pederneiras, who also feels the lack of a master could have implications in a fighter’s behavior:

“Things like this end up happening: When we listen to someone our entire life, it’s hard to talk back to him. But, of course, there’s always questioning, and I’m totally open to that. I’m here to learn too, not just to teach. But it does happen.”

Pupils horse around, but withrespect. Photo: Carlos Ozório

But now how does one produce a champion like José Also and the many others under his command? Is the master important in this formula?

“The first most important thing is the athlete’s determination. Sometimes the guy has a lot of skill, but he doesn’t have the will power to give his all in training. He will never be champion. So it depends a lot on the athlete. And that’s often why a great athlete will leave a small team. The main thing is the will of the fighter. But of course, students will do what they feel is right,” he says in closing.

Master and team. Photo: Carlos Ozório

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