Jiu-Jitsu just keeps growing in the United States, and ever more black belts are moving to the country to train, compete and mainly, to teach at gentle art and MMA academies.
We sat down for a chat with one of these teachers, Las Vegas Open champion Marco Antonio “Sharpei” Giudice Machado, who recently moved to the USA to bolster Robert Drysdale’s team in California.
You even switched teams before coming here. How did that go, and how’s your new life?
It was a really difficult decision, as I had to change teams. I was at Barbosa and Robert called on me to be part of his team. I liked the offer and accepted. Now I live in Lancaster and am teaching at Kemos Fight Factory. There are excellent training partners: Lucas Leite, Lapela, João Assis, Mike and Sergio Bomba; we have all we need for professional training. And everyone’s really good people here, too.
But Robert’s one of your best friends, right? Is that the reason for the move…
Yes, “Cumbuca” is one of my best friends. I’ve known Robert since I was ten; we’ve been training together since the Master days, then at TT and finally Brasa. His Jiu-Jitsu is incredible; he helps me a lot even though he’s now focused on MMA. He’s really sharp without the gi. I believe soon he’ll be giving the guys at the UFC a hard time.
You just won the medium heavyweight division at the Las Vegas Open. How is your Jiu-Jitsu career coming along?
At black belt everything’s coming along really well; I’ve been competing as a black belt for two years and managed to win some titles. I have a lot to improve on to achieve more, and that’s what I’m working towards. And things here in California are going really well, I competed at three tourneys and won all three: the Joe Moreira, South Bay, and Las Vegas Open tournaments. I hope to keep evolving along with my team.
You had an even match with Tarsis Humphreys at the last Brazilian Nationals. How did that go?
It was 0 to 0. I went up against Tarsis in the quarterfinals of this year’s Brazilian Nationals. It was the third match and the winner would go through to the semifinals. I like his Jiu-Jitsu a lot; I’ve known him a long time. But I feel I attacked a lot more than he did, both standing and on the ground. No one scored any points. I feel leaving it in the hands of the judges is bad all around, for him, for me and especially, the referee. We’ll cross paths again in the future and I hope we have a great match.
What’s your next commitment?
My plans for now are the American Nationals, the Miami Open and two important no-gi championships: the Pan and the Worlds. And then, of course, to train a lot for the 2011 Pan and Worlds. I have a lot I need to do in Jiu-Jitsu, and I hope, God willing, to overcome all the obstacles and get gold at the Worlds. Without a doubt that’s by main goal as a competitor.
What’s your advice for someone who wants to move to another country and teach Jiu-Jitsu?
It’s hard work, lots of classes, coupled with hard training. But it’s gratifying, especially when you start seeing results, like growth in the academy and moving up the ranks at championships. I believe there’s room for everybody, but my advice is: anyone who comes to the USA, come willing to work. Because in Brazil all everybody wants to do is train and complain about not finding a place for themselves. There’s no lack of Jiu-Jitsu gyms in California. You have to come determined.