Michael Langhi has packed his bags for Florida, where he will open a new academy, as GRACIEMAG.com readers already know. In the following interview the black belt comments on his hopes in his career as a teacher and addresses talk following his first loss after three years undefeated: “I’m not retired.”
Here’s what he had to say:
Why move to the USA?
Here in Brazil we know that that’s the best move for the future. We aren’t worth what we would be teaching abroad, where we are more appreciated. So I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now. I’ve been mulling it over with [Rubens] Cobrinha and decided to accept a good offer I was made. I’ll get to teach what I know.
Where will competitions fit into this new routine of yours?
I’m not going to stop competing. I read some comments about that on GRACIEMAG.com. There comes a time in an athlete’s life where he has to change paths a bit. Now I’ll get to work on my new academy, but I’m going to continue competing at events like the Pan and the Worlds. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to participate in some others, like the European Open, but I’m going to be competing to win. I’m not retiring, nothing of the sort. I’m just thinking about my future and I’m still going to be taking everyone on.
But how will you be able to keep up the quality of training you’re used to, have you thought about that?
I’m only going to be an hour’s plane ride from Atlanta, where there are lots of tough training partners. I’ll be a two-hour flight from New York, where Lucas Lepri is. I’ve also worked it out so I’ll be able to go to Brazil to finish up training prior to the Pan and the Worlds. Of course I won’t have the level of training I have here, but that doesn’t mean it’s a determining factor. Cobrinha left Brazil with one world title and won another four while living abroad. Marcelo Garcia left here with two titles and won another four while abroad. I know what I have to do and will always be able to rely on friends like my brother [Michael Langhi], Bruno Malfacine, Gabriel Gulart. Every two months someone will come stay with me.
Will you be in any other competitions this year? Will you be at the ADCC?
Marcelo is in my division at the ADCC and they don’t invite two athletes from the same academy and weight group. Marcelo to me is the best No-Gi athlete in the world, so I know the academy will be well represented. I fly out the last week of September and in late October there’s the Miami Open, who I’ll compete at to motivate the guys at the academy. We’ll see if compete at the No-Gi Worlds, but I’ll be at the Miami Open for sure.
What challenges do you think await you as a teacher?
I try to be at my best in whatever I do. It’s what I love doing. I’ve been a black belt for four years, competing at all the tournaments and going three years without losing. In the Jiu-Jitsu of today, I feel that’s a great achievement. It’ll be the same thing as a teacher, I want to be the best I can be. I know this year I didn’t perform that well, but even so I had good results. I won the Pan and Euro, beat Durinho in the World Pro qualifiers, made it to the podium at the Brazilian Nationals and the Worlds, where I lost to Kron Gracie but feel I deserved to win. I’m going to keep giving my all.