A five-time BJJ world champion and member of the IBJJF Hall of Fame, Romulo Barral has quite the résumé, to say the least. As a teacher, he has had success with his school in California. Impressive as his achievements are, he’ll be the first to tell you it can all be traced back to one place: Gracie Barra Belo Horizonte.
A student under Vinícius Draculino, Barral sharpened his dangerous guard on the mats of the gym located in the state of Minas Gerais. Now, after taking over the world with his sweeps and finishes, he has been honored by the place that raised him. Passing through Brazil, Romulo paid a visit to the gym’s new facilities, taught in the inaugural seminar, and was surprised by his friends Cláudio Caloquinha, Sérgio Benini and Wilson Bolão. He got a plaque signaling the gratitude of Gracie Barra BR to its biggest champion.
Graciemag caught up with Rominho afterwards. “I came home,” he said. “Here at Gracie Barra BH it’s always a different emotion. This time it was checking out the new headquarters. The gym looks wonderful, with many improvements, thanks to the good work of friends Cláudio Caloquinha, Sérgio Benini, Wilson Bolão and Draculino. Plus I got to reunite with great teachers and training mates, like Titi, Maurão, Cacá, Ivanzinho and Tio Chico.”
“After getting older, becoming a dad, we get softer, you know?” he added. “I was honored as GB BH’s biggest world champion, one of the guys who changed that generation of BJJ. There is no better feeling — coming home after so long and being recognized in such a way. It was the most moving honor of my life. My first steps were there — I became who I am there.
“It’s very nice seeing the gym in the same place — all the fruit of some very hard work from Draculino; a team that has shaped many champions, like Felipe Preguiça, who brought the unprecedented title of absolute ADCC champion to Gracie Barra BH. And the school will shape many more champions still.”