Jiu-Jitsu black belt trained at Alliance Rio, under the command of Professor Gigi Paiva, Fabio Leandro studied gentle art for years until he formed Alliance Angra dos Reis. With the success of his academy in Costa Verde, Fabio traveled on vacation to Florida and fell in love with South Venice, a city that today he is proud to help with the teachings of Jiu-Jitsu, inside and outside the mats of the Alliance Venice Team.
To better understand the delivery routine of the dedicated teacher, GRACIEMAG had a long chat about choosing Jiu-Jitsu as a profession, the love and dedication to improve the Venice community with Jiu-Jitsu and the goals for a great future teaching non only soft art, but using Jiu-Jitsu philosophy to improve the lives of students and friends in Florida. Check out!
How was your start in the fighting world?
I started training Jiu-Jitsu through some lawyer friends in 1998. In 2008 I had the pleasure of meeting Alexandre Paiva, Gigi, one of the founders of Alliance. Since then my whole life has changed, not only inside the mat but outside as well. One of the most important things was the advice and all the infrastructure I had when I joined Alliance, which is a large team. At one point in my life, I received an invitation to teach in the United Arab Emirates, more precisely in Abu Dhabi. I was very in doubt, but talking to my teacher Gigi and my family, I decided not to go. Today I see that this was the best decision I made because, in addition to listening to my teacher, I had all the support of my family to stay in Brazil. Since then, I have participated in several seminars and courses at Alliance, I have lived with world champion athletes, and with that, my mentality and worldview have expanded inexplicably. Training with Tererê, Taiane Porfirio, Cobrinha, Hiago Gama, Victor Genovesi, Léo Leite, Gianni Grippo, and other great names is priceless, the technical level of your Jiu-Jitsu increases a lot. I founded Alliance Angra dos Reis and Grip Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Since then, I have lived and invested time to make new athletes in different parts of the world, not only within the Alliance but also in other teams that have invited me to consult, do seminars, among others.
After that breathtaking start, how is your routine in Jiu-Jitsu today?
Today I live in North Port, Florida and I am part of the Alliance Venice Jiu-Jitsu Team, a team that opened the doors for me to train and make new friends. In my daily life, I have learned a lot from different athletes, and I can also spend a lot of what I learned in more than 22 years dedicated to this beautiful and great sport today. I tell all of them that being part of a great team 12 times world champion is priceless. It’s very good, but with this weight comes a lot of responsibilities, such as making your gym your second home, where you have rules that need to be followed. I have participated in several black belt championships, competing at a high technical level at IBJJF for several states in the USA, being able to visit new places, and test my Jiu-Jitsu. Only in 2019, I participated in nine IBJJF championships always being in first or second place, I think it was one of the best years of my life acting as an athlete. I have been in the USA for almost three years and I have learned to love this country in a grand way, which has embraced me as if I were born here. Being able to share Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with my training friends is priceless.
How have you been dealing as an athlete in this challenging pandemic moment in Venice, Florida?
I believe that all athletes in all sports had at least one month of forced vacation because of Covid-19, and a good part of them gained a few pounds, while others kept their shape. This moment was very good for me and my family, as I was coming at an intense and tiring pace of training for the competitions, which are already returning to normal. I have been training for 6 to 8 hours a day to take the Alliance Venice JJ name to places I have never seen before and I intend to invest everything I have to transform the lives of my training friends and influence them in the best possible way, transforming everyone’s life physically, mentally and emotionally through the Jiu-Jitsu that I love so much. This motivates me to walk and grow as a professional, athlete, father, friend, son, husband.
Where do you see your team in five, ten years?
First, I intend to solidify the Alliance Venice Jiu-Jitsu, making it a reference on the west coast of Florida. I have plans to establish new Jiu-Jitsu and fitness academies, adapting all of them to the Alliance Association’s standard of excellence. Work to train and train new world champions for the IBJJF and bring new athletes to the UFC.
What are the main differences in training Jiu-Jitsu outside Brazil? Do you miss anything in particular?
Training Jiu-Jitsu in the USA has only advantages, not only because of the infrastructure but also for safety. Today I train in a gym that gives me the necessary support with all the high-quality equipment I need for high-level training, and I have access to everything that is best in the market. It is also very cool to learn day after day about a new culture and to be able to share about Brazil with my training partners and friends. This exchange of experience has made me grow and mature. Homesickness is something you will always feel, especially when you are in another country, away from all the family and people who are part of your history. When I trained at Alliance Rio de Janeiro or Alliance Angra dos Reis, for example, all training was like a championship. And when training ended, what remained was friendship, companionship, loyalty among other things that Jiu-jitsu teaches.
What are the Jiu-Jitsu fights that most inspired you? Because?
I had the opportunity to watch Wallid Ismail’s fight with Royce Gracie in Rio de Janeiro and that marked me a lot because I was starting my career and I didn’t know that many years later I would be a reference athlete in the city I am in. All of this that I had been watching live or on TV, like the beginning of the UFC or Jiu-Jitsu, encouraged me to study and grow deep within the sport. I grew up learning to always do my best and do everything with excellence, especially knowing that what I’m doing can give me a promising future or improve the lives of people around me.
What is the fundamental teaching of Jiu-Jitsu?
The fundamental teaching for me is the humility you learn to have, emotional security, and the opportunity to change lives. I never stop learning something new on the mat, either as a black belt or with a white belt training friend. You have to be open-minded to learn and to train your disabilities. Never giving up is another tip. The process until I reach the black belt is very long, but what I say to all my training partners is that the journey is long, but that they are not alone and that they can all count on me. Do you know that day that you think about giving up? So, it is on that day that I arrive and say: “Friend, you can count on me, let’s go another mile together, you are not alone”.
How did you integrate with the local Venice community? What benefits do you offer to the community and how has the return been?
I came for a walk in Florida. When I arrived I met an American who invited me to be an athlete at his academy in Venice. I accepted and was enchanted with the city, and who knows, I could live here for my whole life, but since then I have been training at Alliance Venice Jiu-Jitsu Team. The cool thing is to know that I help to develop the only Jiu-Jitsu academy in the city of Venice, that I am the first high-level athlete in the city, and that I can help in many ways to make new champions. Several fruits are already being harvested in the local community, where we do volunteer projects, free self-defense courses, transforming lives through Jiu-Jitsu. One of the coolest things was being able to take Americans to championships and they all made it to the podium. Seeing your training buddies on the podium and knowing that you helped get them is very rewarding.