This month in Kissimmee, Florida, Patrick Almeida competed in his first IBJJF Pan as a black-belt. Patrick, a Rio de Janeiro native who now resides in Hawaii, did part of his final camp for the tournament in Tempe, Arizona, where he alternated his training between the academy of professor Gustavo Dantas and that of MMA star Ryan Bader, along with Jair Lourenço, Horlando Monteiro and company.
In an interview right before setting foot on the Pan mats, Patrick offered five pieces of advice to help you evolve in BJJ, whether you’re into competing or not.
1- Don’t worry about the opinion of others
“That’s right: nobody cares about you; it seems cruel but it is the reality. We all have our personal problems, our own challenges, and we will be focused on them. What do I mean by that? Simple: never stop doing what you want out of fear of the opinion of others. Never be ashamed to start something new for fear of what people will think. When you go to fight a championship or try a new position, forget what people will think. Focus on you; focus on giving your best. Since nobody cares, there is no reason to be ashamed or worried.”
2- The best time is now
“Don’t expect to have ideal conditions to do what you want. These conditions may never exist, and therefore you will never have what you want. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to get stronger? Do you want to have a better jiu-jitsu? Do you want to be smarter or make money? Start now! Start today! Don’t wait until Monday to go to the gym, don’t wait for the weekend to pass to start your diet — don’t wait. Start now, right now! Throw away the candy you were thinking of eating, put the sneakers on and go for a walk or run, lie on the living room rug and do sets of crunches employing the triangle… Turn off the TV and read a book — that is, do what you can to take a step towards what you want.”
3- Learn to communicate
“Communication is essential in jiu-jitsu. Knowing how to express yourself, clear up your doubts, create friendships and in the future pass on knowledge is directly linked to your ability to communicate. So don’t be afraid to talk to all your training partners, introduce yourself to the new student, clear up your doubts, and network. The environment created within jiu-jitsu is a very powerful tool that can help you on and off the mat. Every gym has a doctor, a businessman, a police officer among many others who will be able to support you in some way in the future. The family created on the mat has the power to teach you a lot on different subjects and open doors for you around the world.”
4- Treat everyone well
“A ‘good night,’ a ‘good afternoon; how are you?’ can change a person’s day or even life. We all deserve to be recognized, treated with respect and politeness. This works miracles in other people’s lives. Treat everyone in a cordial and friendly way and you will see results in all areas of your life. Even if you are not very concerned with the well-being of others, do this thinking of yourself, since human beings are animals who live in a society. By treating others well, you create connections that one day will open doors for you.”
5- Be the hardest-working
“I once heard the following sentence: ‘Hard work always beats talent when talent refuses to work hard’. The truth is that hard work when done intelligently always wins! Unfortunately, in football-loving Brazil, we follow the ‘culture of talent’; you are almost predestined to be skilled since you were little. Forget that mindset and try hard, train day and night. Sooner or later your hard work will pay off, and you can surpass those who were once called talented. Every jiu-jitsu gym has that one guy who, when he started out, didn’t even know how to breathe and walk at the same time, and who is now a monster on the mat.”