What did you learn from your recent victory at the IBJJF Phoenix Open?
ANDRE FREIRE: The Phoenix Open has a very high competitive level, my victory in the event boosts confidence for bigger competitions, especially for the No-Gi Worlds, a competition in which I’ve been on the podium in the past, but now I want the highest place.
What tips can you give to GRACIEMAG readers who also want to migrate outside Brazil and succeed in their careers as Jiu-Jitsu black belts?
If you want to have an international career, it is extremely important to be fluent in English, compete and travel a lot so that you have a good network. It is also vital to be mentally prepared for adversities along the way, such as sudden changes in food, time zones, climate and culture, especially.
Tell us about the main challenge in your Jiu-Jitsu career?
Look, the biggest challenge is balancing multiple tasks, such as studying, working, training for competition… Many people cannot do many things at the same time and still train to compete. An athlete’s life requires rest and this is a luxury that I personally never had and it makes everything very complicated.
Do you prefer competing or teaching?
I love doing both, I started competing as a white belt and teaching as a purple belt, so I’ve had both activities always associated, I believe that being actively competing keeps me updated on everything that happens in the world of Jiu-Jitsu, my game and my body are always strong, and I can deliver credibility and inspiration to those I teach, I don’t see one thing without the other.
Who is your greatest idol in your career?
Ayrton Senna is a great idol, that reference of pursuing excellence in what he does, not giving up in the face of adversity, especially because he is not in my sport, being able to motivate those who have never even seen a racing car up close.
What are your goals for the future in the USA?
I have some important titles that I want to achieve, like World Masters, and also be able to teach Jiu-Jitsu as a lifestyle and the benefits of this art to as many people as I can.
What is the philosophy behind your school?
Promote the different aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, such as martial art, sport and self-defense. My desire is to positively achieve people’s different goals, respecting each person’s adversities and limitations.