History of My Path in Jiu-Jitsu
I started Jiu-Jitsu practice in 1984 when I was 10 yeras old. Sergio Lauro Jardim, more commonly known as Malibu, encouraged me to take my first lesson in the Jacare shool where he taught some classes. Like any other teenager, I loved action movies and wanted to be a warrior, so the opportunity sounded perfect to me, almost like a dream come true. I always admired the advanced students, wondering if one day I would know what they know, and be able to perform what they can. Many things happened in those days, things which shaped me for the rest of my life.
In the beginning I devoted myself to pratice. But later, I had to face my greatest decision: whether I should follow my dreams and do what I really enjoy in my life, or choose something that would build my social position — a way of submitting to the rules of the market place (which was something I was expected to do).
My father’s death was a shock, leaving me with great grief and a big, empty hole in my heart. Since then, I have had to be responsible for my family without having the support of somebody who could guide me. While death is a part of life, and does not have to set us back, this death was not expected. Many responsibilities and duties fell on my shoulders.
Another important moment came with my decision to get married and become a father. It is not an easy task to be a husband, a father, a teacher, and a warrior at the same time. Such a life instantly becomes busy with many responsibilities, and there is little time for fun. I think I am truly blessed with my job, which brings me joy and satisfaction.
When I injured my back in 1988, I was forced to stop practicing and wasn’t able to see my friends. I wanted to be far away from the places and people I love so much. I thought I would not be able to resume my practice.
After surgery at the end of 1989, I began training again. I got my black belt in 1991. Then, in 1998, I went to a doctor to confirm what sort of exercises I could be doing to stay in top shape for an upcoming competition without hurting myself. I had been geting back injuries often. My doctor told me that I shouldn’t practice at all, that I shouldn’t involve myself in any serious sports or demanding activities. And especially, I shouldn’t practice Jiu-Jitsu. I thought my life had ended, that my dreams were over.
I went to another doctor, my friend, who had taken care of me since my childhood. He decided that my condition was stable enough to not only practice, but also to participate in a competition (indicating that I should always be aware of the limitations, pain, and ailments I can experience at any time).
I felt confident. In 1999 I won all the competitions in which I participated, but a week before the world championships I sustained a bad knee injury. I went to my doctor, who assured me that he could perform surgery the same day. I had two options: either arthroscopy, to remove a piece of the meniscus, which would immobilze my knee; or normal surgery, in which a block would be placed into my knee, though without a warranty that at any moment it might not slip out of place. I chose the second option. I rested till the end of the week only to discover two days before the competition that I had gained some weight and needed to lose 8 kilograms in order to be able to compete in my weight category. The enormous weight gain was caused by a combination of two factors: medication containing corticosteroids placed in my knee, thus causing water retention, and the fact that my body was being deprived of high-energy activities. I lost the surplus weight, passed the weight test, and after surmounting uncountable obstacles and challenges, manged to reach my goal – I won the world championship.
All the obstacles I faced through the whole advanture, like the doctors diagnosing that I was almost handicapped, only made my sucess taste sweeter and more satisfying.
The Alliance Academy was created in 1994 from the joint forces of the Master Academy (Jacare and Fabio Gurgel) and Strike (my school in those days). We didn’t want our teams competing with each other in prestigious domestic and international competitions.
Our decision to join forces and establish one strong tournament team with the potential to win was welcomed with interest — other schools joined the Alliance team and began competing under this name.
Currently the Alliance team is a four-time world championship winner (1999, 2000, 2008, 2009); the Panamerican championship winner in 2009; the Brazilian championship winner in 2009; and was choosen the best tournament team by many sides.
Alliance gave an opportunity to many great athletes including Leonardo Vieira, Leonardo Leite, Fernando Terere, Ricardo Vieira, Claudio Moreno, Marcos Meireles, Alexandre Street, Gabriel Leite, Marcelo Garcia, Alex Monsalve, Lucas Lepre, Michael Langhi, Cobrinha, Sergio Moraes, Damien Maia, and many others.