A conversation with Prof. Bruno Fernandes from GB Montreal JiuJitsu about the upcoming Tournament
Exposing our students to healthy competition promotes a great sense of well-being. In tournaments, as we always say in Gracie Barra, there is no such thing as losing, there is only learning. The discipline, lessons in determination, persistence of each competitor is put to the test as our Gracie Barra Montreal warriors take the faces the mat.
Leading the Gracie Barra Montreal team is no other than Professor Bruno Fernandes. Professor Bruno is known to train with UFC’s Welterweight champion George St. Pierre. He’s a 5-time world champion with a couple of Pan American titles to his name. He is also an assistant professor at McGill University in Canada while teaching Jiu Jitsu altogether.
GB.com: Tell us how students respond to Jiu Jitsu in Montreal.
Prof. Bruno: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is still an evolving sport in the Montreal area, even though we already have representatives for the major teams. We are slowly bringing larger tournaments to town, in order to help make the sport more popular. There are no shortage of BJJ championships in Montreal anymore: Abu Dhabi Trials, IBJJF Montreal Open are NAGA are already in the calendar.
GB.com: How many students are competing in the Montreal Open?
Prof. Bruno: There are around 50 students competing from our school in Montreal. This is the largest team we ever brought to a single tournament and I am sure we are coming back with a trophy! Last year we were a relatively small team and we could still manage to get third overall. I was particularly proud of my students because we had opened the school only a year and a half before that. This year we are aiming for the first place!
GB.com: Share to us your past experiences with the Montreal Open.
Prof. Bruno: I helped to organize the Montreal Open last year. The feedback we received was that it was the most well organized BJJ tournament they ever competed on. All the divisions happened according to the schedule and the venue was great. Organizing the Montreal Open always comes with a lot of stress, but it is rewarding to give to local fighters the opportunity to compete in a world-class setting. It was the first IBJJF event in Canada and it opened grounds for other events in major Canadian cities. This year we had it in Toronto and next year there might be an event or two in the west coast.
GB.com: Being a leader in Gracie Barra Montreal, you promote growth among your students. Can you tell us in what unique ways do you do so?
Prof. Bruno: One of the ways to promote growth among my students is to awake their competitive spirit, in the best way possible. It is not about being better than anyone, just a constant pursue for personal improvement. I believe that bringing an official IBJJF tournament to Montreal was a bold yet necessary move. I wanted my students to see what a traditional, well-run BJJ tournament was. I competed during my entire career and i think that competition can greatly speed up someone’s progression in BJJ. A challenge increases your focus, so you train harder and live an overall healthier lifestyle. I know that only a percentage of my students competes, but I love to see how it still brings the whole team together. Everyone enjoys the atmosphere created, and non-competitors are glad to help their teammates get better and represent the school.
GB.com: Tell us about the learning structure of Gracie Barra and how effective you think it is.
Prof. Bruno: Gracie Barra has developed the most structured curriculum in the history of BJJ. New students are always impressed on how our school does look and feel like one, and not just like a gym. As a consequence, students understand it easily and the learning process is much faster. For competitions, we started specific classes 3 times per week, where the emphasis is more on the scoring system and building a game plan. As much as we continuously stress that submission is the end goal when we grapple, we make students understand that controlling your opponent effectively is a necessary step. Last but not least, i try to teach them how to perform well under pressure: stand up rounds, short time limits and starting at unfavourable positions are just some of the teaching techniques i use.
GB.com: A message to all of the competitors.
Prof. Bruno: I am honoured to lead such a great group of students representing our team. You are true pioneers of the sport in Montreal. A Gold medal is something that no one will ever take from you. Go get one for you and make history!
Gracie Barra Association wishes the best to Team Montreal!
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