Conversations to the soon-to-be newest Gracie Barra black belt, Professor Orlando
This weekend, Prof. Orlando Sanchez will be receiving his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. To celebrate this event, Prof. Orlando will be holding a free seminar in his gym in Pasadena, CA together with the living legends of BJJ such as Ze Radiola. The excitement does not stop there as the “cuban tree stomp” will also host the 2nd grand openning of Gracie Barra Pasadena.
His story in meeting Jiu Jitsu never fails to inspire anyone. It’s what I would like to call a modern day Jiu Jitsu fairy tale; he met Jiu Jitsu in the darkest hour, which made him champion in life. Felicitações, Orlando!
GB.com: How does it feel to finally earn your black belt?
Prof. Orlando: I feel like it’s a new beginning and a new chapter, I feel like I’m a white belt again. I’m scared and I’m nervous but at the same time, I couldn’t be more excited. I want to be the underdog again and I feel like I have to climb to the top. Getting my black belt reinvigorated my whole attitude and hunger to build more Champions in Life®.
GB.com: How did you get to embrace Jiu Jitsu as a path for your martial arts
Prof. Orlando: I embrace Jiu-Jitsu as my entire life. And to me, there is absolutely nothing else. I eat, sleep, dream, breathe and live Jiu-Jitsu every day. Jiu-Jitsu saved my life from long-term substance abuse and in my eyes, I owe everything to it. I feel like I owe Jiu-Jitsu the same passion, commitment and love that it’s given me. I look at everything with clarity and calmness. I absolutely love and adore all my students, from the toddlers to the adults. Jiu-Jitsu can literally save anyone’s life. It got me out of the darkest depths of hell, a place I never want to see again.
Prof. Orlando: First and foremost, you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that no matter the odds stacked against you that you can overcome and be a Champion in Life®. Second, surround yourself with like-minded people. Don’t surround yourself with unmotivated people or those who bad-mouth others or who live in fantasy worlds. Don’t pay attention to those who don’t train hard and who talk trash, especially behind a computer screen. Surround yourself with champions and that energy will transpire onto your actions and you will inevitably become a Champion in Life ®.You have to give it everything you’ve got. Go 100%. Giving it that dedication and commitment means you are a Champion in Life,® no matter how many medals or belts you win or don’t win. That’s the difference between the Champions in Life ® and the rest of the world.
GB.com: how important is the training that you receive in GB with MMA.
Prof. Orlando: Thanks to Carlos Gracie Jr. for implementing such an incredible Jiu-Jitsu system. It’s helped me grow into the person and competitor that I am today. Because of Gracie Barra, I’ve had the privilege of learning from such champions as Flavio Almeida, Marcio Feitosa and Romulo Barral. Also, one of the most life changing experiences I’ve had through Gracie Barra was meeting Professor Ze Radiola and I have been training under him since the day we met. I had the opportunity to travel to Brazil and live in Ze Radiola’s home. Ze showed me who I want to be in life. Ze is the truest kind of Champion in Life® and he embodies the truest spirit of the Gracie Barra family and imparting the power of Jiu-Jitsu to everyone. If you haven’t traveled to Ze’s school, Gracie Barra PE, you have to do it. Put the trip on your bucket-list because the experience will forever change your life.
GB.com: tell us something fun about yourself.
Prof. Orlando: Just come down to Gracie Barra Pasadena and take one of my classes and you’ll realize what a big kid I am. If you’re not having fun and you’re not making people laugh, you’re not living.
GB.com: What does “champions in life” mean to you?
Prof. Orlando: It’s very simple-it has nothing to do with medals or belts or titles. It has to do with being the very best human being possible at all times– whether you’re a busboy, a school teacher, a doctor, lawyer, construction worker or anything else. Giving back, paying it forward and making this world a better place for everyone. That’s what it means to be a CHAMPION IN LIFE®.
GB.com: So saturday is the big day. Give us an idea on what happens this satuday.
Prof. Orlando: Professor Ze Radiola is coming to give me my black belt. We’re having a second grand opening for the academy. There’s going to be around 20 black belts, my MMA master Rafael Cordiero, my teammates Fabricio Werdum and Renato “Babalu” Sobral will also be present. My first professor Romulo Barral will be there along with a lot of other Gracie Barra notables like Kayron Gracie. The event is going to be filled with all of my great students, family and friends. The event is also to open to everyone who would like to attend and will take place at my school, Gracie Barra Pasadena-2560 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena CA, 91107 at 1 PM on Sunday, August 19th. Go to GBPasadena.com for more info or call (626)-200-5997.
GB.com: This is your chance to thank the people that became a part of your growth. Fire away, Prof.
Prof. Orlando: First and foremost, I would like to thank my brother Armando Sanchez. Without him I wouldn’t be here. Second, all the people who helped me get here-my family and friends and thosewho believed in me when I< didn’t believe in myself. I want to give a special thank you to Carlos Gracie Jr., because without him and his vision, there would be no Gracie Barra. Thank you to the man who brought me into my championship path in jiu-jitsu, professor Romulo Barral. Also a big thank you to Ze Radiola, for illuminating my new path and guiding me towards being a true Champion in Life®. And lastly, this black belt belongs to my son Orlando Michael Sanchez Jr. even more than it belongs to me.