Professor Ulpiano of Gracie Barra Texas Talks About the Gracie Barra Lifestyle and Passion for Jiu Jitsu
The journey to greatness in martial arts does not end by getting the black belt. Rather, it’s a start of a long journey. This holds true for Prof. Ulpiano, he has received his 2nd degree on the black belt. He is currently one of the strong core members of Gracie Barra in Texas; pioneered and taking the steps into spreading the art of Jiu Jitsu to the residents of Texas. His drive to excel in Jiu Jitsu doesn’t end with that one school.
2007 was when Prof. Ulpiano received his black belt. In the same year, he opened Gracie Barra Santa Ana in California.
His whole life is dedicated to the pursuit of martial arts. Starting out at a young age of 6, young Ulpiano involved himself with Judo. According to him, after meeting Prof. Draculino Magalhaes, he fell in love with the art. The rest was history for Prof. Ulpiano as he later on won numerous laurels in prestigious tournaments such as being the three-time American National Champion, bagging the Asian championships, as well as finishing 3rd in the Pan American back in 2010.
GB.com: Can you give us a glimpse about your humble beginnings before your life in Gracie Barra.
Prof. Ulpiano: I have been involved with martial since I was young. Started in Judo. Then Later on I met Prof Erik Wanderley whom is also a black belt training under Professor Draculino. I fell in love with Jiu Jitsu; I never stopped then. I moved to U.S. in 2004. In 2005, Master Carlos Gracie Jr. opened his school in Lake Forest where I trained everyday. In 2006, I received my black belt. Then the year after that, I opened Gracie Barra Santa Ana.
GB.com: Gracie Barra now has a strong foothold in Texas, and you are one of the pioneering members of GB. Tell us your thoughts about it.
Prof. Ulpiano: Yes! Gracie Barra Texas is really strong because the excellent job by prof. Draculino who has been in Texas since 2008. Also, the fact that Prof. Draculino being based in Houston was one of the main reasons that I wanted move and start the new school.
GB.com: We want to know your “secrets to success” in running your school. Can you share some tips to other school owners?
Prof. Ulpiano: There is no secret. To be able to have a successful school is by working hard everyday and live the Gracie Barra lifestyle. I was lucky to be in California when master Carlos Gracie Jr. started developing the system together with Prof. Marcio Feitosa and Prof. Flavio Almeida. I am also a good student. One of the tips probably that I can give the school owners is to always be updated with the GB Association news, be at your school most of the time, teach and care about your students.
GB.com: So what’s “Gracie Barra” for the “Texans?” How strong is the team in Texas?
Prof. Ulpiano: We are a strong team in Texas because of the great job Professor Draculino did. And everybody respects Gracie Barra, and feels honored to be a part of the team. Personally, Gracie Barra to me means living the Gracie Barra values 24/7.
GB.com: So tell us professor, what’s your leadership style?
Prof. Ulpiano: Lead by example .
GB.com: What is GB’s greatest contribution to you as a person?
Prof. Ulpiano: I came from a Gracie Barra Belo Horizonte Brazil where Prof. Draculino is the leader and he passed to us the Gracie Barra lifestyle and Master Carlos Jr.’s Principles which goes beyond the mats. And I will keep this forever. I’m.proud to be part of Gracie Barra
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