“When it comes to Jiu-Jitsu related projects, I always followed Master Carlinhos’s advices. He is a person that makes your dream, and shows you that there is a way to actually achieve that” Professor Marcelo Rezende – 2nd degree Black Belt.
Teacher Marcelo Rezende was a 12 years-old guy in his first contact with Jiu-Jitsu. At the beginning, it was only a 3-month period of training in a condo located in Barra, a neighborhood in Rio. “After 3 months, my instructor, Pitoco, left the gym at Barramares condo – where I lived and used to train – to go teach somewhere else. After that, I left the trainings for about 2 years.” Marcelo recalls.
When he was 14, encouraged by his friend André Santos “Corujito”, Marcelo went back to the trainings. At that time, in a GB mat, under teacher Jean Jacques Machado’s supervision.
“What really impressed me in Jiu-Jitsu was that, one day, when my friend Corujito asked me to wear the boxe gloves and try to beat him, he submitted me three times with a rear naked choke. After that and feeling how efficient the gentle art was, I had no other option but training and taking that seriously.” Professor Rezende
When Jean Jacques moved to the US, all his students went to train with Master Carlos Gracie Jr. At that point, Marcelo could not imagine that, one day, he would be the right hand of Master Carlos in Oceania. It was with Carlinhos that this 2nd degree black belt graduated himself from every belt, and it is from inside Gracie Barra schools that Rezende has been doing such a surprisingly work of taking Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone.
As an athlete, he also does a great job. He became a Masters World Champion, Pan-American champion and represented Jiu-Jitsu and GB schools in the first black-belt fight in Auckland, New Zealand (a joint fight).
Currently, he lives in Australia and is the GB Oceania Regional Director, besides teaching classes in his school in Sidney. It is already a 24-year period of dedication to the gentle art, 13 years as a black belt. Professor Marcelo is an honest guy, friendly, persistent and very helpful. He may go out of his way to reach his goals. All his current success is no more than what he actually sowed. Following, you may check a great interview, filled with stories and learning.
The determination and discipline brought by the Jiu-Jitsu practice did change my life. It brought me focus and let me way stronger and positive during difficult moments. When you are young and has nothing to inspire you or make you grow as a person, you may end up being led to a bad side. I noticed that in different moments of my life through life histories from some friends and acquaintances.
2- What are your best memories back in your Rio de Janeiro training days?
The best memories I have from that moment are, mainly, two: Our old group which used to train together (all tough guys) e how we were actually friends. It was funny being part of all that. Also the unforgettable conversations with Carlinhos. I’d love to listen to his stories, plans and tips about Jiu-Jitsu.
Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone Movement.
3- Based on Master Carlos Gracie Jr.’s vision of taking the Jiu-Jitsu to everyone, you ended up in Australia. How was this transition in your life?
Actually, I had no idea about what to do in my professional life until I was 23 years-old. I had just graduated in Administration school from the Catholic University of Rio (PUC-RJ) and had also received the black belt. I was going to Australia for three months to study English. Master Carlos advised me to teach some classes during that period, so that I could make some money. He told me that Australia had such a great potential and that I could be important for the country in case I decided to stay there. When I arrived in Australia, there were only 4 black-belts teaching Jiu-Jitsu.
Jiu-Jitsu was always the physical activity I liked most. Being able to make a living through my passion seemed the perfect combination in that market where I was one of the pioneers.
We are growing on a very strong pace here in Australia and in New Zealand. All the adjustments we made to adapt ourselves to the GB standards are, since last year, showing their results. Our performances in competitions are being excellent. We are getting the first place in numerous championships, many times with GB students fighting among themselves. From a business perspective, the GB schools are also growing strongly. Most of our unities have more than 100 students and some of them are already over 200 people. What I have been noticing is that the professors, who are able to make a living working only for GB, can provide a good life standard to their families, have a good life quality, live in good places and with good cars.
5- Have you ever imagine you would go so far?
I did not know exactly how things would work, but the human’s mind is something impressive. Practically everything I dreamed of and worked for happen, sooner or later, ended up happening. When it comes to Jiu-Jitsu related projects, I always followed Master Carlinhos’s advices. He is a guy that makes you dream and shows you there’s a way for achieving that. Master Carlinhos is really impressive, and you can see why if you analyze what he did for Jiu-Jitsu and consider how many people are being benefited from his projects. He is a person with a future vision, a simple thinking and a common sense. Those are indispensable features for developing any project. Thus, following their advices, having people next to me who really trust in my work and with a solid familiar base, I do believe that, for me, sky is the limit. I feel I am only getting started. I have lots to develop yet. Our group is stronger day by day, with every instructor and student supporting us and effectively participating in GB projects.
6- Based on Master Carlos Gracie Jr. philosophy and on the students’ commitment, Jiu-Jitsu may be seen nowadays as a career. You are an alive example of that, and you experienced all this process. What kind of tips can you provide to those who are starting and dream of making Jiu-Jitsu as their profession?
The Jiu-Jitsu, in general, is generating numerous opportunities for everyone. But inside GB you can find a great organization and an actual career plan, which enables you taking Jiu-Jitsu as a profession. In my opinion, GB is just like an University. Here you can start training as a sport, when you are still a child. Then, if you fall in love for the Gentle Art, you get the chance of, in the future, convert your biggest passion – Jiu-Jitsu – in your job, with a real career plan. At GB, besides having all the support, inside and outside the mats, you can also learn about marketing, administrations, finances, social relations, among many other fields. This kind of project gives the students an opportunity to change their lives. Through the Jiu-Jitsu teaching, we have the possibility of making people more self-confident in a pleasant, friendly and positive environment, where besides learning Jiu-Jitsu, the student can understand more about the self-defense techniques and practice a physical activity. Keep the focus and trust in GB. If you do study all the offered material, and is dedicated within the mats, you will achieve all your goals! Another aspect that must be observed is that if you do not become a world champion or a competitor, it does not mean that you will not be a successful person. These titles add value, but they are not determinant for the success of your school.
7- Please, complete the phrase: Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone is…
It is teaching every age and every gender in a safe and clean environment with classes that respect each group’s limitations, taking into account the age, gender and experience.
Of course. Master Carlinhos was sat on a chair inside the mat and called me. He told: “Viet Cong, you can wear the black belt!” I was very happy!
9- Which advices can you give to those who want to achieve the black belt as well?
Persistence, dedication. Do not resist too much in a submission. Avoid positions that may endanger your health. If you are hurt, keep going to the classes to train some positions, specific subjects or to practice with lighter people. If you really can’t train, at least go to watch the classes. This way you will be always in contact and your journey to the black belt will be being built.
10 – And what advices to those who are just initiating their journeys inside the GB mats?
Trust in the GB system. It is very comprehensive. The teachers attend to the Instructors Course (PCI) annually. The GB professionals are always trying to be more capable and updated, so that they can offer a safe, clean, friendly and high-quality teaching environment, making it easier for each student to learn. When there’re dedication and determination, you surely reach great results.