How to overcome mistakes through the lessons of Jiu-jitsu with Prof. Marcio Feitosa


Prof. Marcio Feitosa is a 5th degree black belt under master Carlos Gracie jr. – who starting training when he was 12 years old. Prof. Marcio Feitosa was one of the most successful Gracie Barra competitors capturing a World Bjj Championship before turning his efforts to being a head instructor at Gracie Barra and working to grow the Gracie Barra team both in Brazil and the earliest schools in the USA.

Prof. Marcio had a mat side chat where he discussed some of the life and leadership lessons that he learned through his experiences, mistakes and successes while teaching and working to grow Gracie Barra jiu-jitsu.

How to overcome mistakes through the lessons of Jiu-jitsu with Prof. Marcio Feitosa


Leading by Example

“My conclusion is that leadership equals setting the example.  If you work on you, you set the example. Everything else will fall into place. As far as leadership roles, as far as being able to lead your school, your instructors, your athletes, your students.”

“I like challenges…”

“About one a big mistake that I did as a leader a mistake that I did learn a lot from, it was a mistake I did in 2004 when I was working full time through Gracie by North America helping school honors in the support department, helping the team with the teaching related things like the curriculum, training camps and I was also working full-time in leading the headquarters in Irvine and I was leading the GB headquarters since 2005 when I moved from Brazil to California together with a group of people to start that school. So I was for nine years doing that. I started teaching when the school opened its doors.”

“I wanted to be more aggressive and I felt like I could increase more challenges and it was right when Gracie Barra was growing very fast in Brazil.”

So Prof. Marcio moved back to Brazil to work on those GB schools and delegated the running of the HQ in Irvine to some other GB team members. However, this expansion of Gracie Barra was not without its challenges and problems at the flagship school in California.

The Problem
“I don’t think I was able to get everyone to work together and to function as a strong team.
Long story short, we got to a point where in late – 2015, less than two years later we had a major problem in the headquarters. It was clear that the school was not doing well.”

Prof. Marcio waited until the situation had run its course and then was ready to take responsibility again to rebuild the school in Irvine.

“…and they said ‘we’re out’ so I got the keys and I said no problem.
Now I will come back and it’s my responsibility.”

” just like in jiu-jitsu – it’s always about going back to the basics”

“So I did come back and in my mind I kept thinking I needed to just work hard. Of course that’s number one work extremely hard – but to go back to the basics.
I believe that just like in jiu-jitsu – it’s always about going back to the basics and making the fundamentals work.”

So I made a decision to live for three months inside the school. I built a room in there. There was no TV. I had a small bag, my computer, a shower.
And I stayed there for three months and the idea was to learn the students names again. To know every single person that was coming through the doors of our school to make sure that again we have a very solid and a strong family inside the headquarters and that’s what I call going back to the basics. Because the basics of making a strong Gracie Barra school understanding Master Carlos’ vision and teaching his teaching systems that I do understand. I’ve been studying jiu-jitsu under him since I am 12 years old but you also need to really care about the people within the school, you need to know that people, you need to create strong relationships inside the school.”

During this time Prof. Marcio gives big credit to fellow world Champion Prof. Otavio Sousa during that critical team rebuilding period.

Choosing the right leader.
“I was having a conversation with over the last years which is Professor Phillip della Monica “Furão”  (who is the current head instructor at GB HQ in Irvine) and we had a conversation. I shared with him my desire to be back in Brazil. That I wanted to be back in Brazil I wanted to help the team there and he made a commitment to take over the leadership for the headquarters.”

“The strongest headquarters that we ever had”
“In my opinion he did the strongest headquarters that we ever had. Today our students are extremely happy. It’s a place where great American instructors and school owners can go to receive support, to see their school operating. We have over 500 students we have three mat areas and the entire grace of our team is very very proud of the headquarters in Irvine and most importantly Master Carlos sees it as his home in the United States.

He’s extremely proud of that…”

“I feel like today, because of this past history, the team is even more proud and embraces even more our headquarters in Irvine because we all know how hard we had to battle in order to have what we have today.”

“I’m so glad that each generation of Gracie Barra school owners, instructors, athletes, students is better than the previous one.”

“I’m also very proud and I strongly believe that this is directly a result of Master Carlos Jr. concerned and focused into providing support, providing information and educating this is for sure directly result of his approach.

I’m so glad that we have a strong instructors program.”


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See also on Gracie Barra : GB Techniques: No-Gi

GB Techniques: No-Gi

Credits: Mark Mullen 
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia