Prof. Marcio Feitosa On The Importance of A Complete Jiu-Jitsu

Prof. Marcio Feitosa is a 6th degree black belt from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has trained under Master Carlos Gracie Jr. since his earliest days in 1988.

At one time Prof. Marcio represented Gracie Barra at the highest levels of competition and captured several World Jiu-Jitsu Champion titles and an ADCC title. Nowadays, Prof. Marcio works in the GB organization towards the growth of Jiu-Jitsu all over the world and especially in teaching the GB Curriculum and the methods of Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
Prof. Marcio Feitosa: “Master Carlos always painted that vision of Gracie Barra – that Gracie Barra was going to become a worldwide Jiu-Jitsu family. We had an opportunity to pass to others all the benefits that we experienced from Jiu-Jitsu.
So… that was always my goal. The main target that I had was always to teach and to share with others the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu and to grow the legacy of Master Carlos and Gracie Barra.
I believe that it made me more successful as an athlete when you have a big purpose behind what you are doing, what you are trying to accomplish.”
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Q: Jiu-Jitsu is primarily a ground fighting art. Why do you think the study of takedowns is important for Jiu-Jitsu students?
Prof. Marcio Feitosa: “Master Carlos always taught a well rounded Jiu-Jitsu… Jiu-Jitsu has 3 components: Self defense, takedowns and ground. Unless you are training self defense, takedowns and ground, you are not training a well rounded Jiu-Jitsu.
Even though the athletes will have a need to specialize – to perform in their competitions, it’s an asset to master the fundamentals. To have a well rounded Jiu-Jitsu, to be more knowledgeable about everything that is involved than to simply specialize from day 1.
Takedowns are one of the pillars. It’s extremely important to beginners, to higher ranks, to athletes to dedicate and train takedowns.”
Q: What are some of the things that you tell young athletes about the importance of training takedowns?
Prof. Marcio Feitosa: “I find it very helpful when we look to other disciplines to see what they do and look for opportunities to bring that knowledge to our Jiu-Jitsu or to our team. If you look to any other sports, the BEST ones – the very best basketball player that was trained by a legend and achieved high success as an athlete – you will see a person that knows the fundamentals of the sport.
You begin with more broad knowledge so you build a foundation. And after a while, you dive into that one aspect. You want to specialize. I think the same mindset is a good approach for a Jiu-Jitsu athlete. Every athlete will benefit from learning the fundamentals. From having a well rounded Jiu-Jitsu.
…of course it will demand time. But if you want to be the best, if you want to be number one, you must be willing to dedicate your time. A lot of the best athletes – they accomplished by dedicating their own time to become better. You need to be the first one to arrive on the mats and the last one to leave.”
Q: What is the danger if a student decides to neglect the takedown game?
Prof. Marcio Feitosa: “If one decides to neglect the fundamentals and he just wants to train one aspect of Jiu-Jitsu – let’s say that you are very tall and you learn really soon that if you lock your guard, if you jump fast to your guard and attack chokes and arm locks that you can succeed faster than the other white belts.
The risk is that in the next step, it will be slower in the purple belts and the brown belts and the black belts.
When you begin are faster later. One of the reasons is that if you specialize too early, you can not adapt. You lose the ability to adapt.
When you are there in the finals, the main tournament – you are facing a fighter that is your level, chances are that it will be decided by one inch! At the last minute. One of you will pull out something unexpected. And that shows that when you do that type of thing that you are adapting. And when you adapt, you are defeating that tough opponent.”
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia