Prof. Pedro Jordao: BJJ coach for UFC fighter Wei Li Zhang

Meet Prof. Pedro Jordao, head coach of Gracie Barra Shunyi in Beijing, China, and also known as the BJJ coach for UFC Strawweight champion Wei Li Zhang.
” I live my life as I do jiujitsu, it’s just one thing. I live, I eat, I sleep jiujitsu.”
Prof. Pedro shares his thoughts on teaching jiu-jitsu in China, being the coach of Zhang Wei Li, and on his philosophy of jiu-jitsu.
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GB: Let’s start by introducing you to the Gracie Barra readers. Can you tell us how you started jiu-jitsu? How many years have you been training jiu-jitsu? Where is your Gracie Barra home school?
Prof Pedro: I started Jiu-Jítsu in 2002 at my home town Belo Horizonte with master Erik Wanderley from Gracie Barra BH. So it’s almost 20 years of training and 11 years as a black belt.
GB: You are the head BJJ coach in Beijing, China.
How did you move to China to run GB Beijing?
How is the level of jiu-jitsu in China? What are the challenges for you as an instructor of growing jiu-jitsu in China?
Prof. Pedro: I’m the head coach of Gracie Barra Shunyi located in Beijing, China. In 2015 I’m moved to Asia at first I went to Singapore with an invite of professor Bruno Amorim from Gracie Barra Singapore and then I went to Beijing. I stayed in Singapore for a short time knowing that I was going to work in Beijing.
The level of jiujitsu in China is growing, a lot of black belts working there and now we have a lot of tournaments around China. The biggest challenges is culture shock and language barrier but as soon you understand that you walk free.
GB: You are well known as the BJJ coach for UFC Strawweight champion Wei Li Zhang. Can you talk a little about your role in preparing Wei Li to fight for world titles? How is the ground game of your student Wei Li?
Prof. Pedro: Weili was my first student in China, I’ve been training her for more than 6 years. She is very talented, very dedicated, and easy to work with. She has very good jiujitsu, in her career record, she has 7 submissions.
GB: The endless question: is there a reason for an MMA fighter to train jiu-jitsu in the gi? How do you feel about MMA fighters training with the kimono?
Prof. Pedro: I think it’s very important to train with the kimono because the gi makes you more technical and to have a complete understanding of what is jiujitsu you need to train with the gi. A lot of positions that we do with no-gi it’s from an adaptation of gi.
GB: What advice do you always give to your jiu-jitsu students? How can students overcome their challenges?
Prof. Pedro: The advice I gave to my students it’s trust and enjoys the process of learning. Everybody has their own speed of learning so stay patient and do your best and I’m sure you gonna be a very good Jiu-Jitsu fighter.
GB: Can you share some of your personal philosophy of jiu-jitsu and its place in your life?
Prof. Pedro: I think my philosophy is simple. I live my life as I do Jiu-Jitsu, it’s just one thing. I live, I eat, I sleep Jiu-Jitsu. My behavior and my attitudes it’s from what I learned on the mat.
See also on GB Blog: GB Women: Prof. Jo Thomson on Dealing with Challenges
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt