Who the hell is Jorge Pereira?
Every year, the ROOTS Team waits with baited breath for the arrival of Master Jorge Pereira. This August, Jorge is coming back again to run a series of seminars with the aim of sharing his knowledge and sharing his stories with the team. But who is Jorge? What is Rio Heroes? Why is he connected to ROOTS?
Jorge is a BJJ coral belt (7th degree). He earned his black belt training under Rickson Gracie in 1986. Pereira is known as one of the defenders of the Brazilian grappling style in Vale Tudo (no holds barred) matches spanning several decades from 1980s onwards. He was also well known for building one of the strongest BJJ teams of that time. In 2007, Jorge was the mastermind behind a series of Vale Tudo (no rules/no hold barred) fights called Rio Heroes. His aim was to bring back the old school values to fight business. The fights were screened from Brazil to the States. Jorge retired in 2008, at the age of 42 due to a knee injury and one blind eye, both were injuries sustained in his fights.
Jorge is a strong supporter of the values underpinning BJJ. While he is all about competitions and fights, he is also an advocate for the value of BJJ for everyone. He explains “My Style is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, from my master Rickson Gracie. I always try to follow his teachings. My Jiu-Jitsu is for life, for self-defence and developing health. Of course, competitions of Jiu-Jitsu and MMA are part of all that concept too. But I try to see the Jiu-Jitsu in a bigger picture. JIU-JITSU FOR LIFE!”
Jorge was born in Rio de Janeiro. When he was a boy, his family moved to the suburb Barra da Tijuca, and it was there that he crossed paths with Paulo as they were living in the same condominium complex. There is a back story here. When they were about fourteen, Jorge liked a girl, but the girl liked Paulo. Jorge came to check out this guy that had stolen the heart of his girl. Neither of them know what happened to the girl, but it was a serendipitous encounter, and they have been best friends ever since. It was while they were living in this complex that an older boy started to bully Jorge. Jorge decided that he needed to learn how to defend himself. Paulo was already doing jiu-jitsu under Flavio Behring. Flavio was a Helio Gracie black belt. Jorge came to train with him too. Marcelo, Flavio’s son, who was in his late teens, started to teach some classes for his father. Marcelo was already training under Rickson Gracie and he took Jorge to train with him at the Gracie Academy when Jorge was in his late teens, and it was at this time that he earned his blue belt.
Jorge’s Early Career
There were not many BJJ competitions at the time, but the most important was the Liga Niteroiense de Jiu-Jitsu (LINJJI). Teams were not allowed to enter more than two athletes per division, so most of the BJJ academies would have internal trial tournaments to find their team fighters.
These internal competitions were often tougher than the actual LINJJI. Jorge fought in the Gracie Academy trials. His trial fights earned him a spot on Rickson Gracie‘s competition squad, an elite training squad of the Gracie Academy that was chosen to represent Rickson himself. Jorge started attending the group classes with these elite competitors from when he was a blue belt. He kept training under Rickson Gracie for many years, and he achieved the rank of black belt in 1986.
Jorge’s Fighting Achievements
Jorge spent most of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s fighting competitively. He fought BJJ, Vale Tudo, and MMA.
His titles include: Extreme Challenge (Atlanta, USA); King of the Cage (Palm Springs, USA); IVC 5 (Sao Paulo, Brazil); and Brazilian Free Style Championship 2, 3, and Final Event (Sao Paulo, Brazil).
Jorge is the No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu World Champion (2008 California); the Jiu-Jitsu Pan American Champion (2002/2003/2004 Florida & California); and the Champion of FFC Submission Grappling Open Miami, Florida.
Jorge also holds a number of Vale Tudo titles including: Brazilian Free Style Champion (1996, 1997, 1998, Sao Paulo, Brazil) and he was the Champion of "The Fighter” Free Style Championship (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). He also has a MMA Record of 14 fights, 10 wins, and four losses.
Jorge was awarded his coral belt in 2013 by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation.
Today, Jorge teaches at his BJJ academy in Miami, travels for seminars, spends time with his family, and works with the producers of the Rio Heroes TV series with Fox Studios. Jorge gave Paulo his black belt in 1998, and Paulo is the highest BJJ black belt in Australia. Every year, when Jorge comes back to Australia to do his seminars he is also coming back to his roots.
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