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.
It's BJJ Competition Season
Off the back of a successful Autumn Cup in May, which saw the ROOTS team come 2nd in gi, 2nd in no gi, 4th in the kids, and 3rd overall, we are now in competition season. So we thought that we would put forward some advice for the first time competitors, and some things to think about for the higher belts.
If you have never competed before, go and watch a competition. Come and support the ROOTS team. Get your hands on a Team ROOTS yellow t-shirt and cheer on your team mates. Not only will you get to hang out with the people from your gym, you will also get to meet people from the other ROOTS gyms. So you are winning already! Most importantly, you will know what the set up for the competition is like; for example, you will see where the marshalling area is, you will see how the mats are arranged, you can see where people get their medals, you can soak up the atmosphere, and you can get a feel for competition day.
Competitions can be loud and stepping on the mat for the first time can be daunting. However, the reality is that you will be fighting against someone who is your own weight and belt, which is a bit easier than rolling with the higher belts in the gym. The best strategy here is to go and watch the people that will be fighting in your weight and belt category. Best to also look at the weight categories above too, in case you you want fight in the open division as well.
Also, come to the ROOTS monthly open mats. These are on the first Saturday of each month at a different ROOTS gym, kicking off this Saturday 1 June from 10am - 12pm at ROOTS BJJ Chinatown. These are a good way to test your skills and to train with a whole lot of different people.
Get to know what Self-EfFicacy Means
Get to know what self-efficacy is. Self-efficacy is the concept that you have confidence in your ability to perform an action or task within a given domain (i.e. your belief that you can win a BJJ fight). If you have high self-efficacy, you believe that you can achieve the task, and if you have low self-efficacy then you have the belief that you cannot achieve the set task. Self-efficacy is developed though training, through feedback from your peers and instructors, and from vicarious experiences, such as seeing your team mates win. Another aspect of self-efficacy is team self-efficacy. So if the team believes that it can win, then the team has high team-efficacy. Paulo and all of the instructors have all been fighters, and they all have high self-efficacy and high team-efficacy. They believe that ROOTS can win, and they believe that you can win, too. Our goal is to win the competitions and to make our way to the lofty halls of Valhalla at the end of the day for a night of feasting.
Have a Clear Game Plan And TRain
A game plan means that you have an actual “plan” on how to achieve your goal for your fight. It is not some idea that you will go on the mat and last for five minutes and hope for the best, or that your opponent will, meekly, submit to your bravery. They are also there to win. Submission in the first 30 seconds of a fight is not a game plan, it is a pipe dream.
What you need to plan out is your attack and counter attacks. Learn what will get you points and what will cost you points. Know what your strengths are so that you can use them, but also know what the counter moves are so that if your opponent does one of the possible counter moves you can get around them. What will you do when you get in guard, half-guard, or side-control? What will you do if you are taken down, or what if you get put into a bad position? During training, practice the moves when you are rolling at the end of the session and be cognisant of how you can use those moves in a fight. Yes, use your training to prepare for a competition. Try your attacks and see what happens, learn from these instances where you may be bested in training so that you are victorious on the day.
Have a competition Mindset
It is a fight. You are there to win. You are there to do your best. There is no shame in losing if you tried your hardest. So put in the effort when you get on the mat. Remember to breathe. This is a simple rule, but controlling your breathe means controlling your strength.
Your coach is out there trying to help you when you are competing. Many people get out on the mat and they lose perspective of everything around them. This makes it much harder for someone to coach you because when you are in this situation you probably don’t even know your coach is there anymore. So do your best to stay focused. Anytime you have the chance, try to listen to your coach, or if you have good control, you can look at him. It may help.
Keep calm when you are fighting, know where you are in the fight, know how many points you have, and look for the time on the scoreboard. Try to control the fight.
Here is some overall advice on fighting:
Confidence Built on Training and Teamwork
There are many reported benefits from doing a martial art that extend beyond the physical. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), in this sense, is a holistic martial art in that promotes confidence, discipline, respect, and friendship while building strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance. In this article, we will share some of the benefits of BJJ for children and share some of our team’s stories. We hear from Stefi, Pep and Luka from our St George, Liverpool and Warringah Mall gyms.
Full name, age and belt ranking
Stefi Angelevski. 15 years old. Green belt.
How long have you been doing BJJ for?
I’ve been training since I was 5 years old, so 11 years altogether.
I’ve competed in over 30 comps at the state, national and Australasian levels. My record is 28 wins from 31 comps. For those that are interested, you can watch my previous comp wins on my YouYube channel: https://m.youtube.com/user/ZAKIANDSTEFIBJJ
What do you like about training BJJ?
The BJJ community as a whole is a large influence on my passion for the sport. I like being able to see myself and those around me better ourselves over time, both in technique and as individuals. BJJ is something I’ve come to love more and more over the years.
What’s your favourite BJJ move and why?
Bow and arrow. If taught correctly, it’s a move that can be utilised time and time again, as there many ways to tweak and alter it to your own build.
BJJ helps children to develop confidence. Some children are naturally outgoing, but others may be shy or not as social as others. Training BJJ will provide children with an opportunity to develop both the confidence they need to grow into confident teenagers and adults. Whether they are athletic or not, BJJ is a place where children can develop mastery of technical skills and receive positive reinforcement from their teachers and peers. BJJ focuses on building confidence through hard training.
BJJ teaches children many of life’s lessons, and one of these lessons is how to defend yourself. BJJ, primarily, teaches children self-defence rather than how to fight. In training, children learn how to defend themselves, they learn how to gain control of a situation, and they learn how to keep themselves safe. BJJ is not about encouraging children to fight, it is about giving them the skills to defend themselves and to find a way out of a difficult situation. Also, because BJJ is hands-on, the confidence in their BJJ skills and ability to defend themselves that they gain from training will be based in a real understanding of their strengths. Some martial arts may incorporate flashy moves and fancy kicks, and while these techniques may be fun, they are not going to carry over into real life scenarios, which could give your child a false sense of confidence.
Pep Archer Brown
Name and Belt Ranking?
Pep Archer Brown and Yellow belt
2 years and 3 months
1st Place, 8 yrs under 30kg Gi - Grappling Industries
What do you like about training BJJ?
Pep does BJJ because he wants to learn self defence, and it’s fun!
Favourite move is the arm bar
Physical strength and coordination
Another noted benefit of BJJ is the physical strength and coordination that comes from persistent training. Today’s society is relatively sessile in that children may spend hours playing video games, watching television, or staying inside. BJJ provides an opportunity for children to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle, and teaching them healthy habits at a young age will set up the foundations for a healthy life. Perhaps the Gracie Diet is not for everyone, but children will burn off energy, increase their flexibility, improve their balance and coordination, and will build cardio endurance.
Discipline, resilience, and Friendship
BJJ teaches children discipline and can support the development of the often overlooked quality of resilience. The physical benefits are impressive, but the mental benefits are just as important. Through training, children can develop a sense of discipline which results from the “never give up” attitude that BJJ instils in people. It can take years of training and competing to attain a Black Belt, and this develops resilience along the way. A child will not win every fight, it may take years for them to master a technique to the point of effortlessness, but the persistence builds resilience. BJJ is also a martial art in that a good teacher will be strict on children, they will make them wear their gi neatly, to bow when they enter and leave the mat, to have good hygiene, they will make them show respect to their teachers and peers, they will guide them through the history of jiu-jitsu and BJJ, and they will teach them about the spirit of the samurai and to have loyalty, respect and honour.
Friendship, this is an enduring benefit of BJJ for both children and adults. BJJ is a community, and your training partners will become your family.
Name and Belt Ranking?
Luka Dargeyko and grey-black belt
Luka has been training for one year.
Gold Medal at 2018 NSW State Championships and current State Champion for mixed white-to-grey-black belt 6 year old 26kg
What do you like about training BJJ?
It’s fun! I like doing forward and backward rolls and fighting.
Favourite move is the Ippon Seoinage (one are shoulder throw)
ROOTS BJJ News
ROOTS HQ is the team writer for ROOTS BJJ. ROOTS HQ will cover all the news and views on BJJ. Drop us a line through the contact page if you have any news to share.