Academy Hunting Homework #3: Ze Mario Esfiha Brasa BJJ
One if the biggest lessons I have learned is that things really do work out as they are supposed to. Patience is a hard skill to learn in this fast paced world we live in. We are accustomed to instant gratification and when things don't work out right away we can get discouraged. It is okay to be upset, but the trick is to never give up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on rolling!
Of course I got lost going a block away from my school campus. Driving and navigating an iPhone can be tricky. Eventually I found his academy about a 1/2 HR later. I hate being late although I tend to live on Brazilian/ Hawaiian time and I especially hate being lost too! It makes me flustered and anxious. Thankfully Mario was super understanding and it turned out to be a great class even though I missed half of it. However, I was able to catch the entire no GI class which I found incredibly interesting. I was later able to check out a few week night, noon classes and the black belt promotions. Although I haven't trained at Mario's as much as I'd like to, I learned a lot in a short time.
Mario is a really big guy compared to me. I hate to say it, but I'd expected he would have completely different Jiu-Jitsu style than the smaller guys I was used to. I was pleasantly surprised. Although he may have size on his side, he is also amazingly technical and doesn't have to rely on his size to dominate a match. After all, it makes sense, he's been around for a long time so he's seen a lot of techniques and studied them. He's trained among Brazil's best black belts growing up and is full of entertaining stories about the "motherland" back in the day. He's also one of the most accomplished black belt competitors in Austin. You can tell he genuinely loves Jiu-Jitsu. It is all he does for a living. He is an easy going guy that likes to joke around and laugh. However, the quality of Jiu-Jitsu at Brasa Jiu-Jitsu isn't a joking matter. It is the real deal.
Everywhere I go these days I see familiar faces. I think it is just further proof that we are still a small and tight knit Jiu-Jitsu community . My first day at Mario's, I ran into this guy named Doug that I trained with years ago at Relson Gracie. Everyone at Mario's was super cool and helpful. It is a total family style academy. They all seem to get along and seem to be content with their training. It's a positive environment and has a lot of potential for only being a year old. I see good things to come.
Mario is one of the founders of Team Brasa. He studied under a few different instructors and has a very real and honest take on things. Mario straight up told me on my first day of classes, that if I was looking for a belt to be handed to me that wouldn't happen at his place. After he said that, I knew we'd get along great. I don't understand why some academies think that by handing out belts it some how gives the academy more credibility. For instance, if your brown belts are not really brown belts at heart, it will reflect on the mats. I respected the fact that Mario said that to me because the last thing I am looking for is a hand out. I think it is important that your instructor believes in the same principles and standards that you do. It is crucial that you are honest with each other. I agreed totally with Mario on a lot of points we discussed. It was refreshing to hear his take on things and his advice as I look for a new academy. I appreciate the insight and guidance he shared with me.