This is a older interview (september 2011) from our friends at BJJ Heroes
Rodrigo Cabral is now teaching in Austin, Texas but Alliance BJJ Russia is still running strong and there are now BJJ competitions as well as strong BJJ clubs like Gracie Barra and Gracie Humaita in Russia..
Rodrigo Cabral also known as “Brucutu” has recently been called up to open the first Alliance Jiu Jitsu academy in Russia, showing just how much the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has evolved in recent years. With a strong background in Judo, Wrestling and Sambo, Russia is a tremendous fighting nation which makes the launching such a franchise an important landmark for BJJ and the Alliance team. BJJ Heroes caught up with Rodrigo to find out more about this enterprise.
The Alliance academy has had tremendous expansion in recent years, opening branches all over the world, but until today it had no branches in Eastern Europe. Why did Alliance decide on this now, and how did the opportunity present itself?
|Rodrigo Cabral and Dmitry Selivakhin|
It all started 6 months ago when Dmitry Selivakhin spent some time with us training in Rio de Janeiro. Dmitry belongs to an MMA team in Russia, named Strela MMA and he showed interest in opening an Alliance franchise in Russia.
Why were you chosen to come to Russia?
Well, one of Dmitry’s requests was that Master Paiva would send someone physically strong…
Russia has deep roots in Judo, Sambo and Wrestling. Have you felt people are curious to learn Jiu Jitsu, or do you feel they look at Jiu Jitsu with a certain disdain?
Not at all! I was quite surprised actually, because Sambo is a national sport here and all of them here have trained or train Sambo, but the guys have shown tremendous interest in Jiu Jitsu. They are very focussed and determined in everything they do and this is extremely important… important for anything you want to achieve in life.
Knowing that many of your students come from a different grappling art already, did you feel the need to change anything in your class, or you follow the regular teaching curriculum?
Their background has helped a lot, they learn very fast indeed.
We know that Poland is growing very rapidly in Jiu Jitsu, and that it already has a good competition schedule, what is the situation in Russia, are there any BJJ competitions already going on there?
Nothing for now, they do have submission wrestling competitions, but no Jiu Jitsu so far.
I know you struggled with injuries these past few years and you needed more then one surgery on your shoulders, but you came back on the mats earlier this years and managed to achieve a Gold medal at the Brazilian Nationals (in May). How was it to come back on the mats and to win such a prestigious tournament?
I was very happy, I had done my final surgery 8 weeks prior to that tournament and I hadn’t competed since 2008 (when Rodrigo won the Rio State Championships). It was a great moment.
You have trained with many big names and been coached by some of the best in the business (Fredson Alves, Leo and Rico Vieira, etc), and more recently you turned to the famous master Alexandre Paiva. How has the experience of training with “Gigi” been and what did he bring to your (already top notch) Jiu Jitsu?
Gigi is a fantastic coach, he has a lot of positive energy to give and he gives me a lot of confidence, he has also helped me improve a lot on my technique. I would also like to mention Alexandre Puga who helped me a lot in practice.
You always enjoyed wrestling, are you cherishing the opportunity of being in one of the strongest Wrestling countries in the world?
Haha, well today I will have my first Wrestling session, all tough guys here!
For our Russian readers, how can they find the academy, what is the address?