Jiu-Jitsu is playing a bit part in the way the United Arab Emirates is developing. Not only is Jiu-Jitsu being taught to all school children in a governement backed program, the armed forces, police are being instructed full time by Jiu-Jitsu teachers. Felipe Cavalcante is a BJJ black belt under the illustrious Fredson Alves (Gracie Humaita team), having also worked extensively with Marcus Aurelio (former Pride and UFC fighter) from Nova Uniao. In this exclusive interview with BJJ Eastern Europe Felipe tells us about his journey teaching BJJ all over the world and his work with the presidential guard in the UAE:
1. Hi Felipe, can you please introduce yourself to the BJJ Community of Eastern Europe?
My name is Felipe Cavalcante and I am a black belt under Fredson Alves(Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu). I have started training BJJ in 1996. I also spend long time training under Marcus Aurelio (Former Pride and UFC fighter) . I won the North-Northeast Brazilian championship 2 times and 4 times State champion in Ceara.
2. Please tell us about your time spent abroad in Australia and New Zealand
I definitely had a good time in these two countries. In 2006 I arrived in New Zealand. I had chance to teach classes and seminars in some gyms but I was feeling that if I could have spoken English properly I’d have better opportunities and make more money. In 2008 I decided to move to Australia in order to study business and find bigger opportunities. In Aussie Land I won the Pan Pacific championship in my weight division gi and no gi and a regional championship in Western Australia in No GI Absolute Division. In 2010 I finally got a work visa with jiu-jitsu in Australia.
3. You then moved to the UAE, please tell us about the set up over there. I believe that you were at one point teaching school children BJJ? How did that go?
In the end of 2011 I started work for Palms Sports in UAE. I started teaching BJJ in public schools and I did that for 8 months until I got transferred to the UAE Presidential Guard. I learned a lot teaching at schools here. Of course you need to have some patience to work with kids but the job can be done and if you are focused on your tasks and goals then it will be worth it.
4. How did you end up teaching the Presidential guards? Please tell us about your work with them.
I always give my best in everything I do. After some time working at schools I applied for transfer to the presidential guard and I was accepted.
5. How is life in UAE? Do you have much time for social life apart from work?
Of course there is time to have social life otherwise Brazilians wouldn’t come here (laughs). Dubai and Abu Dhabi are amazing places.
The most important about going to any place in the world is respect and understand the culture. Do some reading about the place before you coming. It will help you in your adaptation and will take you out of problems.
6. How would you describe your BJJ style and what are your strong points?
Classic but always open to learn new positions. I like playing guard most of the time.
7. What is next for you and your team in 2013?
I work at UAE Presidential in Al Ain. We have new students coming and going all the time. My goal here is to make them enjoy BJJ as much as possible so after the course they can keep training at ADCC training centres. Also I try to teach the students how BJJ can be useful in real life. About competitions, We won the 1st Presidential Guards Cup and we are waiting for the next competition.
8. If you want to thank somebody or sponsors, feel free
I would like to thank Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed and Sheik Tahnoon for all the support they have been given to the BJJ Community, my family and all my friends in UAE.