Flavio Almeida is a Bjj black belt under Gracie Barra founder, Carlos Gracie Junior, he is also the brother of UFC veteran Ricardo Almeida. Flavio is a very busy person: a husband, a father, the Executive Director of one of the world’s leading Jiu-Jitsu franchises and owner of two schools. He recently returned to competition and came back with a bang as he was crowned champion in the Las Vegas Open Adult Heavy category. One week after, he won the absolut blacl belt adul;t at the Chicago Open.
How does it feel to be back in the competition scene?
Competing in Jiu-Jitsu is great and will always be an amazing experience! I felt reborn! Competing brings focus and discipline in the practice of Jiu-Jitsu. And it makes me better as a person, teacher, and obviously as a disciple of Jiu-Jitsu.
We know you have a busy routine, how did you prepare for the championship and juggle work, family and training?
Prof. Flavio: I think all of us are always very busy. I always try to identify what is more important and focus in it; not let anything distract me. Earlier this year I realized that it was important for me to participate in some competitions to continue improving my technical knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu, and my fitness. And also get close enough to what our athletes experience. I learn a lot with them and I think it helps me make better decisions in my work for Gracie Barra.
My workout routine consists of one heavy training session a day and daily Jiu-Jitsu, 6 days a week. That’s all I can afford the time without compromising other areas of my routine.
From the voice of experience, what advice would you give to anyone who is beginning to participate in the competition circuit?
Prof. Flavio: I think people need to focus on competing at the right level. Identify the championships and categories that provide the challenge you are qualified or trained to face. For many, attending a class Jiu-Jitsu 2-3 times a week is already a huge competition, to others, it is more appropriate and competing on a bracket at absolute in the Worlds Championships. I think the value of competition in the challenge and not the result. The challenge will keep you alive as practitioner and induces grow through an apprenticeship. Choose the competition that will provide the appropriate challenge.
Benefits of competing? Can you explain more?
Prof. Flavio: The objective of Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra and development of the individual. For this to happen, the practitioner should always be learning and improving themselves in body, mind, and spirit. For learning to happen, the practitioner must always be facing ever increasing challenges. The competition is a way to challenge and, provided it is done correctly, provides a leap in the physical, technical, mental and even spiritual development of the practitioner. It is a very intense experience and valuable regardless of the results.