Gui Mendes: ‘Rafa is Better in Jiu-Jitsu but I’m the Better Looking Brother (laughs)’

Gui Mendes: ‘Rafa is Better in Jiu-Jitsu but I’m the Better Looking Brother (laughs)’



Guilherme Mendes talked to Chinese website mp.weixin.qq.com and discussed many topics such as his guard passing style, how they started AOJ academy and which brother is better in Jiu-Jitsu:

You are not only an amazing competitor, but also a renowned instructor. How do you balance between your training and teaching? You also cornered many matches, could you give us a little tip about coaching on the side?

To me teaching is a way of training and it has been helping me a lot to understand about my own game and details, the more I know my game and understand my strong and weak points, the harder it gets to beat me.
Coaching is harder than it looks, you have to stay calm and focused to give the right instruction, you have to know the student to be able to recognize his fears and his abilities and then help him to control the situation while fighting.

Please tell us a little about the creation of AOJ. Why do you start the new school, What are the most significant elements that make AOJ stands out?

It’s a collaboration between RVCA founder PM Tenore and us. We met Pat when we were seventeen years old purple belts, I think he recognized that we would be successful in the sport because he saw how hard we worked and how passionate we were for this lifestyle. He promised us that if we keep working hard and keep winning the World Championship every year he would open an academy for us to share our Jiu Jitsu, so we kept dedicating ourselves to have our part done and in 2012 he decided that it was time to start the Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy. This academy is unique and only people that have been here can explain it, this is my proudest achievement in life, it’s the academy of my dreams.


Your double under pass is more effective than the traditional one. What are the modifications that you make? What are the most important tips that you learned about passing? You and your brother mostly play a low center of gravity passing style. Some player prefer to stand tall and be more dynamic. What are the pros and cons to each style?

It’s all about your vision in the game, you can get good in anything, you just have to study it over and over and understand all the possible situations and reactions, that’s how we get really good, having the confidence that you understand that position. Techniques, postures and styles are all opinions, they all work really well but you have to decide witch one you like better and study it until you are confident enough to put it in action. We teach to our students our style, posture and techniques because it’s what we are confortable and we understand better, and I believe that a good tip to all the Jiu Jitsu fans is to always see if the person that is teaching you the technique is able to do it or not, because like Bruce Lee says: knowing is not enough, we must apply.

Your brother, Professor Rafa Mendes fought Rubens and Miyao. The 50 -50 position is largely used in both matches. Both parties could not completely shut down the other party’s sweeps from 50-50, yet it seemed like Rafa was always the person to gain top position when the time is running out. What is the most important thing to win the see-saw game?

I believe that my brother is a better competitor, they are all top level fighters with great techniques and very good understanding on the game, but Rafa is better than anybody else that I know on controlling the situation when you are in the arena, and it makes all the difference. He is an expert in controlling the score, time and take the right choices during the fight, that’s why he wins.

What are the key concepts to defend and pass the worm guard?

Depends who is playing it, if the person using the technique has a better understanding than you then you it’s going to be complicated for you, but if your level is higher it will not be a problem. I just focus on increasing my Jiu Jitsu level, my knowledge and then I’ll be fine against any technique.

The Miyao bothers and Keenan Cornelius are the brightest new stars in the black belt division, all of them had great success in the year of 2014. The Miyao brothers are more of the specialist type, based their games mostly around the Berimbolo. Keenan is more versatile, he does not seem to have the one and only goto guard, his top game is becoming extremely dangerous lately, and most recently he also showed quality wrestling in the no-gi worlds. Which approach do you prefer, the specialist approach like the Miyaos’, or the more well rounded approach like Keenan’s? What is your opinion about young athletes becoming specialized in limited positions at their lower belt stage?

Well rounded approach for sure, you can have a technique that you are very good and you trust a lot, but you have to eliminate all the gaps in your game and understand every aspect of the fight, by doing it you become a “very hard to beat” athlete.

While both you and Rafa are incredibly technical and handsome, which one of the Mendes brothers is better at JiuJitsu? Which one do you think has the better look?

Hahaha I believe Rafa is better in Jiu Jitsu, I’m the better looking brother.