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Interview with BJJ Black Belt, Pedro Barcellos, Owner Of Atama Europe

1. Hi Pedro, can you please introduce yourself to the BJJ Community of Eastern Europe? 

Hi guys, my name is Pedro Barcellos, I am 38 years old, from Rio de Janeiro, 2nd Degree Black Belt and I currently train at Vita Team – Icon in Lisbon, Portugal.

Pedro Barcellos

2. What’s your Jiu-Jitsu story?

I started training Jiu Jitsu in 1995 with Caique Elias and Royler Gracie in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. According to Helio Gracie, Caique was the best non-Gracie athlete he ever formed. I trained with them for some years but when Caique moved to the US, he left another great BJJ artist in his place, Helio Soneca, one of the best masters I ever trained with. After a few years training with Helio, he also moved away from our city and I changed to Ze Marcello Team where I got my black belt in 2004.

I think I was really lucky to have those 3 great masters and learn from 3 different schools (Gracie Humaita – Caique, Gracie Barra – Soneca and BTT – Ze Marcello). How many people can do this without ever being a creonte? Especially because I am from a time that changing teams was a unforgivable

Pedro receiving his black belt in 2004

3. At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to dedicate your life to Jiu-jitsu and at the same time start Atama Europe?

Well, I always had one thing in my mind, to never stop training no matter what happened in my professional life.
I used to compete a lot on blue and purple belts but I had to slower down when I started to work and go to college at the same time, I didn’t have much time left to dedicate to Jiu Jitsu. Since the competition level was already high, I didn’t want to compete without being 100% committed to the training, that’s when Jiu Jitsu became a hobby and a lifestyle, even tough I was not making my living of it. And to be honest, I have the same philosophy as you: never ever stop training Jiu Jitsu! No matter what happens, be it in professional or personal life.

4. Please tell us more about the History the Atama Brand and of Atama Europe.

Atama is a word of Japanese origin meaning head, mind and intelligence. It was created in 1989 in Brazil.  Atama Europe was created to provide all European fighters the best fight products with faster delivery and better prices, backed by a world class customer service. We pride ourselves in offering courteous, informed, and professional customer service. We strive to consistently fulfill our promise to deliver quality gear and clothing to your doorstep quickly and accurately. Our staff is comprised of fighters of all levels, and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Atama Europe operates out of a dedicated warehouse in Portugal staffed by fighters, not outsourced to people who never trained before.

First of all, I used Atama all my life. I am good friends with the Atama owners and had been working close with them for several years on another company. Since they knew me as a honest and hardworking person they invited me to be their distributors for Europe. It was a very easy decision for me to come to Portugal and represent a brand that I truly like and stand for.

Atama BJJ Wedding (Aggelos Kasapoglou’s wedding)

5. Please tell us about the History of BJJ in Portugal and about the local scene there. And how do you see BJJ developing there?

I arrived here in Lisbon 3 years ago and knew very few people from Jiu Jitsu. I think I was really lucky to find one of the best teams in Portugal very close to my house. Since the first day I was very impressed with the Jiu Jitsu level of the guys and the cool friendly environment. Now I train everyday at Vita Team and the guys are constantly at the top of the podium of the main competitions. To be honest, the BJJ level is getting amazingly high not only in Portugal, but in Europe.

6. Please tell us about your academy in Portugal. How does it differ from other BJJ academies?

Our academy is runned by Master Sergio Vita and he does an amazing job here in Portugal. He’s a very technical fighter that learned directly from Carlson Gracie. He’s from the same breed as Amaury Bitteti, Wallid, Murilo Bustamante, Ze Mario, Bebel, Paulo Filho and many others. Can you imagine a 60Kg guy among those monsters? Tough times that made him who he is today! Carlson Gracie mentality!

7. Who are BJJ players that you admire, and why?

I will first talk about the guys that rocked back in the 90’s: Nino Schembri, Roleta, Leo Vieira, Vitor Shaolin, Royler Gracie, Tererê, Saulo Ribeiro, Rodrigo Comprido and Margarida. I might be forgetting some guys but those are the first that come to my mind when I remember who were the real deal back then, those guys made history!
From the new generation, I must say Roger Gracie, Xande Ribeiro, Buchecha, Rodolfo Vieira, Bruno Malfacine and many others…

8. Who are the top Portuguese BJJ players that we should look out for?

There are some guys on Purple and Brown belt that will surprise in the next Europeans.

9. What did you think about the Metamoris Pro event? Do you like these rules as compared to IBJJF?

Great initiative, it’s always good to test the top guys with different rules, especially if they are stimulating the beautiful Jiu Jitsu and the submissions.

10. How would describe your style of Jiu-Jitsu? How about your teaching style?

I currently don’t have time to teach on a regular basis, but from time to time I teach here and there and the focus is always on the details, those little ones that make all the difference on a good position.

11. What is next for you in 2012/2013?

Keep on following my goals, traveling a lot and above all, KEEP TRAINING JIU JITSU!!

Pedro enjoying life in Thailand

12. Thanks Pedro and all the best!

Thank you guys!

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