Interview With Cadu Francis, One of The Pioneers Of BJJ in Holland


Cadu with Dutch BJJ Black Belt Yasmin Sewgobind

Hyperfly Do or Die athlete Cadu Francis from Brazil (Yamasaki academy) is perhaps the Godfather of Dutch BJJ. He came to teach BJJ in Holland in the early 2000’s but has now moved on to the USA where he teaches in California. In any case, his students are the first Dutch BJJ Black Belt (Mathieu Peters), and the first Dutch female Black Belt (Yasmin Sewgobind). Cadu Francis on BJJ and his favorite Dutch waffles:

Source: Our friends at artesuave.eu  (Translated from Dutch), Check out their great site.

1) Cadu please tell us about Yourself?

Cadu Francis is a Martial artist who followed his dream and devotes his life for the art.

2) How did you end up on the mat? What made you practice BJJ when did you start?

I was lucky to have self defense/Bjj classes at school back in Brazil. I was amazed how this little Asian guy beat me up effortlessly and began training from there on. At that time I was 14.

3) Your wife, Gabi, is also a blackbelt. Did you two meet through BJJ or did you know each other before?

Gabi and I met through BJJ.

4) You two run a excellent academy together in La Mesa (San Diego). Do you find it tough to work together with Gabi? And, if there is ever an argument, are you scared to go home? (In an interview once you said that sometimes you are always defending the chokes even when sleeping )

I think that we are a successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School in La Mesa because each of us have different qualities even though both of us are black belts. Sometimes we do have different opinions about things and we have learned to make decisions in cases like this.

Cadu and his Dutch student Mathieu Peters promotting Yasmine

5) You made a comeback on the competition field this year, and if I’m correct, you made quite a statement by winning bronze in a really tough bracket. How was it to be back?

I hadn’t competed for 3 years and it was awesome to be back. For the last 3 years I’ve been very busy planning the start of Jiu Jitsu Foundation as it took most of my time. This last season, I took 8 weeks to train and won the American Nationals and got bronze on the Worlds Masters.

I love to compete and I think it is good for my students to have someone to look up to. If my body permits I intend to compete for a very long time. I also enjoy watching and coaching my students in tournaments. I feel as it is me out there. It is an unexplainable feeling to see my pupils winning tournaments and succeeding on their journey.

6) How do you think the level of BJJ in Holland / Belgium has progressed over the years?

BJJ in Holland and Belgium has improved tremendously. When I was first in Holland, 10 years ago, there was hardly a blue belt around and now there are multiple teams with Dutch and Belgium black belt instructors teaching.
It is sad to see that most of these teams once trained together, but In this sport it is natural for teams to split since different people have different philosophies and priorities. Looking at the good side of it, it makes the sport more exciting in competitions.

7) The Dutch Open had it’s 10th year anniversary this year. Where do you think there is still room for improvement?

I haven’t been recently to many tournaments in Europe but I can say that the Dutch Open can be compared to the best in the world. The organization of this event is extremely effective and the priority of the tournament is to respect the Athletes and spectators. We are always doing our best to improve the tournament. In every tournament the hardest part is the refereeing.

I think that for the Dutch Open to improve the registration fee has to increase so we could have better paid referees and therefore bring in more experienced people. It is hard to demand much more from a tournament with such a low registration fee.

8) What is up with you brazilians and stroopwafels? (dutch waffels)

Stoopwafels are delicious and vicious! On my last trips to holland I preferred tasting the cheese since there is less sugar.

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