Our friends from Jits.fr went to train at Saulo Ribeiro’s University of Jiu-Jitsu and used the occasion to interview the legend. Since the Interview was in French, BJJ Eastern Europe translated it:
“J . : You’ve decided to focus on your passion and have done a lot of things. You still there still goals?
SR : I was an ambassador of Jiu-Jitsu the last 20 years and I still have many things to accomplish. No later than April, Rafael Lovato Jr, one of my students, was the first American to win the Brazilian championship absolute black, and I take great pride. I feel invested with a mission, my destiny is to pursue my passion to spread Jiu-Jitsu and my teaching around the world. We have also created the BJJ Library, an online website open to all on which many celebrities like Rafael Lovato or even Terere are invited to be demonstrate their techniques. On a personal level, I know that there is still and always will be things to learn to improve.
J. : Your brother, Xande is also an international star. Can you tell us more about your relationship?
SR : Oh, my little brother Xande. A very strong bond unites us. 7 years separate us. I played the role of the protective brother my whole life. Our separation was difficult when I left the family home when I was 17 for the academy, but he soon joined me. I would do anything for him and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together: our work at the Academy, our teaching, our competition wins.
J. : What do you think of the evolution of BJJ in the world?
SR : BJJ has been able to export well from Brazil to the United States, Europe, Japan … It has become an international sport that no longer deserves to be called “Brazilian” Jiu-Jitsu. Our sport, it’s an evolution of Jiu-Jitsu and should in fact bear that name.
Schools nowadays teach Jiu-Jitsu with the competition in mind. They should go back to basics and the true values of our sport. The original philosophy is being lost. BJJ is primarily an art of self-defense, where the discipline, which is improved self-esteem, which is progressing at the physical, mental as well as the human level we learn.
J. : You are now 43 years old, you may not be able to do what you could do before, what advice would you give to keep your abilities?
SR : Save your energy! Work on the foundation of your body, stretching, breathing. In the real rules of Jiu-Jitsu, there is no time limit, if you run out first, you will lose. Physical preparations today will allow you to do well during short bouts of upcoming competitions, but will not help you in the long run. Work the body and therefore the technique.
As I say in my book:
“If you think, you are late. If you are late, you use strength. If you use strength you get tired. And if you get tired, you die! ”