CBJJ Main-Organizer: Marcelo “Seriema” Araújo.

Marcelo has been with the CBJJ organization since 1996 and his experience is large with tournaments such as Brasileiro de Equipes, Pan American, Brasileiro and Mundials.BJJ black belt, 1,94cms and 86kgs- well with this introduction you’d think we’re going to interview a BJJ competitor, who has long legs to sweep his adversaries- but that’s not the case this time. We caught up with main organizer of CBJJ events, Marcelo Araujo (aka Seriema).

Marcelo has been with the CBJJ organization since 1996 and his experience is large with tournaments such as Brasileiro de Equipes, Pan American, Brasileiro and Mundials. We conducted a very nice interview with the CBJJ’s man and he talked to us about the innovations and plans of CBJJ for the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jistu.

DENIS MARTINS: How did you first become the organizer of CBJJ’s events?

MARCELO ARAUJO: I got an invitation of Carlos Gracie Jr., to work in the newspaper Gracie and in CBJJ. We realized that to the events work, we need to have a control over the academies and fighters through a computer and this was one of the first things we did since I joined CBJJ.

DM: Is there any chance of you becoming the president of CBJJ?

MA: I don’t believe in that. Carlos Jr. always worked for the BJJ and he has a huge interest in keeping the sport increasing, I’ll be always at his side to support the good job we’re making.

DM: I last five years the organization has had a lot of changes, and they were very well received by the competitors and federations. Do you think more changes will be made at the future?

MA: I loved this last Mundials and the adding of three referees, plus the electronic score were fantastic for the competition in all aspects. Nowadays we, from CBJJ, hear more opinions of our affiliates. Sometimes we hear things that by the first look they are not good, but we can mix and work over these ideas to make the things better. We’ve in our mind (CBJJ’s one) that we always have to increase. But we’ve some very good ideas which have worked for a long time, and we’re not changing them.

DM: How do you listen to the ideas of all affiliates?

MA: No way of listening to all of them, but we’ve the main academies and main black-belts to be listened. We have more than 1500 fighters at a Mundials and we can’t listen to everyone. So Carlos Jr, Andre, Alvaro Mansur and I have collected the best ideas to insert in our plans to create the best environment possible to thecompetitors.

DM: Was this Mundials 2006 the best in terms of organization?

MA: I believe so. The electronic score was one of the best ideas we had. In my opinion this was good- more for the time than for the points. I mean, the fighters could control their movement with more accuracy, because they knew about the time. Also, we used only two mats at the last day of competition, and this was better for comprehension of the crowd, who could know if the fight on the mat was semifinal, quarter final or etc. Of course, we announced thefights a lot of times, but two mats were the perfect way to conduct the last day. DM: How this idea of two mats come?

MA: I watched a GP of Judo and they had only two mats, becoming the competition infinitely easy and fun of watching. Also, once Luca Atalla (Gracie Magazine editor) was in a Wrestling competition at Olympic Games and he told me they used this system, and they had two commentators who knew everything about the wrestlers at these two mats- in my opinion it’d be impossible to be made in 4 mats. So if they adopted it, why couldn’t we do it too, because if it was good for them, why not for us?

DM: What about the fights of this year?

MA: We’ve a very good generation of fighters. I like to see Marcelo Garcia, Xande Ribeiro, Roger Gracie, Andre Galvão, Braulio Estima and etc. I like fighters who look for the submission, and they make a good show.

DM: Any special fighter this year?

MA: I think Roger is special because he makes the BJJ to be simple. He makes things and people don’t believe how he did. Roger lost the final to Xande, they fought very well and I can tell you that Xande was very tactical fighter.

DM: The absolute final was memorable match.

MA: We could not have had a better last match of the tournament than we had in that absolute final bout involving Roger and Xande.

DM: We watched a few fighters who don’t compete often losing at the Mundials. Nino “Elvis” Schembri was one of those who surprised the crowd by the way he got submitted by Andre Galvão. How do you see that?

MA: In my opinion the academy training and the competitions are distant nowadays. The fighter who doesn’t compete and just train, he will have a hard time at the tournaments. Of course Nino is a fantastic fighter, but he didn’t have the same pace than fighters as the winners Galvão and Marcelo Garcia do. They’re always competing and this is hard for someone else who’s not in same rhythm to follow their paces.

DM: I know CBJJ doesn’t comment about CBJJO; but people want to know your opinion about it. What do you think about CBJJO?

MA: There are too many events without the CBJJ’s banner, and they have a good support and there’s no problem with them. But the main problem of CBJJO was to harm our job in their first season, when they scheduled their first season in the same dates of our ones. They wanted to weaken us, but they didn’t. I think our commitment with the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is bigger than theirs; to make an event is difficult; however this is not 20% of our job nowadays and I think we have other things that they don’t. They only concern themselves with the events.

DM: Even CBJJO paying money, we see fighters giving more wroth to CBJJ. Do you think this a proving of more commitment of CBJJ with the BJJ?

MA: Well, it is impossible to please everybody. Always when our events finish, I stay a little concerned because not all of the competitors left the gymnasium very satisfied. But when I hear people speak well about our job I stay very happy because it demands a lot of us.

DM: Talking about good job, well did you hear what people talked in internet about the fight involving Mike Fowler x Daniel Moraes?

MA: Yes, I did.

DM: What can you state about that fight?

MA: I think this situation was the worst thing that happened in our event. Mansur (chief referee) and I didn’t see the fight, but it is recorded and we’re going to study this. Carlos Jr watched the fight and he said that Moraes’ movement characterized an illegal one (the slam) and Moraes should be disqualified. We need to see if this was a clear mistake, and if it does, we’ll warn the referee. We’re working to develop a World system of referring fights, so we can’t let gaps for big mistakes.

By what I saw on internet, they commented that the American fighter comes to Brazil to be robbed on the mat, and it let me sad. We’re working hard and we know the effort these fighters do to come to Brazil and compete. Our intention is to develop the BJJ in the World, and if we have a foreign champion of Mundials in black-belt is very important. I’d be very happy if Fowler was champion; he’s a good fighter and deserved that. If we have a lot of foreign champions this is a signal that our job is going well due to what we make outside Brazil. Another fact was they talked this tape of the match Fowler x Moraes would be lost, but this fight will be on the dvd of Mundials 2006 and everybody will watch it, we don’t have the why to hide anything.

DM: Still at the Mundials, we had a lot of disqualifications this year. Do you think it will happen more often from now on?

MA: I remember three disqualifications: Carlos “Escorrega” Lemos, Daniel Moraes and Carlos Holanda and Dai Yoshioka in the same fight. I think it needs to happen and this is the future of our sport, no place for stalling. We need to attract more fans for this sport, so the matches need to have more dynamism. I think the fighters learned from this and we’ll have more good matches now. This was not the first time we disqualified two fighters in same match, at Brasileiro 2006 in Roberto Tozzi and Cyborg (semifinals), bothwere disqualified too, and after this they talked to us, please we’ll fight now, don’t disqualify us. Well, this was too late for this allegation.

DM: The main problem in that semifinal involving Holanda and Yoshioka was that both didn’t understand they got disqualified, mainly Yoshioka who doesn’t speak English or Portuguese either. Is there any work of CBJJ to make the things clear for fighters asYoshioka?

MA: We’re elaborating a rules’ dvd and it will launched in all languages, so fighter will not have problem on the moment of understanding the rules.

DM: Is there any chance of Mundials to be organized outside Brazil?

MA: I think this is hard to happen, because Mundials is important to other people here in Rio de Janeiro. I mean, we see a lot of academies replete of students from all corners of Brazil and the World, and we see how this is important to the fightwears. So I don’t think a Mundials outside Brazil would be a good idea. We have the Pan American and we’re going to organize an event in Japan, the Asiatic Cup, so Mundials is an event for Brazil.

DM: Also, I’d like to mention one thing to you. What about the State of Rio de Janeiro Jiu Jitsu Federation? I see this event not going very good in last years…

MA: The Rio de Janeiro Jiu Jitsu Federation is a good institution with an office and a very good program for their competitions. However I think that the famous fighters prefer to compete in other events, I think this is a natural way. The federation isn’t weak- they have good black-belts competing, but not the famous ones.

DM: What can us expect from CBJJ in next years?

MA: We’re a bit worried with the number of black-belts popping up all these years without much information about. We don’t know where they’re from and how they got graduated. So we’re creating a World system of graduating to implement in all federations (regionaland international). The bjjer will have a time to be graduated to black-belt, he can’t be graduated quickly and only a second dan black-belt can graduate a black-belt. We need to regulate the sport on this way, we need to make a World system in rules and in graduation; so the sport can increase each time more by the correct organization and planning of this.

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Denis Martins