Interview with Alliance Jiu-jitsu Black Belt Felipe “Zicro” Neto

Zicro was the go to guy to learn all of the latest techniques from Brazil as well as spar with to get a lesson in humility.Through training Jiu-jitsu, you find you will meet all sorts of different people. Instructors, fighters, wannabes, tough guys, potheads, pacifists etc……In my years of training I think I was always lucky to meet and train with some pretty level headed people.

In my many travels to Atlanta I was very fortunate to meet some top level black belt instructors as well as fighters. One of which was Felipe Zicro Neto.

The first year I visited Jacares academy in Atlanta in 1999, Zicro was the go to guy to learn all of the latest techniques from Brazil as well as spar with to get a lesson in humility. He immediately befriended my crew from Canada and became our first real BJJ black belt link. I remember one time specifically he submitted me and my instructor with the same move repeatedly the same day more than 3 times each.

Since this time, I have been able to train with Zicro every year for my annual ass kicking and learn alot more than jiu-jitsu as he is an avid surfer, and admirere of many of lifes beauties ***cough cough GIRLS cough cough****

Felipe has retired from competitions however still dedicates his time to training with current champions and teaching brazillian jiu-jitsu as well as enjoying the amazing life in beautiful Leblon, Rio De Janeiro.

As well as a great instructor I consider Zicro one of my best friends who has always given me a place to stay when I visited him in either Atlanta or Brazil.

BALEIA) Where do you currently teach in Brazil?

ZICRO) In the best fitness center of the country ( CIA Athlética ), with Fernando Gurgel in Gávea and some private group classes.

BALEIA) There seems to be an ongoing argument on what types of techniques a competitor uses in competition or while sparring. Some people choose to use the newest techniques to surprise an opponent while others use simple basics to win matches. What are your thoughts on this?

ZICRO) Everyone uses what they know. If I know new techniques that can surprise my opponent, of course I’m going to use them. But a solid traditional technique is always good to use too.

BALEIA) Have you ever trained with or under Rickson Gracie and what do you think of his rumoured return to mixed martial arts?

ZICRO) Yes… I went to his school with Fábio Santos at the time. I think that he can still beat everyone from his time… Despite the fact that he is almost 50 years but biologically he’s around 30. I’m still concerned about him fighting the right level young guys fighters.

BALEIA) What are your hobbies outside of Jiu-jitsu?

ZICRO) Surf, Tennis, spear gun fish, and reading.

BALEIA) What’s your advice for a gringo who wants to train in Brazil?

ZICRO) There are a couple summer BJJ camps going on. If you’ve never been in Brazil, that can be a good option. I advice the foreigners to go to our Alliance BJJ camp. Other than that… Is good to have people that you can trust helping you out. Rio can be really good or really bad if you don’t know where you’re going. So make sure that you got hooked up with the right person and academy.

BALEIA) In your opinion who is/was the greatest jiu-jitsu fighter who competed other than Rickson Gracie?

ZICRO) From my generation Fabio Gurgel, Léo Vieira, Ricardo Vieira, Royler etc… There are so many good guys. For the new generation Roger Gracie just started getting his name, Ronaldo Jacaré, Pé de pano, Marcelo Garcia, André Galvão.

BALEIA) You are scheduled to return to the United States for a seminar, could you tell us a little bit about it?

ZICRO) A friend of mine Alex Britto invited me to teach at his school in Philly PA. So I’m coming…

BALEIA) What types of techniques and things should someone expect to learn with you at your upcoming seminar in Philly?

ZICRO) For sure it’s going to be a great seminar… we are going to start with some specific warm ups, some Natural gymnastic or Animals biotic drills and a lot of defending the guard as well as sweeps from the guard with some set ups for submission. After that specific practice and regular practice. So don’t miss it!!!

BALEIA) This past summer the Brazilian television station did a little piece on you and Master Jacare playing Foot volleyball on the beach in Rio, what was that like?

ZICRO) It was really cool… Me and Jacaré really enjoy that thing and for sure the other two professional soccer players did too.

BALEIA) What’s your advice to a foreign guy or girl to pick up a Brazilian guy or girl?

ZICRO) That is a funny question… Usually girls in Brazil like foreigners, so you guys for sure have a chance to take the monkey of your back once you here. My advice is doing be shy. Use eye contact, and wait till the right moment to go and talk to the girl or guy. What ever you guys say will be good… They for sure will be surprised and will like to hear a different language… So it can definitely be a good start!

BALEIA) Have you ever considered moving to the United States or abroad?

ZICRO) Yes, I’ve been thinking about it… I was looking for some universities to obtain my masters degree, and also some good opportunities to teach are knocking on my door right now so let see… I’m always open to everything that I think is going to be good for me to grow.

Brazillian Jiu-jitsu seminar with Alliance Jiu-jitsu Black Belt Felipe ‘Zicro’ Neto.

October 21st 2006 at the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Institute in Downigtown, PA, USA.

-The seminar will be 3 hours in duration from 11Am to 2 Pm.

-One day semninar

-The seminar wil be foucus on sport/competitio jiu-jitsu techniques such as: defending the guard, sweeping and reversals.

-$60.00 dollars fee

ZICRO is Black belt 2nd degree, under Romero Cavalcante – ‘Jacare’; trained extensively with Fabio Gurgel, Roberto Travem, Alexandre Paiva, Rodrigo Comprido, Ricardo and Leo Vieiira, Leonardo Castelo Branco, ad others…

Zicro has plenty of experience teaching and is fluent in English as he was the assistant instrucotr at the Alliance Atlanta academy for many years. Zicro is also a graduate in Physical Education, Post graduation sport personal trainer.

Pan american medalist, Champion of Rio de janeiro state championships end many locals tournament in Brasil, Champ of Florida state Championships, Calhoum submission open and MMA.

ZICRO currently teaches at: Academia Companhia Athlética – Rio de Janeiro ( Jiu-jitsu instructor and Personal trainer), Alliance Academy Ipanema RJ. 96 a 98.

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Riccardo Ammendolia