Pedro Carvalho Interview

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Interview originally published on The New Full Contact1) Can you give me some background information on yourself, such as when you got your start in the martial arts? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Also, who did you learn from? How long have you been doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

I began doing JJ about 14 years ago under Silvio Bhering and have trained with him for about five years. I also trained with Carlson Gracie for three years. I earned my Black Belt from Anibal Braga.

2) Can you share any information about your family with us? Brothers who do BJJ?

I do have some brothers who are involved with JJ also. Rodrigo Teixeira is one of them and he won the purple belt division in the last Joe Moreira Tournament. My other brother is Edson Sobreira and he is training in Brazil and is a Blue Belt.

3) Can you tell me of any hobbies you take part in outside of the martial arts?

Well, I surf a lot, I jog, that’s what we like to do in Brazil. I got a boat and I like to take my boat and do water-skiing. I swim also, I love swimming.

4) When did you come here to the United States?

I came here a couple years ago. Yes, about two years.

5) Out of all places, why did you select Rancho Cucamonga as a place to open up a BJJ school?

The reason why I came here is because one of my students who is a purple belt is an LAPD officer. He told me that many police officers lived in the area. I am a consultant to the LAPD so I thought that this would be a good place to open up the school.

6) How does BJJ differ in the way it is taught here in comparison to the way it was taught in Brazil?

It’s the same thing. Actually the Americans have some advantages. First of all they are much stronger than Brazilians and also they have access to better nutritional supplements such as MET-Rx. That isn’t really available in Brazil but it is slowly starting to work it’s way there. As for the training, it’s the same thing. Actually a lot of Americans did very well against Brazilians in the Pan Am games and also the Moreira Tournament.

7) Have you studied any other styles?

Yes, I’ve done some Tae Kwon Do and a little bit of Judo. But Jiu-Jitsu is my main thing and it’s what I’ve studied the most. My heart is all with the Jiu-Jitsu.

8) The ads I’ve seen in numerous magazines for your instructional videotapes say that your a 5 time Brazilian Champion, can you tell me about these competitions? Are these Sport Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments?

Yes, actually I’ve finished in the top two eleven times in tournament Jiu-Jitsu. These were state events and also national championships.

9) Have you fought under Vale Tudo rules?

Yes many times, never on TV but in Brazil it happens everywhere all the time. I have fought quite a few times here also. My instructional tapes show a few of my fights.

10) What is your most serious injury sustained in fighting?

No, not really. Actually in Jiu-Jitsu it’s different. you don’t need to be very strong to be good. Remember that you can always tap out. Many people think that Jiu-Jitsu is very brutal, but the Jiu-Jitsu that we train at the school is very soft. Our main concern is not concentrating on strikes We want to take the fight to the ground. There fore we get a lot less injuries. We want to take the fight to the ground.

11) In brazil, I hear that at times one guy approaches another and they just decide to fight right there for no reason. Or is it not personal?

Yes, as far as Jiu-Jitsu guys, they respect each other a lot. When they fight against each other, it becomes a big mess. In Brazil there are many fights between many different styles. When it comes time for a Jiu-Jitsu tournament there are a lot of problems. That’s why I feel that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu isn’t included in the Olympics. The organization is real, real bad, but we are trying to change that here in the US.

12) Would you feel disrespected if someone came to your school and asked youto fight? That’s actually happened a lot of times. In the beginning when I opened up the school, I wasn’t too well known so I had to do some challenge matches to prove myself so I no longer have to do it. Unless someone does it professionally, we close the doors, and the winner keeps the money and the videotape.

13) I understand that in BJJ tournaments, leg locks are prohibited, is this true for all sport BJJ tournaments? What do you think about this? I heard that leg locks are your specialty.

Yeah, in Brazil, leglocks are only used when you have no other option. It’s kind of a cheap way of winning. Also, when in a leg lock, people don’t like to tap and end up getting hurt while rolling around looking for an escape. I do teach it to my students to let them no that it exists. I teach them to be aware of it’s great effectiveness. But if your in a tournament and you go for the ankle locks, people don’t like to see it. They will boo you. Leg locks are not my specialty, the media got that idea because I did an article about leg locks while none of the other Brazilians had done it before.

14) Tell me about your training regimen. Do you lift weights? Swim, or go you just do free-sparring?

I don’t lift weights. I have weights here in the school for my students to use. With weights you become tight. I like using my own weight when working out such as push-ups. I also swim and jog a lot. It is more natural.

15) How many hours a day do you spar?

I spar everyday with the class. I spar about 3 hours a day.

16) Can you tell me what your favorite submission hold is if you have one?

The triangle choke.

17) What is your relationship with the Gracie family?

I talk with them once in a while at tournaments. They should be given a lot of credit for bringing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu here in the US. I like Royce a lot. He’s a real nice guy.

18) Is there competition between schools?

Yeah, I think so. Everyone wants to be the best. I have no problem with that. If they come here they are all welcome.

19) The Gracie’s have been getting some bad publicity lately, what do you think?

Well, I believe there are some inside problems within the two sides of the Gracie family. Rorian brought Jiu-Jitsu here and he opened all the doors here for everyone else. We (all Brazilians) all should appreciate that. Even if he doesn’t want none of us here.

20) What do you think of all of these challenges BJJ stylists are making towards each other? Sperry vs. Gracie, Goes vs. Renzo?

I don’t think Royce is the type of guy to start something like that. Royce doesn’t need that. Once again, I think that the organization in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu isn’t too good. Guys like Goes, they are just trying to promote themselves using a guy like Renzo. You cant compare Renzo with Goes, it is a joke.

21) What do you think about all the legal problems that NHB event promoters are having putting on NHB events in the US?

I see nothing wrong with it. It’s on PPV. If you don’t want kids watching it then you should have that control of it. In my opinion Boxing if much more violent then NHB. In Boxing there are a lot of injuries, but in NHB you can always tap out. They know their limits.

22) Who is the best fighter you have ever seen in action?

Rickson Gracie is the best.

23) Have you seen him fight?

Yes, many, many times. If you doubt him, go ahead and give him a call and he’ll show you. I like Rickson a lot. He is well respected in Brazil and he has done so much for the art. He’s accomplished more in his career than anyone else will ever do in there life in Jiu-Jitsu. All the people should have a lot of respect for him and for what he’s done.

24)Have you been teaching any fighters who may be competing/or have competed in these No Rule style events? Any to look for?

I did train UFC fighter Mark Hall for a previous UFC and I told him to go to the ground and do exactly what I told him to do, he did it and won. But then there became problems with his Moo yea Do instructor.

25) What are your thoughts on women participating in Vale Tudo events?

I don’t like that. I feel that women should stick with there women stuff. Some things were made for women and some for men.

26)Have you been approached by the UFC, EFC, or any Vale Tudo Promoters to fight in a NHB event, or are your fighting days over?

I haven’t ever fought on TV, but it looks like I may be fighting in one of the following Extreme Fighting Shows. I feel that the money some of these fighters are getting paid is ridiculous. I believe that my friend, Amaury Bitteti was paid only $5,000 for his fight. He’s one of the top Brazilian fighters, but he was in bad shape. He was sick with the flu and never should have competed

27) What is a typical class like for your students?

Each class is 90 minutes long. We do 30 minutes of warming up and stretching, then 30 more minutes of teaching techniques, and finally 30 minutes of sparring. I also spar with the students in class.

29) Do you encourage your students to fight w/o a gi sometimes?

Yes, it’s important to know how to fight with or without the gi, but fighting without the gi is more advanced. Beginners use the gi’s because it is easier to balance yourself and move. You must go step be step

30) Do you stress safety when you teach your students?

I pay attention when my students are sparring. I never let go to sleep. I let them know that there is nothing wrong with tapping out. You must learn, losing is a way to learn.

31) Who else instructs here at your school?

Betiss Manssouni is my purple belt instructor and also Roger Adez, who won at the Pan American Games

32) In such traditional styles such as Karate and TKD, it seems as if you can only learn so much? You eventually run out of katas and forms, this leads to crosstraining in the martial arts. Do you feel that BJJ is a complete enough art that there is no need to cross train?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is about 2,000 years old. In Karate they use points and katas but on the street it is totally different. What you learn in Jiu-Jitsu you will use on the street. In most of the other styles, it’s more like a sport. There are many guys who have never been hit before. In those katas I feel that’s it’s more like sport. If you want to learn how to really fight you take Jiu-Jitsu. I don’t put other styles down because most styles are parts of other styles. But you must learn how to fight on the ground or else you will be stuck. I think that NHB shows such as the UFC and EFC are a good example of how often fights go to the ground. It is a fact that 95% of fight do go down to the ground. How often do you see a clinch in a Boxing match?

33) What are you trying to accomplish by teaching others BJJ?

I’m doing a lot of seminars and I’m planning on expanding my schools. I have two schools now and am planning on opening one in New York. I want to make sure that the quality of teaching stays the same

34) Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years? How about BJJ in 10 years?

I want to do NHB fighting, probably in Extreme Fighting. Also I’m enjoying the seminars I’m doing. I’m glad to represent Jiu-Jitsu in the U.S., and I’m glad to be able to share this most complete style with the American public.

For information on Pedro Carvalho seminars or classes call (909) 987-2509 Rancho Cucamonga, California(213) 237-0559To order Pedro Carvalho’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructional VideosCall 800-682-9842

Interview conducted by Ryan Apolinario w/ assistance from Holden Williams and Anthony Montesa.

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Ryan Apolinario