The knight errantFelipe Costa, 28, started practicing Jiu-Jitsu at 12. His passion for the sport came early, but he did not hold a thought of making a living from it. That was until 2003.
article from www.graciemag.com “After I became world champion, things started to change,” said the current Brazilian rooster weight champion. “I started traveling a lot to teach, and now thank God I am able to make a living from the sport – teaching classes, because there is no money in competing; it´s really just for the pleasure of it.”
Felipe´s road to the top was different than that of most world champions. While Ronaldo Jacaré had become a black belt after accumulating world titles from previous belts, Felipe only started winning important titles as a black belt. “I was never a natural Jiu-Jitsu talent,” says the Carioca who also teaches classes with Rodrigo Comprido and Michelle Matta in the Urca neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. “My case makes me happy, as I am hope for all those who are dedicated, but have never won gold at any big competitions. Age and experience are in my favor,” he goes on, adding that he is only one year from fighting in the master category.
One of the athletes that noticed Felipe´s talent was the Spaniard Ezekiel Zayas, owner of the Ases Jiu-Jitsu Academy, in Valencia. A pioneer academy in the city, Ases has around 30 students, both men and women. Zayas trained for two years in Japan, where he got his brown belt. “He invited me to teach a seminar and liked it, and I ended up returning a few times,” recalls Felipe. “I was invited to be the black belt in charge of his academy. He is an excellent and very technical teacher; but, since he is a brown belt and feels he is still an apprentice, he called upon me.” Now, Felipe spends periods of one week teaching at Ases, and is responsible for promoting the students.
Felipe Costa´s wanderings fit like a glove with the GMA. “After Luca [Atalla, GRACIE Magazine´s editor] explained to me how the Association worked, I realized I had the perfect profile to introduce it,” says Felipe. “Right away, I found two places that ended up joining. One as a subscriber, as it is a smaller place, and the other was Ases, in Spain, as an associate. And now, in all the academies I visit, I introduce GMA, and I am sure more associates will pop up. Each new member helps to popularize the sport and attract sponsorship.”
And, speaking of sponsorship, Felipe will need help in trying to repeat the feat of winning the world championship this year. His triumph in his division at the Brasileiro, in May, was not rewarded with a trip to Los Angeles. Any company wanting to stamp their logo on Felipe´s gi may contact him directly at felipe@BrazilianBlackBelt.com
Felipe Costawww.felipecosta.com 55(21) 9404-4567 Come check me out on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/felipecosta Rio de Janeiro, Brasil