Footvolley – A Brazil Beach Cross Training Favorite

That Can Take Your Jiu-Jitsu Game to a Completely New Level

We sat down and talked with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Marcelo Cavalcanti about his unconventional form of cross training. 

BJJ LEGENDS: What is Footvolley?  

MARCELO: Footvolley follows the same rules as volleyball.  The only thing is you cannot use your hands or arms.  We 


Footvolley trains balance and coordination

play two on two.  The court is the same size.  Our net is a little lower than the standard volleyball net but it’s basically the same.  The ball is a special ball.  It’s between a soccer ball and volleyball.  It’s made of special material to make the ball bounce a little bit more.  Games go to 18 points.  You have to win by two points.  Usually we go two sets but it’s not official.  In case there’s a tie, we play the third one, like volleyball.


 BJJ: How popular is Footvolley in US/Brazil?

M: In Brazil, it’s very popular like volleyball.  Here in the U.S., you’ll find it more popular and common in major beach cities like LA and Miami.

BJJ: How does Footvolley help Jiu-Jitsu?

M: Footvolley is good for me because I work everything I need in Jiu-Jitsu, I work my balance, my endurance, my patience and pacing, my timing, my cardio and my mental and physical strength. 

You need to have good balance to stay in the center.  It’s not easy; you play the Footvolley in the sand.  The ball is coming

Marcelo Cavalcanti

Marcelo Cavalcanti,

to you and you have to stay in good balance, in good position to return the ball.  In Jiu-Jitsu it’s the same thing.  You need your balance to play in the closed guard or to make a pass.  You have to work the most basic stuff.  Grips, base, good balance, good balance is base.  They are cousins, balance and base.  They work together. 


I say that Footvolley is similar with Jiu-Jitsu, of course, you say it’s different sports.  But take the physical, the practical like in both sports you need to learn to pace yourself.  You have to be patient in the middle of the game to make sure your going to win it.  You have to make a strategy.  You’ve got to wait for the opportunity to execute the position or to get the points.  Footvolley is really good cross training. 


Marcelo Cavalcanti, FootVollye

Marcelo Cavalcanti kicks the ball in Footvolley a Brazilian Beach Favorite

I train Jiu-Jitsu a lot.  Sometimes, people come to me on the mat and they ask me, “How do you train so long?”  I don’t get tired, you know.  Sometimes I just forget the time, that’s why I owe a lot to Footvolley because it made my cardio go like that.  We play Footvolley in the sand.  Not in the hard wet sand but the soft dry sand.  To move in the soft sand you have to do explosion. 


To improve my strength, that a secret.  In Footvolley, you start two-on-two but to increase the level you play one-on-one.  That increases everything because you have to work for yourself and for your missing partner.  You work twice as hard.  In Jiu-Jitsu, you need your strength.  Of course, you also have leverage and angles, that’s the most important.  But Jiu-Jitsu has revolutionized.  Most people are strong, they workout they do weight training.  So you have to work with strength too.  Otherwise, you’re going to get beat up.  That’s why I chose to do one on one in Footvolley on the beach.  That’s very nice.  It’s the best.

BJJ: Are there any famous Jiu-Jitsu players play Footvolley?

M: In Brazil so many Jiu-Jitsu guys play Footvolley.  I have a lot of friends.  Every time I’d go on the beach, the beach was like my team.  Roberto Gordo.  In Jiu-Jitsu he is the best one.  In Footvolley I help him a lot.  He’s doing really good.  Many times me and Gordo play together [as teammates].    Now some guys live over here.  Like Marcos Parrumpinha (American Top Team), Carlson Gracie’s student.   Sometimes your Footvolley teammate was your Jiu-Jitsu opponent.  We did a lot of this back in Brazil. 

In Brazil, a lot of black belts in Jiu-Jitsu play Footvolley because it keeps your cardio up.  Footvolley keeps you in really really good shape.  You work everything, you work your speed, your timing.  Timing to get under the ball.  Timing to control the game.  You also work your endurance and your agility.  Footvolley makes you so agile.  In Jiu-Jitsu, you need all these tools to fight your opponent. 

I just wish we had this kind of sport more consistent over here.  I wish more people practiced. After this interview I hope to see a lot of people show up at Hermosa Beach. 


Location: 8th street & beach, Hermosa Beach, California 

Time: Any Saturday or Sunday in the summer


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