Professor Bruno Alves has dedicated 26 years of his life to going after what he wants and helping countless others do the same. When you speak to Professor Alves, you feel that he was meant to go the distance as a BJJ practitioner. You can sense that he takes immense pride in building upon the GFT family legacy.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paula Coelho de Souza
Bruno Alves grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At 13 years old, he started on the path that has brought him an unquantifiable level of joy and accomplishment.
2020 brought a plethora of changes to the world as we know it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new normal led to a sit down with Professor Alves about where he started from and the road ahead.
BJJL: Why did you start training in BJJ?
Professor Bruno Alves: As a babysitter, an aunt paid for the gym so I could take my younger cousin to training.
BJJL: What is the main difference between Fadda’s BJJ style and Gracie’s BJJ style?
Professor Bruno Alves: I think there is no difference. There is an evolution of Jiu-Jitsu from then to today. The Gracie’s are the most talked about when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu and competition but the Gracie and Fadda style is the same. Both come from Luis Franca. There is no difference.
BJJL: You have been with GFTeam since you started training. What keeps you loyal to the GFTeam family?
Professor Bruno Alves: Yes. I started with GFTeam. My teachers are the founders of the team Julius Caesar, Marcus Bello, and Alexandre Barauna. What keeps me loyal, I can say that it is all the happy moments and everything I have learned with my teachers. I try to pass on all these teachings to my students. This is what a family is like to me and I will never forget the real meaning of the word family!
BJJL: How did it feel when you finally received your black belt?
Professor Bruno Alves: When I received my black belt, it was the realization of a dream, but I felt like I was starting all over again. I began to take on more responsibility. I knew some looked at me differently. They deserve something more, my best once I became their professor. It was very scary! Today I am a 4th-degree black belt, and I am still learning!
BJJL: GFTeam continues to expand throughout Texas (GFTeam San Antonio opened on 7 September 2020). What role have you played in that expansion?
Professor Bruno Alves: GFTeam will never stop growing in Texas or the rest of the world. I am incredibly happy to be one of the pioneers of that growth. GFTeam Texas is in Houston, Galveston, Dallas, and San Antonio, where I live. Our next step will be a GFTeam in Austin, a place I like very much. I arrived in San Antonio 10 years ago and have helped many athletes to win the long-dreamed-of IBJJF world champion title and spread the GFTeam philosophy.
BJJL: GFTeam has some big names that have transitioned into MMA. Are any of your GFTeam students planning to transition into MMA?
Professor Bruno Alves: GFTeam has great athletes that have made the transition to MMA. Rodolfo Vieira and Washington Luis are a few. Next on the list will be Ricardo Evangelista, who now lives in Texas and plans to debut in MMA soon!
BJJL: How do you encourage, prepare, and support your students as they continue to master each level of their training?
Professor Bruno Alves: I always try to respect my students’ will. I show them that mastering each phase of training will not be easy, but if you keep going, you will succeed. I will always be there to give them my best. I am dedicated to helping my students reach their goals.
BJJL: Would you like to see BJJ competitions return to submission only?
Professor Bruno Alves: No, I do not believe championships should have only submissions because fights would take too long. I imagine a 40-minute fight would not be good to watch.
BJJL: What attributes do you consider a well-rounded practitioner should have?
Professor Bruno Alves: An athlete must first have respect and discipline, especially respect for your body.
BJJL: How many IBJJF tournaments do you train your students for each year?
Professor Bruno Alves: Normally, I train my students for all IBJJF tournaments in Texas, the Pan American Championships, World, and American Nationals. They are the main ones for our group.
BJJL: You are the head Professor at the newest GFT gym in San Antonio, Texas. How has COVID-19 impacted your ability to train your students?
Professor Bruno Alves: Yes, today I am an advisor to GFTeam Texas. Two of my students (GFTeam black belt world champions) Mike and Emma Martinez decided to open the first GFTeam gym in San Antonio. I am honored to be helping them on this new journey. The COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy for anyone. Still, we are trying to get back to life as normal as possible with all the necessary precautions.
BJJL: Do you have any plans to prepare any students for Abu Dhabi in the next year or so?
Professor Bruno Alves: We are always prepared for the biggest tournaments. We are planning to send some of our best athletes to Abu Dhabi next year (Josh Lopes and Daniele Walker). Now we need to wait for the new tournament calendar and adjust more to the new normal with COVID-19 restrictions.
BJJL: Do you plan on competing in any IBJJF tournaments this year?
Professor Bruno Alves: Just like my students, I am always prepared to do my best during IBJJF championships. This year I hope to fight during Worlds and Pans. Unfortunately, I could not fight last year.
BJJL: How does GFTeam Texas collaborate with each other with cross-training?
Professor Bruno Alves: GFTeam Texas has a lot of deeply knowledgeable black belts, with more than 20 years of Jiu-Jitsu experience and lots of information to share. We always try to train and visit each other’s GFTeam gyms to train or go to seminars for crosstalk.
We pass valuable information to each other.
BJJL: What are your long-term goals for GFTeam San Antonio?
Professor Bruno Alves: Our long-term goals are to use Jiu-Jitsu to improve people’s lives the way that I feel that it improved my life. Today and moving forward, I will try to help many people with Jiu-Jitsu to change their lives. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to change lives.
BJJL: What are your long-term goals?
Professor Bruno Alves: My goal is to stay active, compete, train, teach, and share this passion I have for Jiu-Jitsu. I want to affect more people, to get more people to understand the true art of Jiu-Jitsu. I think everyone should try Jiu-Jitsu at least once in their life!
BJJL: Is there anyone you want to thank for helping you get to where you are today?
Professor Bruno Alves: First, my teachers, for all they have taught me:
Julio Cesar and Alexandre Barauna. My utmost respect to these guys, I try to repay everything they did for me! I also want to thank all my students who believed in a dream! THANK YOU!!!!!!!
A pandemic in 2020 did not keep GFTeam from forging ahead and becoming an even more formidable powerhouse in the BJJ community. 2021 looks to be the beginning of another promising year for Professor Bruno Alves and the GFTeam Family. GFT, Nao Para!
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
By: Deneatra M. Terry
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