Take a minute to read about one of the most controversial figures in BJJ, Caio Terra. Just like Frank Sinatra, he has carved an extraordinarily unique path by doing things his way.
Caio Terra's standing denotes him as one of the most prolific rooster weight grapplers in BJJ. Terra, (unlike many of his lightweight counterparts) competes in absolute divisions and has noteworthy victories against black belts twice his size in Gi and No Gi competitions. He is known for his sweeps and back takes (more than most lightweight grapplers) as well as, for his triangle, armbar, and omoplata attacks from the bottom. Terra is one of the best in the game today for a plethora of reasons and his half-guard game is undeniable and studied by the masses. BJJLegends sits with Terra to talk about his success and why being a professor has become the most important thing to him.
“The will to conquer is the first condition of victory”-Ferdinand Foch
As a kid growing up, Caio Terra was led to the sport of BJJ by his mother as a method of self defense that has led to a life long passion. In 2015 the Caio Terra Association had a very prominent year. 8 top male No Gi Grapplers competed for $17,500 in prize money at 5 Super League August 2, 2015. Yuri Simoes of Caio Terra Association was one of the competitors.
Kaniela Kahanui is the talented Cal State East Bay linebacker that also dominates in BJJ, he is one to continue to watch. Terra's gym has a growing list of talent to look for in the coming years in Paulo Gabriel, Ryan Walsh, Rudson Mateus, Benjamin Silva, etc. When it comes to grappling Gi or No Gi, it is a point of preference in and BJJ. “Grappling” describes techniques that use holds and leverage, such as clinches, escapes, pins controlling skills, sweeps, submission holds, reversals, takedowns, throws and turnovers. Terra has proven time and time again that skill not size is the most important thing when it comes to grappling and he is a consistent performer in open divisions in both Gi and No Gi competitions.
“Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate.”-William Arthur Ward. Over the last 5 years the evolution of Terra's game is part of a natural order. Terra believes the more you know about Jiu-Jitsu, the more ideas you will have to create with and the more you will continue to adapt. Training and attending classes is how you consistently improve according to Terra, competition helps you feel a different experience and deal with scenarios and emotions you won't get to experience in a gym setting. Technique is key, "without good technique you can only go so far, you will never reach your full potential, and that goes for everything you do in life. However, if you are happy with what you do, there is never a plateau."
Terra is well known for teaching and competing in the BJJ world. He also is also a philanthropist, the Godfather of a social project in Brazil, Leoes de Juda. Founded on April 24, 2009 by Thiago Dias (head of Caio Terra Association Brazil) and Fernando Halfeld, Leoes de Juda is located in Juiz de Fora. Through Jiu Jitsu it is their hope to instill discipline, ethics, respect and a love for their communities. Integrating sport with religion, it is their mission to help the youth deal with daily problems they face such as violence and drugs. To participate in the youth project, the students must be properly enrolled in school and make good grades. More important than how they behave on the mats is how they behave off. http://www.ctbjja.com/leoes-de-juda/
Injuries of any kind are a challenge for a consistent competitor. Delays in training and training setbacks detract from a routine, and when you are the Professor the pressure to be present for your students can be overwhelming. Terra suffers from chronic headaches/migraines, instructing under those circumstances would be impractical. "Training with a headache is never as fun, but my biggest problem is that when I do so I start having vertigo and it's impossible to train or do anything with vertigo. I started having them in the end of 2013 and nowadays I can control it better, unfortunately I have to stop training immediately so my symptoms don't get worse."
The issue of equal pay became a very hot topic in BJJ and more people seem to have an actual opinion on it. Well Terra thinks the issue is less about equal and about getting paid period. The thought that one can live off only training and tournment money in his opinion is not realistic and not a good retirment plan. So the question is now should people be talking about equal pay or a 401K? If you are training and traveling and you really think of how a 9 to 5 works Terra has a point, how much are you worth? You are doing what you love but people that do what they love still get reasonable benefits including healthcare and a retirement plan.
The Caio Terra Associationis successful and Terra has created a very close knit organization where he can remain connected to his people. "Jiu-jitsu was very hard for me, I was too small and things never went my way when I first started. There is nothing good about being a bad loser. So my greatest achievement is that I persisted through hard times and didn't quit BJJ. I want to create a really good gym, not just BJJ wise but with only good people in it, where everyday I'm happy to go to work."
As the new year begins many already have set goals in mind and it is easy to get tunnel vision. Hopefully, people are looking toward a bigger picture and no matter how things pan out in a season, the journey will get you to where you ultimately want to be. Caio Terra is making sure that his ultimate goal is realized, “going into 2015 No Gi Worlds from the outside everything looked the same but for me it was completely different. As we were training I looked at our team and saw in their eyes the same dreams I had when I was younger, to be a champion. 2015 was a defining year in my life, I realized that although I like to compete I like coaching more, because I love our team.”
“One can easily forget his destination when walking in a marvelous path towards his destination! The attraction of the path can be much stronger than the attraction of the target!” –Mehmet Murat Ildan
Snappy interview with Patches O’Toole owner Aengus Ryan, we have a chat about the brand, what the thinking was behind it and what are the plans for the future.
Those of you with an ear to the ground for the latest BJJ gear offerings may have heard of a new name popping up lately, that of Patches O’Toole. Patches O’Toole dropped onto the BJJ gear scene at the start of 2014 with a range of gi patches, quite unlike anything on the market. Some were reminiscent of old style tattoos, some focused on hand drawn lettering, whatever the style, they were pretty awesome.
Other than the cool designs, the one thing that stands out with these patches is the quality. All of the patches are embroidered, to the highest standard. The great thing about this is that they will last for years. Many of the printed patches I’ve had during my time doing Jiu-Jitsu have worn with the constant friction from the mats. This should not be a factor with these one’s as there is no print to rub off. Patches O’Toole are so confident with the quality that they have a 3 year warranty on all of their patches, which is saying something. The shipping is also free on all patches which is cool, as no one enjoys getting hit with shipping costs as they reach checkout.
Hey Aengus, so can you tell us a bit about where Patches O’Toole came from and what’s with the weird name?
Lol, sure. I’ve been playing BJJ for a good few years now and like most of your readers, would consider it my passion. I’ve always wanted to help to promote the sport somehow but was never quite sure how I could contribute. I’m a graphic designer by trade, so one day I thought of the notion of combining the two things I spend most of my time doing. It was a kind of marriage made in heaven type affair, getting to produce things that people enjoy while doing what I love, so I’m pretty pleased with how things are going.
The name is an odd one, I agree. Bit of a mixed story as to where it came from. Myself and my wife used to have a goldfish called Patches O’Toole that had a few white patches on him. Why we added the O’Toole bit – who knows, I think it was just to add an Irish twist to it. Some people think it’s from the dodgeball character, but that dude was Patches O'Houlihan, lol.
In terms of BJJ players out there, who would be some of your favorites?
I’m not really a fan of a lot of the more recent BJJ styles, the 50/50 or the sitting on your butt double guard pulling shenanigans. It’s not exciting and while it’s clearly very technical, it’s boring to watch. Guys like Galvao and Braulio Estima are cool, really exciting Jiu-Jitsu, which is great from a spectator point of view. I used to love Roger Gracie’s total top domination and how Jacare would incorporate Judo. An epic throw is infinitely more exciting to watch than two dudes scissor banging each other.
Would you like to end up sponsoring any of those guys?
For sure, that would be awesome. We only got going in January so I think that’s a way off, but certainly something to work towards. I’m a big believer in building from grass roots, so looking after local tournaments is something I will be looking to in the future, build things up slowly and help contribute to the local scene. We can’t all go all in straight to the top, there are valuable lessons to be learned by building a business up one step at a time.
So have you found the BJJ community responsive to the Patches O’Toole designs?
Yes indeed, those who like what we do have been great and I’m extremely grateful to them. Ours is a very niche sport in the grand scheme of things and the BJJ community is always great at getting behind our own and helping out. Of course the designs aren’t to everyone’s liking, but hey, they are artistic and styles of art please one person more than the other, it’s would be boring if everyone liked just one brand or listened to one type of music. Our personal tastes and individuality are great.
So what can we look forward to from you guys in the future?
I have a few ideas for some patches I would like to bring out, along with one for kids which quite a few people have been requesting. Some stuff for the ladies only would be good and I have also started kicking around some ideas for a rash guard. The rashie would need to be pretty epic, so that’s something I want to sit on for a while to make sure it’s just right before I release it.
Is there anyone in particular you would love to train with?
I’ve always wanted to go train with Saulo Ribeiro, I think his Jiu-Jitsu is so solid and his teaching style so easy to learn that I couldn’t help but pick up lots. Fabio Gurgel and Caio Terra are others that stand out too. Any of Caio’s instructionals I’ve watched have been very easy to learn from and I’ve always thought being excellent at conveying how to do things displays a deep understanding of the art.
Thanks for the chat Aengus & we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from Patches O’Toole.
Known as The People's Champion in his grappling residence of Northern California Manny Diaz has been living out a lifelong dream that this ever growing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practice has given him. Currently training under BJJ World Champion Caio Terra his new venture as a brown belt has presented a new set of challenges that came with his newly acquired rank. Nevertheless with challenges also presents opportunity which has allowed Diaz to keep moving with each BEAT to smashing all obstacles that stand in the way of reaching his ultimate goal. Manny Diaz recently spoke with us at BJJ Legends as he opens about his training philosophy, current brown belt venture, and his future goals in giving back to the community that has given so much to him.
What does becoming a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu signifying for Manny Diaz? Manny Diaz: At my age I’ve been living a dream. I never thought that I would be competing at such a high level. Brown to me is just as important as black, It’s the stage of refinement before the highest level. Can’t cut any corners, you have to put in the time and work hard if you truly want to be at the top.
How do you currently feel at this belt level? Manny Diaz: At first I was scared but I really feel my game changing at brown. It has all to do with the possibilities of submissions with leg locks and the other things it opens up because of it. I’m eager to learn and even more eager to compete.
What are some of the new challenges and goals you have set out for yourself as a brown belt? Manny Diaz: Ultimately being the brown belt world champion, there are many tournaments that are great and I would love to win but none to me are greater than the world championships. I don’t think I can set a higher goal other than winning the open class title along with it. I’m not greedy and would gladly take the win at weight, besides I need to let the other guys have a chance to win too right… LOL
Overview In the words of the man himself, “Modern Jiu Jitsu, as my DVD illustrates, isn’t new jiu jitsu just a better way to do the things we have always been doing. We aren’t reinventing the wheel, we are using better application of technique to make the wheel better.” Caio Terra
Caio Terra’s Modern Jiu Jitsu series was released in early 2012 to almost universal praise (also here). The set is available as 4 DVDs or 8 apps from iTunes and is available at Mobile Black Belt. This set has already gained the reputation as a go to instructional for beginner to intermediate practitioners. The combination of stunning visuals, first-rate audio and expert instruction ensures that this set will stand the test of time. In this article, I’ll be covering the entire set. Included will be my easy to follow mindmaps (flow charts) that can be downloaded from a link at the end of the article.
In this part of our series exploring and charting Caio Terra’s Modern Jiu Jitsu series we will be focusing on his instruction regarding the Butterfly guard, standing passes and takedowns. These sections are available as Apps (Butterfly guard and Guard Pass/Takedowns) directly from ITunes for all your Apple devices. This information is also contained in the 3rd DVD in the Modern Jiu Jitsu set. If you haven’t already seen them please take a few minutes to check out our breakdowns for the Closed Guard, the Mount and Turtle/Back series.
I won’t go into too much detail on the quality of instruction (excellent), the audience (white/blue belts) or production value (excellent) because those aspects of the set have been covered in our previous reviews. So, straight to the meat of it…
“Modern Jiu Jitsu, as my DVD illustrates, isn’t new jiu jitsu just a better way to do the things we have always been doing. We aren’t reinventing the wheel, we are using better application of technique to make the wheel better.” Caio Terra
In part two of our series exploring and charting Caio Terra’s Modern Jiu Jitsu series we will be focusing on his instruction regarding the Mount position. This section is available as an App directly from ITunes for all your Apple devices. This information is also contained in the first half of the 2nd DVD in the Modern Jiu Jitsu set. If you haven’t already seen it please take a few minutes to check out our review and breakdown of the first two Apps in the series that cover the Closed Guard.
Caio Terra likes sweets. Did you see his Halloween post to Facebook? There's also a youtube video that I thought was a spoof where they pick Caio up from the airport and give him a shopping bag full of candy. After his 30 second win over Fabio Passos at the 2012 No-Gi Worlds BJJ Legends needed to find more about this candy addicted fiend!
In the words of the man himself, “Modern Jiu Jitsu, as my DVD illustrates, isn’t new jiu jitsu just a better way to do the things we have always been doing. We aren’t reinventing the wheel, we are using better application of technique to make the wheel better.” Caio Terra
Caio Terra’s Modern Jiu Jitsu series was released earlier this year to almost universal praise, also here. The set contains 4 discs and covers: closed guard, mount, turtle, back control, butterfly guard, standing passes, takedowns, side control, north-south and half-guard. The full set comes in at just over 5 hours and there are iTunes apps for the Closed Guard, Mount, Turtle and Back. Apps covering the other positions are in production with a release date sometime before Christmas of this year.
Editor's Note: Thank you to the nearly 700 participants in our online steroids study. The data collected was interesting but even more so was the information provided by the black belts and bloggers who answered our more lengthy questionnaire. If the numbers are too much of a bore move on to the Discussion section, read and formulate your own opinion. This topic is so faceted I am looking forward to the discussions still to come.
Some numbers to note: 143 of 690 people said they had used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the past. That is 20%. Demographically, white belts and black belts were the least likely to have used PEDs.
My heartfelt thanks to Matthew Corley for the countless hours and tireless research to produce this paper.
Title: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and the Culture of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs): A Review of Online Survey Data
Author: Matthew Corley,RPh
Abstract: There is a persistent perception in high-level BJJ competitions that many medal winners are using steroids and other PEDs to succeed. This article collates the opinions of nearly 700 BJJ practitioners and provides a detailed breakdown of the opinions of those participants based on their demographics.
Insight from current and former world champions was also solicited for a first-hand perspective on PED usage at the highest level. The bios of the subject matter experts are available by hyperlink at the end of the article under the acknowledgements section.