SOUTH FLORIDA REVIEW BLOG
South Florida's Source For Local Happenings
SOUTH FLORIDA REVIEW BLOG
South Florida's Source For Local Happenings
One might think Jiu Jitsu requires aggression or brute force, but it actually incorporates a combat sport system that promotes the concept of a smaller or more fragile person being able to defend against a larger, heavier person by using certain techniques and leverage. Carlos shows us that anyone who is willing and open to learn, can be successful in Jiu Jitsu.
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I had already done a lot of Jiu Jitsu and was thinking maybe I want to do something else. My professor kept hitting me up saying, “Ask Juan if he still has the mats upstairs”. Juan is the owner of this building. He kept asking me and I really didn’t want to at all, because I wanted to try something new. I wanted to box maybe or do judo. He kept insisting and of course, that’s my professor and I want to help him out. I asked Juan and he was like, “Yeah, sure come on in”. So, I came in.
I had a big folder of how I want my school to be in the future. It was just something that I put together when I had time, like on Sundays and if I was bored, after asking myself “what would I want my school to be like”? I wrote it and put it in my folder, then tucked it in my closet and the opportunity came up. After taking out my folder, I opened it and thought that maybe Juan would like it. So, I showed it to him and he took out his big red pen and he was said, “This ain’t going to work, this is not going to work, this will work – but we might have to do it like this, etc.”
He mentored me all the way through, for a year and a half. Then it was like he opened the cage and said, “Okay you’re free now. You have to do this on your own.” Now I fully own the school; it’s mine. I just pay him rent because he owns the building. Without him, I wouldn’t be in this position right now.
Carlos: Yeah, they did! Marcelo – who’s my professor, contacted Juan and said that I was a good instructor and a good kid, that I’m a hustler ... I guess Juan saw a little bit of him in me and he gave me a chance. I was only 22 years old. I had barely graduated from college.
Interviewer: What did you graduate in?
Carlos: Video production. I went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
I looked at most of the local schools here, in Miami and South Florida and a lot of people rejected me. I was considering Nova União brown belt which is a school – it’s an affiliation. I looked at all the Nova União schools around here and the closest one that was actually reputable, was in Tampa. It’s under a guy named Robson Moura (pronounced “Hobson”).
I had nothing to do, so I was getting bored and getting into too much trouble. I kept telling myself that I needed to discipline myself like I did in wrestling.
In wrestling you wake up, you eat, you wrestle, you go to sleep. Nothing else distracted me; no games, no girls, nothing – just wrestling which was my life.
When I graduated high school, I didn’t want to wrestle in college. So, I was driving down US-1 and saw this same building, and it said “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”. I thought “that’s kind of close to wrestling”. January 10th, 2010 is when I first started Jiu Jitsu.
Interviewer: How old were you?
Carlos: I was eighteen. I didn’t stop training until – well, I’m still training now – but I didn’t stop until I opened this school and I became a teacher in 2014 of August. So, five or six years of training Jiu Jitsu as a student and then the last three years, I’ve been a teacher.
Interviewer: So, is this like a dream come true for you?
Carlos: In a way, yeah – it kind of happened out of nowhere. I was working in the kitchen as a cook. Since I was sixteen years old, I’ve had over 20 jobs. I couldn’t keep a job longer than three to eight months. I was just bouncing around trying to find work.
Interviewer: At least you had a job at sixteen!
Carlos: Yeah, I got lucky. I was cleaning school buses. I had an opportunity in my high school. They thought I was going to drop-out so they offered me a job and money as an incentive not to drop out and graduate.
But asking friends that I had been training with for years; friends that were just training partners – now that I was a business owner/teacher, I had to charge them. It was very hard for me to do that.
I would talk to Juan about it and he asked me, “How are you going to eat? How are you going to pay your bills? This is your livelihood now, this is your job, this is how you get paid!”
He just kept drilling that into my head until one day I decided, “you know what, this is my job!
They should be happy to be paying me because this is what I need to survive. I don’t drive a Rolls Royce, I don’t buy fancy clothes, etc. I live within my means” Just asking for what I deserved – what I valued myself for was super important.
So that was a very big curve that I had to learn. Now I don’t care; I just say it. If someone comes to me complaining that another guy charges less, I tell them “Okay, then go over there. This is what I’m worth. If that’s not what you want to pay me, that’s fine”.
He’s amazing – he’s a coral belt, which means he’s been a black belt for about twenty years. I can’t compete with that first of all. He was a black belt when I was born. He has black belt under him, a plethora of students and people go to that school because of that. The difference between me and him and I may be wrong – I don’t know but, is the way I see Jiu Jitsu is like, “it’s Jiu Jitsu”. It’s not a team thing.
A lot of Jiu Jitsu instructors don’t want you to train somewhere else. I’m different in that, you can train with me and if you want to train at Rollyson, go and train there. I want you to train there. Then you can come back and show me something or show somebody something, because it’s Jiu Jitsu. It’s not Professor Rollyson and Team Alliance versus Professor Carlos at Robson Moura. It’s not like that. It’s Jiu Jitsu!
So, I welcome anybody from any school. I love to learn from my students – even the blue belts, my white belts, purple belts – they teach me and I teach them, and that’s what I feel makes me different. I’m also very young and still learning.
As long as I’m still learning, my students will continue to learn. But once I stop and say, “I’m a black belt, I don’t need to learn anymore,” that’s when everybody stops learning. They are looking up to me to learn. If I’m not progressing, they won’t progress. They’re just going to progress as far as I have and then they’ll just plateau exactly where I plateau. We’re climbing together. I think that’s what makes me different from a lot of other schools. A lot of the schools are old school. I’m very new school, very laid back, chill – I don’t care.
Again, I’m still young and still growing in this sport and as a business, so it’s not my main focus. I do push my students to compete at least once in their life so they can understand the mental obstacle that they have to go through in order to compete. It’s a huge scary feeling to go up against somebody that you have no idea what their name is, what they do in their lives, what they know in Jiu Jitsu … then you shake their hands and you’re told, “Fight!” Then all of a sudden, you’re fighting. I won’t relate it to going to war but it’s very intense. It’s a mental battle that every student or every competitor will go through once in their life when they compete. It’s about getting them out of their comfort zone.
Interviewer: What’s the number one way you currently bring in more customers?
Carlos: Most of my advertising is organic. I haven’t really gotten into paid advertising. I don’t like to do that as much because it makes me look like everybody else. I don’t want to look like everybody else. I want to be different. I don’t want to push Jiu Jitsu into people’s faces. I want my students to take pictures of themselves training, their stripe that they just got promoted – their belt and have them speak for me. That holds much more value than me saying, “Try Jiu Jitsu for a week – it’s a great Jiu Jitsu – I’ve got the best Jiu Jitsu in South Florida …”
Interviewer: What are you short term – six months to a year goals?
Carlos: I want to have 100 students by the end of this year.
Interviewer: How are you going to do that?
Carlos: I’ve got to advertise now. My goal is to get my students to advertise for me. I'll use incentives for my students to make referrals. That way they’re doing it for me and I don’t have to do it for myself. I’m also working on updating my website.
I am also trying to keep my Jiu Jitsu fresh by changing up the routine because people get bored. When I was training, it was important to have a routine because it teaches you discipline and how to do the technique properly. However, with my older students I have to switch it around a little bit because they have the technique down and it’s time to work on different techniques. That’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks. Changing the flow – and it’s making them attend more. Instead of coming in a little bit later or skipping class, they actually want to come in and see what I have for them. So, every day is something new. I keep it fresh.
Interviewer: Is there anything you’d like your community to know?
Carlos: I am here.
Interviewer: How does Jiu Jitsu change lives?
Carlos: I’ll tell you for kids, teenagers and adults – everybody changes differently. For kids, they understand respect and discipline. They understand that they have to bow before they step on my mat. Before they speak to me they have to say, “Coach, Sir, or Professor”. They have to take care of their belongings. I ask the parents to teach and have their kids wash their kimonos. The kids need to be responsible for their gear, so they have at least some sort of responsibility. I don’t know what they do at home but I have some sort of control here. So, I tell them they have to take care of their own gis. That means they have to wash them, hang them and make sure they smell clean. There’s only one thing they have to take care of and I’m pretty sure they can do it. I see my students folding their gis at the end of every class, they bow and say “thank you Sir, we loved the class”. It builds a lot of confidence too – especially in my young ones. The youngest ones learn how to just sit patiently and be still for a few minutes. It goes a long way.
For teenagers, they learn how to keep their egos in check. They learn to be respectful. I let them know I’m their buddy but I’m also their coach.
End of interview.
For more information about South Florida ATP Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, visit their Facebook page:
or their physical location at:
ATP Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,
714 S Federal Hwy,
Dania Beach, FL 33004
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