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Rodrigo Cabral Interview

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Rodrigo Cabral

A good friend of BJJ Heroes, Rodrigo Cabral “Brucutu” has moved toTexas, US recently where he has been coaching is awesome Jiu Jitsu (at John’s Gym). We got together with the Alliance black belt and asked him a few questions, not only about his recent move, but also about some current issues as gym affiliation and fighters switching camps.

Rodrigo Cabral: “(some) teams are not concerned whether the student is going to have proper instruction or not, they are solely interested in earning money”

BH: You were recently in Russia, opening the very first Alliance affiliate academy in the eastern European country. How was that experience?

RC: It was an amazing experience, such a different culture from ours, I really enjoyed it and I managed to make great friendships.

BH: You left your good friend Guga (Luis Gustavo) coaching there. Is that the idea behind the Russian branch, keep bringing different black belts to teach there for a certain period, or is Guga staying for good?

RC: The initial idea was that I would stay for 3 months and Guga for another 3, and we would swap between us, but I received a job offer to come and coach here in Austin Texas, and I am married now, so it is hard to stay 3 months away from my family.

BH: Tell me more about this Texas Academy, how the opportunity present itself to you?

RC: Well, this academy was an affiliate of Robert Drysdale, the former coach here was John, a purple belt under Robert, he asked Robert if he could point out a good black belt to coach there. Robert called me and asked if I was interested in coming to the US and I said yes. John got in contact with me and here I am!

BH: So, as you are an Alliance team member and Drysdale is not, did that cause any sort of distress between you and your master, Gigi (Alexandre Paiva)?

RC: No, no problem whatsoever… Before I left Brazil I had a good talk with Gigi and I explained the whole situation. He agreed without hesitating, and thought it was a great opportunity for me. Gigi has an open mind; he gave me a lot of support.

BH: That’s great! Why do you think Jiu Jitsu has such a strong sense of team, of belonging and honoring your team. Many believe that it is a one on one sport and that the team is not of great relevance. How do you see that?

I think that having a strong sense of team and camaraderie is very important. When you fight on the mats, you are not alone, all those people that helped you train give you a lot of positive energy… But I think it is wrong when you have to stop training with a friend just because he trains at a different academy. We should take the example of Judo and bring it over to BJJ, they do exchanges of athletes, even amongst countries. This would really help the sport grow.

BH: Still on the teams subject of teams, how do you see this sudden outburst of academies affiliating themselves to big teams just to have their name on the door, when in reality many times the coaches have never even stepped into the headquarters or been taught by team members?

RC: This is really sad, because these teams are not concerned whether the student is going to have proper instruction or not, they are solely interested in earning money, and with that the Jiu Jitsu level free falls. I think there needs to be a method in teaching, but like every other profession, there will be very good people at their job and very bad bad ones too… The biggest losers here are the students.

BH: Back to your new academy, how have you been adapting yourself to Texas and how is the level of BJJ there?

RC: Man, I really like it here! The city is super quiet and calm, but I haven’t had the opportunity of seeing any competitions.

BH: You told me before that you will be fighting at the Pan Ams, where will you be doing your preparation? Is there people to train with over there?

RC: I am just training with my students, and I will probably stay 10 days doing Drysdale’s camp beforehand in Vegas.

BH: What is the address of your new Gym and how can you be reached?

The address is:

John’s Gym
11416 FM 620 North, Suite A
Austin, TX 78726
(512) 547-6739


  • Charles Dortch says:

    I love having Rodrigo at the gym here in Austin he is awesome. We had a great teacher in John who is a purple belt but seeing what Rodrigo is teaching has made everyone in the gym just that much better. His white belts are really good and his blue belts are on par with other gyms purple belts. Rodrigo is always a class act and him coming to John's Gym in Austin, Texas has really made Austin the best place in the state to train for BJJ.

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