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Cassio Cardoso Interview

    Thu, 2006-02-09 02:39 — Denis Martins

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    Note: This interview was done several weeks before the passing of Cassio's master Carlson Gracie

    IN-DEPTH WITH THE SUPERB CARLSON GRACIE TEAM BLACK-BELT, CASSIO CARDOSO Denis Martins: You are a Carlson Gracie black-belt, but did you always train with Carlson? Cassio Cardoso: No, I did not. Actually I started with Rolles Gracie, when a friend of mine named Ricardo Decache took me to his gym; it was when I was around 15-16 years old. I started jiu jitsu because I was a silly guy and everybody on the street beat me, my intention was to defend myself. So stayed with Rolles in 4 mounts; and then I met Carlson, and I identified myself a lot with him. So I became his student and started on the competitions where I only lost once to Marcelo Behring(Rickson's black-belt), after it I beat him and I then was challenged by him to fight a 1 hour match where I overcame him again by 6-2 in the old rules, if it was in the present rules I would have beat him by 18-2 . I beat Carlos Machado twice, Rigan Machado, Alfredo Marques, Pasqual Duarte, Carlos Elias "Caique" twice, Laerte Barcellos (wrestling champion/bjj black-belt), Rolker Gracie and many others. Denis Martins: Did not this change from Rolles' academy to the Carlson's one generate problems? Cassio Cardoso: Rolles had jealousies of it because he knew my potential, even I was just a white-belt. However it was not a betrayal("creontagem"). Denis Martins: Since your beginning, did you always like BJJ? Cassio Cardoso: I fell in love with it since the first contact. I stayed studying just to get a diploma in Physical Education. Denis Martins: Did you know anything about BJJ or fights in general before your first contact? Cassio Cardoso: I did not have any idea of Martial Arts. When my friend Ricardo took me to the academy, I saw a skinny Rolles training and I did not believe he would be the master and how he was submitting everybody. I could not understand that, but I had a passion and I got to make a good career since then. Denis Martins: You told you had passion in first look, but what about your game? Where did you develop better your BJJ? Cassio Cardoso: In the blue belt I won several matches fighting from the bottom, where between several matches I armbared a tough fighter in that period named Nelson Graca-Couto at AABB. But after sometime I realized that I would have to reach a good game on the top too. In my opinion BJJ is a Martial Art that needs to be developed in all aspects and not just in one of them. I had friends from that period that did not think that, they just explored where they were good and nothing more. Nowadays if a MMA fighter goes to fight without know how to make a guard on the ground, he is completely dead. Denis Martins: Carlson team was known such as a team of passing the guard and the game a little more focused on the top. How did the fighters of that period accept your idea of being good on both aspects? Cassio Cardoso: I beat several tough fighters by my game, the youngest competitors and teammates such as Ricardo Dela Riva and Murilo Bustamente followed my advices and my game. I became a kind of right-arm of Carlson. Denis Martins: Were Bustamante and Dela Riva your students? Cassio Cardoso: They were youngest, so I taught them how to teach BJJ. Denis Martins: How do you see the success of these two guys? Cassio Cardoso: This is cool, I feel myself happy because I saw them starting on BJJ and to see them now is gratifying. Denis Martins: Well, they got more recognition than you did. So do you have any frustration about it? Cassio Cardoso: Each one of us had his own good period. Nowadays the BJJ is much more popular than when I started. The MMA grew and BJJ grew too. Denis Martins: In that period that you started on the trainings at Carlson Team, there were several tough fighters there (like Rosenthal, Serginho Niteroi, Fernando Pinduka, Rosado [who beat Rickson on trainings] and Otavio Augusto Peixotinho). Did you look to any of these guys like a fighter to be followed? Cassio Cardoso: My biggest idol and supporter was Peixotinho. He was a fantastic guy at the academy, great competitor and nice person. Sometimes we see guys very good on the academy, but in the competitions they are terrible; I knew several fighters like that; and Peixotinho was complete. Denis Martins: Did you focus your game in any of these top Carlson fighters? Cassio Cardoso: For sure Peixotinho, Pinduka and Redley Vigio, who I would like to thank, he is a great friend. But Peixotinho was a kind of mirror to me, I looked to him and I put my game like his one. Denis Martins: All of these guys were black-belts? Cassio Cardoso: Peixotinho was purple-belt, three times State of Rio de Janeiro champion; Pinduka, and Rosenthal were black-belt. Just to mention a fact of how these guys were tough, Rosenthal got to submit Rosado in one minute in one of those internal tournaments which were usual on that period. Denis Martins: Was your beginning with these guys an easy adaptation? Cassio Cardoso: On reality this was tougher than you can imagine. I was very light, around 65kg, and I sweated a lot to survive between these guys. But I had Carlson at my side who taught me a lot and I learned it with dedication. I watched several tournaments and I collected what existed to better to myself. I competed for 12 years, in championships that were much more interesting than nowadays, because the fighters were looking for the submissions. Denis Martins: Carlson has a usual speech where he named some guys of powerful("poderoso" in Portuguese). Well what does it mean? Cassio Cardoso: Well, it does not mean that the guy is very good. It does mean that the "poderoso" is crazy, and unbalanced mentally!(lol). So to not tell him that he is 100% crazy, Carlson created the world "poderoso"(lol) Denis Martins: So how do you compare the BJJ tournaments of the past with the ones held nowadays? Cassio Cardoso: I think that the BJJ lost the essence of the past. I see the MMA game of a BJJ fighter by weird way. I meant, I watch BJJ fighter in Pride or UFC, reaching several good positions, and then they did not go to the submission or worse, lost the good position. I think it is the result of the BJJ practiced nowadays, where points and advantages are important and can decide a tournament. I am sorry about it, because the essence of the BJJ is the submission. Denis Martins: Is there any hope of changing in the BJJ practiced nowadays? Cassio Cardoso: I believe Carlos Gracie Jr does a good-job in CBJJ, and if the rules change a little, the changes can come. I think the rules are confused. We see Roger Gracie vs. Rolando "Jacare" Santos in the absolute final of last MUNDIAL, and the polemic was established. I think the rules are not clear, and the arbitration stable. Denis Martins: Is this what made your to be so far from BJJ? Cassio Cardoso: What put me so far was the fact I did not have any challenge in my career after the 1 hour fight against Behring. I had beaten a lot of tough fighters, and my probably challenge would be Rickson. We nearly faced each other in an absolute tournament in black-belt, however I got injured on the trainings and I did not take part of it. I would gain weight coached by Carlson to face Rickson. But it happened in same period that Rickson went to America. So I got married and my pace went a little slow into my career. I had an opportunity of fight MMA in Japan, but the fight-money was not good and the rules were not good too. Ands I kept myself since then only teaching BJJ. Denis Martins: Where would this opportunity of fighting MMA be? Cassio Cardoso: I do not remember if it was in RINGS or Pancrase, they had similar rules 11 years ago. I did not have opportunities of fighting MMA like I should have. When an opportunity of fighting in Japan arose, they offered me a low pursue and the rules in 1995 were very weird in my opinion. I do not remember exactly, but I guess if the fighter touched the hopes, the fight was stopped and it would be re-started on the feet. Carlson also did not like this idea and we resolved to not fight. Denis Martins: Any frustration of never making a MMA combat? Cassio Cardoso: I stayed super frustrated. I never proved the taste of a MMA match. So I started teaching BJJ since then. Denis Martins: How did your mind stay when you resolved to make the transitions of competitor to instructor? Cassio Cardoso: I was accomplished in my career; I was on top when I stopped, so I did not miss any glory in my BJJ career. I did not have problems with this transition. I had the worrying of stopping my career when I was very-well, and I got it after my war against Behring. This fight, even nowadays, renders me some recognition, last year I was in eating a pizza in a restaurant and guy come after me to talk that he watched my fight against Behring. This was very good for me. Denis Martins: You talked about teammates' influence into your career. But what about Carlson into your life? Cassio Cardoso: I have a big gratitude to him. He taught me, supported me and guided me in all aspects of my life when I was only a 15 years old teenager. Denis Martins: What can you tell us about your others belts(blue, purple, and brown)? Cassio Cardoso: Thank God I won everything in all belts, I only lost to Behring in black-belt. In brown belt I had excellent matches such as against Caique from Gracie Humaita, who was a man to be beaten due to his victories, and I submitted him in the arm, and later in other competition I submitted him by triangle. In this same day I beat Rigan, who outweighed me by 10kgs, in the absolute, and I beat Carlos Machado too, all of these fights were in brown-belt. Like I mentioned in first answer I had a superb performance against Graca-Couto in blue-belt, due to it I got the purple-belt from Carlson' hands still ON THE MAT. Denis Martins: You had a nice brown-belt road, so how did your anxiety to become a black-belt stay? Cassio Cardoso: I got the black-belt in the age of 20 years old. This was record in Carlson Team, never before a fighter became a black-belt in 5 years of training. I was anxious of becoming a black-belt due to the competitions I wanted to fight in. Denis Martins: Before entering in-depth of your BJJ epic battles, I would like to know about your experience in Boxing. How did it go? Cassio Cardoso: I was the first fighter of Nobre Arte(renowned Boxing academy in Brazil). When I watched Pinduka versus Marco Ruas in a MMA fight in '83, I realized the importance of staying good on the feet too. I knew Edson who taught Boxing to Claudinho, Fernando and Tortinho, three of the guys who are giving the trainings in Nobre Arte actually. I did a match against a tough fighter named Pequede, who beat Fernando, and we went to a draw. Denis Martins: Did anyone tell you to not train Boxing since you were a BJJ fighter? Cassio Cardoso: They told that it was too many hits on the head, but I only trained it to have a conception of what on the feet was, and I learned it. Denis Martins: Now about the epic battles you had. How do you see them actually and what can you tell us? Cassio Cardoso: I like the situation when I beat Rigan. He weighed 10kgs more than me and I had came from a submission-victory over Caique(who was tough). In the past competitions we always had to fight against several tough-fighters. There were not easy fights, if you keep yourself winning, for sure, you would have several fighters in your heels. I had this situation in my career a lot of times. Denis Martins: Cassio x Behring's story? Cassio Cardoso: Two wars! He was a warrior, and he was the only guy who defeated me. I stayed infuriated when he beat me, and three months later I beat him. He did not accept it too and challenge me to that famous 1 hour fight in '88. When I lost first this was due to a de-ashi-barai, I did not believe in his technique on the feet, but he was good on it and took me down. Our second fight I beat him by 6-2, both fights in '85. So Behring went to Australia where he challenged everybody and won all ValeTudo fights there. So he came-back and challenged me to a 1 hour gi match and I overwhelmed him again. Denis Martins: How did you face this only defeat in a whole career? Cassio Cardoso: I stayed mad, I did not accept, I did not sleep after that fight! I wanted to face him again in same day. By other way of seeing it, this was good because I developed such as fighter and person. That 1 hour match was a real war where two tanks were ready to shoot each other; in that period we could not lose, that was a samurai's life. Denis Martins: How is your life nowadays? Cassio Cardoso: I am very happy and accomplished. I am teaching private BJJ classes and I conduct seminars when I am requested to it. Denis Martins: Did you do some seminars in last year, right? Cassio Cardoso: I conducted seminars in Chicago (at Carlson Team), in Hawaii (at Relson's academy) and in Luis Heredia(Rickson's right-arm). And with it I got some recognition over my name. Denis Martins: I see a surf-board here in your academy. Are you a surfer too? Cassio Cardoso: I stayed a little shared when I started on surfing, but I preferred to take BJJ serious(lol). Denis Martins: A friend of mine told me that he took part of your seminars in Chicago, and he was impressed with your technique. What do you think you have different from others black-belts? Cassio Cardoso: I have the honor of staying at side of Carlson during 12 years of my life. I learned the practical way of BJJ and then I got my diploma in Physical Education. So I think these aspects together made me to be a little different in my seminars. Denis Martins: What about your students? Cassio Cardoso: Well, people in Brazil know I am the instructors of the famous in Brazil. Several Brazilian soap operas' actors train with me; like Marcelo Faria and Luciano Szafir. I taught the soccer-player Romario too, the Magalhaes-Pinto family (a traditional Brazilian family), Carlos Manga Jr, and many others. But I would like to tell about my student named Ricardo Meirelles(110kg & 1,95cm) a monster who is in the purple belt now(soon he will reach the brown) and he is a muay thai champion. We have some negotiations to put him on Pride, and I hope to make it possible still in 2006. Other guys who train with me are Andre Vieira, Anselmo Montenegro, and Eduardo Santos. Denis Martins: Who is Cassio Cardoso by Cassio Cardoso? Cassio Cardoso: Hey, are you kidding to me right?(lol) Well, this is hard to say, but I am a authentic guy, sincere and friendly. Denis Martins: Any final message to the ONTHEMAT.COM readers? Cassio Cardoso: People who wants to have classes or my seminars can contact me through and ++ 21 94342083. I would like to say for the fighters who are starting now to have peace on the heart, perseverance and never give-up in front of hard situations. If you have a dream, go ahead and grab it! I would like to leave a message to my 13 years old daughter(Talita) who lives in NY, she won a dance tournament in funk style and I want to say to her: "You are the love of my life". Thank you! Thanks also to Gameness and Academia da Praia

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