Tinguinha "Spider Guard King" SPEAKS OUT!!!! Shoyoroll.com Interview
Special thanks to Bear from www.Shoyoroll.com
SYR: What have you been up to Tinguinha?
T: Basically I have been dedicating my entire time to the improvement of my school and also some schools I have affiliated with me. Thankfully my school has been growing a lot and to keep the quality and professionalism I need to dedicate a lot of time to it which I do with pleasure.
SYR: How long have you training jiu-jitsu?
T: I have been training Jiu-Jitsu for around 19 years.
SYR: How many different affiliate schools do you have and where?
T: I have around 5 schools affiliated with me, some in Central California, North Dakota and Thailand. Most of them are students of mine that after years of training with me for different reasons had to move away to places where there weren’t BJJ schools and with my full support they decided to open their own schools. I have been teaching jiu-jitsu for around 12 years now and with the experience I acquired all this years I try to pass all my knowledge to them and try to have them follow the same system I implemented in my own school that way we will all have an unity.
SYR: You are now representing yourself instead of being a Gracie Barra affiliate gym. Do you think this has helped you or hurt you?
T: Didn`t hurt me neither helped me. Nothing changed in my school. My philosophy of work is still the same; my way of teaching and my way of thinking are still the same. I NEVER used the Gracie Barra name as a business tool, not to promote myself, or the school. My intention was to promote the Gracie Barra name in the USA and by doing so I would be sharing everything I learned there and was thankful for and not in any way doing for self marketing.
SYR: There are rumors on the Internet that you were upset when Carlos Gracie Jr. and Marcio opened a school in an area where a large amount of students came from?
T: Upset? No, the only person who sometimes gets me upset is my wife. I was not upset, I was disappointed and really surprised by the way things were done. The fact is that half of my students came from that location- Lake Forest, not around, not close but directly from there, but what really made be disappointed and surprised was the way things were said and done. Business can be done in many different ways.
SYR: I’m also sure they give you a notice in advance that they were planning on opening a school in your neck of the woods?
T: There is where my surprise and disappointment comes from. The new GB USA school opening came to my knowledge through the Internet; a jiu-jitsu news forum had an ad for the new school all set to be opened. I saw it in December 2004 and the school would be opened in the next month. I was really surprised and what made me more amazed was that the person appointed to be the instructor of the new school was a person very close to me, who was always welcome into my house, my school, having taught seminars and privates in my school before. After all that I contacted them in Brazil and Marcio told me it was all an misunderstanding and lack of communication which is really hard to believe when we know how much of a traveled person he is, having all my contact information, also being that 3 months before all had taken place he had stayed at my house. I would never opposed myself to help them get settled here in any way if things would have been done differently, my question in all that is: being the US and even California so big of a place how would they find out that Lake Forest was a good place to open a school?
SYR: There are also rumors that you did the same exact thing in Brazil by opening a gym not very far from the head Gracie Barra gym in Rio?
T: Marcio uses that as an explanation to the situation he has created and uses it as an example, which is not true. When I was 18 years old and still a purple belt, I started to help a Gracie Barra Black Belt Joao " Big Head" Salgado who back in the day was a champion of his generation and who was so integrated with the Gracie Barra school that he created the Taz Mania Devil logo, he was also the main guy organizing tournaments with Carlos Gracie Jr., even having business outside of jiu-jitsu with carlinhos, at that time I, helped him teaching in his garage twice a week which was a great experience for me. His garage school was about 20 to 25 minutes from the Gracie Barra school and as far as know Carlinhos was really happy with their arrangement. That, is the Academy Marcio mentions I taught. Since we are on that topic I will take my time to talk about that matter. There are some Gracie Barra black belts who own schools close to the GB head school and they all should be given credit to all the success Gracie Barra has today. A lot of people do not know this but many champions came from those schools. Back in the day instructors like "Gordo", "Sonequinha", "Roleta", "Soca", " Draculino", " Mamazinho", " Big Head", " Gustavo Machado", "Leonardo Seixas"... they all taught in Barra ( place) near the GB school and many of the students coming from those schools that started to get some recognition were sent to the Gracie Barra main school and many of these guys are the Gracie Barra champions of today,that also happened in an older generation as well with Ralph Gracie, Jean Jaques Machado among others, they all had schools in Barra. They taught close by but they all contributed a lot to the growth of the Gracie Barra name as well.
SYR: You and Marcio are very close friends, how has this affected your relationship?
T: Yes, We know each other for a long time. In fact that is why it made me so disappointed. I am not here to judge anybody on why they do things. He made his decisions which I respect but in consequence of his decisions came my reaction and my own decisions which do not mean that I dislike him as a person. I was actually really worried with this whole situation with his school in Lake Forest. I heard serious stuff about conflicts with the law and everything and that all those matters are still not fully resolved, I know him for a long time and I know all his family and I wish he can resolve all those problems and get out of this situation.
SYR: Do you have any hard feelings about the split between your school and the Gracie Barra school name?
T: No, not at all. I spent most of my life in that school, all my friends, all my BJJ experiences were created in that school. I am still in contact with all my friends from there; anytime they are in the US they come to visit me and my school. I have a great deal of respect towards Carlos Gracie Jr. to whom I credit my Jiu-Jitsu knowledge and experience and to whom I am very grateful. I have a history with the Gracie Barra school, I always fully represented them being even one of the first people to take the GB school name to another state, out of Rio de Janeiro as well as to other countries, coming to the US I applied myself to do a very serious work and represent the schools name with professionalism, so nothing can erase all that and nothing will affect all that. I see the change in my schools name as a simple business decision, not changing in any way how I feel about the GB school.
SYR: You are known for your spider guard, what made you choose that style of guard to make your own?
T: It was actually a natural evolution in my training. It was nothing I chose specifically. I play different games in my guard too, but the spider guard was the one my body adapted better to and I felt most comfortable playing.
SYR: What would you say are the 3 key elements when playing the spider guard?
T: The most important elements in my opinion are the hip movements and the leg work. With that combination you will have a real control of the spider guard.
SYR: Do you think the Spider Guard will ever get outdated?
T: No, I do not think so. For sure new stuff will come but that does not mean that the good techniques will get outdated. One thing will complement the other and this is what happens in the natural evolution of things.
SYR: If you could change some rules about jiu-jitsu competitions, what would they be?
T: This is a good question. It looks like a lot of people is unhappy about the BJJ rules in competitions. I think some things would need to be changed to make the fights more dynamic, today there are a lot of problems with people stalling in tournaments or fighting to win by advantage and this is not what the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu philosophy is about. I don’t have the exact answer for that but I think those changes are already being tried, some of the tournaments are changing their rules and some of the federations should be trying to make changes and trying to make this happen but I believe that slowly is already happening.
SYR: What do you think is the most common mistakes that many students make when training jiu-jitsu?
T: A pretty common mistake that happens with the students specially when they are first starting is an ego problem. The students get there and they do not want to tap by any means but the truth is tapping is only a learning process, you can learn a lot from your mistakes and that goes from white to black belt. The learning never stops. Another mistake that I think commonly happens is related to the first one I mentioned is about weakness, a lot of the students try to stay away from their weakness to avoid tapping, for example if you are really good on your top game and not as good in your bottom , usually in all your training sessions you just play your top game and avoid getting on the bottom but if you never play your weakness how are you supposed to improve it.
SYR: You recently took a trip to New York to Renzo Gracie’s school in NYC, How was the experience?
T: It was great. Not only I was at the Renzo Gracie`s school but I also went to the Ricardo " cachorrao" Almeida and Alexandre " Soca" `s school and I had a chance to meet some of my old friends like Rafael "Gordinho", Rolles Gracie Jr.and Igor Gracie, I also had a chance to meet someone new, a really great guy, Gene Dunn, who is a black belt from Renzo`s and who had a big impact on me on the philosophy of martial arts .
SYR: Why do you think Renzo such a good teacher?
T: Renzo`s students kind of speak for itself, he made and is still making so many good students, fighters and instructors that I don’t even need to say no more. He has the complete package as a teacher, he is not only a great instructor but also a great coach, he has a way to pass self confidence and self steam to his students and support them. All those qualities are what I believe makes him so successful
SYR: What are you goals for 2006?
T: I have a lot of plans for my school in 2006, we are adding some classes, making improvements and I will also be coming out with two more instructional dvds, which are already in production.
SYR: Do you plan on competing this year?
T: I have been competing in tournaments since I was a kid. I really like to compete and that fire still burns inside of me but right now I am 100% focused in my school and I like to apply myself entirely to everything I do. When I feel that things are in the right track and I have a little bit more time to dedicate to training I would sure like to get back in tournaments, just for fun.
SYR: What do you think you learned most in the year 2005?
T: 2005 was a year of experience and a lot of growth. I learned much much more than I ever expected. It was a year of personal growth in every aspect.
SYR: What do you think your gym offers that other gyms may not?
T: I can’t talk about other schools because I don’t know how they are like or what they offer but what I can say about my school is that we offer a nice and friendly environment and that we are very serious and committed with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu philosophy and every aspect of it. We have a very personal approach to each student and their evolution while training at our school through different systems and programs our students are able to fit their needs and safely learn one of the most effective martial arts in the world.
SYR: Is there anything you would like to add (sponsors, friends, thanks)?
T: I would like to thank all my friends for all the support they constantly give me, I will thank also all my students for their commitment to our philosophy and to our school. All the Gustavo Machado competition team, they have always welcomed me and supported me, I would like also to thank my family specially my wife that have been assisting me with the school since day one. I won’t mention names because each and every one of them are really important in my life. I would like to also thank Torah Kimonos, jiujitsushop.com and fightlife.com for all the support they give me and my school.