How To Find The Right Jiu Jitsu Academy?
How Do You Know When A BJJ Academy Is Right For You?
Bernardo Faria is widely considered one of the most dominant super heavy weight fighters in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has won some of Jiu Jitsu most prestigious tournaments. For many years he has been the IBJJF World Champion. Certainly this is a testament to the high level of his technique. Yet one of the beautiful things about Bernardo’s Jiu Jitsu is the simplicity of many of his techniques. He is widely known for his trademark over-under passing position, his knee bar from the over-under passing position, his “Faria Sweep” from the deep half and his single leg half guard. He often states that he is not athletic or flexible. He just works hard and plays a simple game. Yet no one has had an answer for this simplistic yet effective game.
Bernardo has utilized his simple Jiu Jitsu game to dominate some of the world’s best grapplers. As a black belt he won IBJJF World Champion (2010, 2013, 2015), IBJJF Open Class World Champion 2015, IBJJF Pro League Champion 2014, IBJJF Pan-American Champion 2010, 2015, IBJJF Pan-American Open Class Champion 2010, 2016, CBJJ Brazilian Nationals Champion 2010, IBJJF Pro Cup Champion 2011, IBJJF European Champion 2010, 2011, 2012, IBJJF World Championships Runner Up 2011 (weight and open class), 2017, IBJJF World Championships 3rd place 2009 and IBJJF European Championships Open Weight Runner Up 2012.
Faria was drawn to Jiu Jitsu after being on the losing end of some play fights. At the young age of 14, with only a year’s worth of training, he knew Jiu Jitsu is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. From white to black belt, Bernardo was a student of Ricardo Marques. After he graduated from college, Faria’s coach encouraged him to move to Sao Paulo and train under the great Fabio Gurgel. At Gurgel’s academy, Bernardo had both exceptional instruction and team mates. Some of his training partners were Bruno Malficine, Michael Langhi, Sergio Morales, and Leo Nogueira. His time at Gurgel’s certainly paid off. He won many black belt world championships, Pan Americans and European competitions. In 2013, Bernardo moved to America to train and teach at the great Marcelo Garcia’s Academy. After his move to New York City, Faria continued to cement his legacy as one of the greatest super heavy weights to compete. He won more world championships. At Marcelo’s Bernardo also found his love and skill for teaching. He passionately communicated technique in a way that was beneficial to everyone from white to black belt. In 2017, Faria moved to Boston, subsequently retired from competition and opened a Jiu Jitsu academy.
What fundamentals is your Jiu Jitsu game lacking?
It is also important to note that Bernardo is an excellent example of what a human being should be. He is extremely kind hearted and always has a smile. He is always learning and his passion for Jiu Jitsu is contagious. Not only is he one of the best instructors and competitors in our beloved art of Jiu Jitsu, he is also one of kindest and gracious human beings that you will meet.
In this video Bernardo Faria answers the question on what makes a good Jiu Jitsu academy. The context of the question is someone feels that their Jiu Jitsu is not growing and the problem may be the teacher. First, Faria notes it may not be the instructor's fault that you are not improving. Plateaus are inevitable in Jiu Jitsu. Sometimes we do not grow at all and other times there are large amounts of improvement. Bernardo suggests augmenting training with online videos. Find someone that has a similar game as your own and watch what they do. He also states that we may not be aware of the improvement that we are making. To measure if we are making improvement Faria suggests tournaments.
To evaluate a school he suggests not to only looking at how much improvement you are or are not making. Rather he suggests paying close attention to the main guy. Certainly having a black belt from a good lineage is important. However, the culture of the school is also relevant. If the teacher is nice then often the majority of the students will be nice. However, if the teacher is rude then often a majority of the students will also be rude. In the end, it is extremely important to enjoy our Jiu Jitsu journey. Certainly, the way that you are treated is a major factor of that experience.
This video is a wonderful example of Bernardo’s ability to deliver value to even novice grapplers. Like all of Bernardo’s videos, there are a lot of great insights. His simplistic yet effective approach to Jiu Jitsu is a wonderful resource to anyone who makes a careful study of them. Certainly, the Jiu Jitsu community is lucky to have Bernardo Faria.