“My first MMA fight was against Marco Ruas, but I'd already made several presentations in the academy because Carlson (Gracie) had me do these demonstration fights. I ended up gaining a lot of combat experience against these other martial artists, because as his assistant I was always the chosen one.
Then, in 1984, Rolls (Gracie) had already died in 1982, and this challenge started because of a disagreement between the youngest representatives of the Gracie family and Flávio Molina's nephew. I don't remember exactly what caused the disagreement, but then Molina created a training group to challenge the Gracies. At the same time, we were all kind of unmotivated by Rolls' death, and suddenly we had this challenge to find a team to would be able to fight off the athletes that Molina had chosen. The fights needed to be arranged, it was difficult!
Robson (Gracie), at the time, was the president of SUBEJ, so he had access to Maracanãzinho and made the gym available for this event, with the date already set: November 30th. We had 20 days to prepare.
When Robson showed up at the gym, I was there when he said to Carlson: “I don't have anyone available”, so I made myself available and Carlson summoned me. I had 20 days to prepare myself for the fight.
Grandmaster Pinduka said that the challenge ended 2x1 for the Jiu-Jitsu team. He also commented on the arrival and what the atmosphere was like there.
“I was calm, despite the fact that the atmosphere was a little fierce, there was a fight on the street, a fight around the mat, it was a very heavy atmosphere, there was a fight in the locker room, there were wrestling guys, jiu-jitsu and its defenders. It was a little unpleasant confrontation for a sporting event, a warlike atmosphere.
But I was calm, I knew more or less what I had to do, I already had some experience, I was 32 years old at the time, I had some good background so I could keep it together, despite not being well trained for the short time, I went to the fight.
Despite this historic fight between Wrestling and Jiu-jitsu, the rivalry between the two sports continued for a while.
I even had a degree in physical education and had the idea of putting jiu-jitsu at Gama Filho University as a discipline. But the first barrier that this project faced was when the presidents mentioned precisely this matter regarding Jiu-Jitsu versus Vale Tudo. They claimed that Jiu-jitsu had no educational foundation to enter university because of these street fights and all this alarm.
This newspaper article at the time said that jiu-jitsu was a violent fight, and it took me a long time to do research, study, to put it as a discipline, and I only achieved it after ten years of effort. We managed to transform jiu-jitsu into a subject at the university, as an elective discipline, you know, and yet it created a very big inconvenience. Then in 1991 there was a rematch.
Only after this rematch the spirits calmed down a a little, people were able to understand each other more. But then there was another episode involving Rickson (Gracie) and (Hugo) Duarte on the beach. The two fought and Duarte still felt affected by the situation that was created, then he invaded Rickson's gym with a bunch of people, things got out of hand again there.
But nowadays this is over, everyone is a friend because of MMA and the professionalization of the fight. Everyone started to make money out of it, so there was a reason for fighters to improve their behavior in order to become professionals, to have a slightly healthier rivalry.
Grandmaster Pinduka was also responsible for dedicating himself to bringing Jiu-jitsu into the academic environment, with the aim of giving even more relevance for the sport.
I started taking jiu-jitsu to the university, researching its benefits as an educational activity, an activity that can bring personal benefits to its practitioners, such as the study of biomechanics, the study of levers, the possibility of having cardiovascular and cardio training more balanced, your mind within a process of balance ... I started to develop beyond champions, to form students who compete in championships.
I tried to develop educational part as much as I could, researching all the benefits of jiu-jitsu so that I people who didn't intend to compete, urban workers who worked 10, 12 hours a day could also enjoy jiu -jitsu as a health mechanism, and I was very successful in that respect.
Then I started to bring businessmen to my academy, professionals, lawyers, doctors, who sometimes came home exhausted, and with the practice of jiu-jitsu they achieved some balance. Nothing is better than leaving a hard day's work, putting on a giand exercising on the ground or in a self-defense movement. These people go there, put on a Gi and then go home much calmer.
The BJJFLIX team thanks the Grandmaster for being available to give the interview and for all his contribution to the gentle art, and also to you, a fan and reader of our blog, for following our work. Stay tuned and don't miss out on anything, OSS.