Posted by Mika Frankl
Knuxx recently had the chance to go to the Gracie Barra gym and talk with jiu jitsu world champion, rising MMA star Rafael de Freitas, who will be facing Antonio Banuelos at Legacy Fighting Championships 18 on March 1, 2013.
MF: We’re here at your gym during a class, how much do you love being a teacher of jiu jitsu?
RDF: I love, because jiu jitsu is something that changed my life completely. For me to be here and to be able to change a bunch of people’s lives, that’s a big thing for me. I really really happy and I love what I do. I love to wake up every day thinking about going to the gym, having fun and sharing my philosophy with my students, so I love it.
MF: How did it end up being that you had the opportunity to come from Brazil to out here in Albuquerque, New Mexico?
RDF: My friend Roberto Alencar better known as “Tussa”, he is the one who invited me. He used to live here before. We used to talk a lot on the internet and he would say, man you got to come out here, you to come help me teach. People love your charisma and you will be very successful in the United States. That when I started planning everything and change my whole life down in Brazil to make sure I would get the money and make the biggest move of my life.
MF: How hard was that leaving everything you knew and coming to a foreign country?
RDF: Really really hard. A lot of people want to do it, but there are a lot of people who don’t have the courage to do it. I had to leave all my family, girlfriend, my mom especially my mom and that was really hard on my heart, especially because I didn’t know how to speak English at the time so I got here without knowing anything. But I like challenges and that was one of the biggest challenges of my life and I just tried to make through it. I love what I do. I think jiu jitsu is growing so fast here in the United States and all over the world. The opportunity to have a better life is what brought me here. It was really really hard; it was a big change in my life but is definitely worth it.
MF: What was it about Jiu Jitsu that captivated you; I had heard that you tried capoeira, karate, boxing, what was it about jiu jitsu?
RDF: I did a lot of different martial arts before and actually I was really into soccer as well, but when I started jiu jitsu, I kind of fell in love right away because first of all because the training was super fun and you didn’t have to worry about getting punched in the face, getting kick in the legs, the bruises and the pain. So it was something I enjoyed a lot. I used to be the smallest and youngest guy in my crew. Because of my speed and smarts I was able to beat guys bigger than me. This started to give me status in my crew. It was like if they messed with me out side of training, watch out in training I may get your neck. Jiu Jitsu made me happy and confident that I could overcome someone way bigger than me in a fun way just go there take his back and get a choke. You don’t hurt him and you don’t hurt yourself. Helping me overcome my bigger friends is my jiu jitsu got in my life so quickly.
There is plenty more to this interview in the video below…
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