Interview with 6x IBJJF black belt No-Gi World Champion, and 2x Gi World Champion at black belt, Caio Terra. He is a legend and incredible representative in the art of bjj.
Caio Terra Jiu Jitsu inside and out Interview
The Jiu Jitsu: You’re story of finding jiu jitsu is very inspiring and popular about your mother taking you to a class because of bullying, why do you think you did not enjoy it at first, and what caused bjj to become your passion, and life?
Caio: The Reason I didn’t enjoy is because BJJ is a hard sport at first as most people believe they can just fight their way out of the moves without technique, in that case, going to BJJ was just like another day of bullying where everyone was bigger and stronger than me and I couldn’t do nothing to stop them.
My passion for BJJ started when I realized that BJJ can be applied also in many real life situations. Like I was very good at school but sometimes I found some problems That I couldn’t solve and it would get mad because I was studying a lot and wasn’t able to find the correct result and would just close the book or move to a different topic, in BJJ a lot of the time, we get caught in a move over and over again, and while we keep getting caught in that move we won’t be able to progress because we need to first stop that move from happening. If I just forget about it and learned something else from a different position, I would most likely not be able to use it because I would probably get caught with that same mistake again, so I would first need to learn how to deal with my mistakes to then progress. And when I applied it to school it made things a lot easier, instead of learning many different things I started learning things that would connect and because they were connected everything else made a lot more sense and became easier to learn. This was my first of many lessons in BJJ
The Jiu Jitsu: You’re very well known for receiving your black belt quickly, which was very well deserved, what would you say was the biggest contribution to the fast improvement?
Caio: Honestly I think it was due to my will of helping others to be better than me. I wanted to get better but since my team was small I wanted them to get better too, helping them made me realize things I wasn’t doing right, it made me search for answers they didn’t have and I couldn’t respond at the time and made us a lot closer friends where they would help me too, with BJJ and in life as most of them were older than me.
The Jiu Jitsu: If you had to choose, being an amazing coach with so many students, what would you say bjj teaches or gives people most?
Caio: I believe it gives different things and feelings for everyone. But something that should be given to everyone who practice martial arts is respect everyone above everything else, learn how to honor yourself and don’t give up easy on your daily challenges and become a better person by being around a culture that shares and that cares about each other. There are numerous things I could say but these were very important to me.
The Jiu Jitsu: Why do you think the drop out rate in bjj is so high?
Caio: BJJ isn’t an easy sport, in reality, it is very hard on the body and very hard on the mind as BJJ is so different than any movement we are used to doing on our daily basis, we most likely first get physically beat up by people who know what they are doing or people who can manhandle us, and we have the mental aspect that we need to deal with a challenge of coming back the next day and believe that we will get better, because most people think that they aren’t getting better.
When you are done with those stages 99% of the people don’t quit. You don’t see a black belt quitting BJJ, it’s very hard to know of someone who stopped doing BJJ as a brown belt, even purple belts rarely quit. The problem is in the beginning, white and blue belts.
The Jiu Jitsu: What do you think of online training and access to matches, techniques and drills today, is it helping or hurting bjj?
Caio: Definitely helping. One small thing is better than nothing, even if it’s not the best thing. Even the people who aren’t looking for the right information would still get benefitted with the technology of today. If there were so many DVDs, online training and videos on the internet when I started in BJJ, I’m sure I would be even better today. But it’s good to remember that this is just a supplement to your training, people still need to go to the gym and especially have someone who can guide them in BJJ and life.
The Jiu Jitsu: You’ve trained and coached UFC fighters such as Carlos Condit, and Alexis Davis for her Ronda Rousy fight, do you ever see yourself fighting MMA?
Caio: Right now I’m having some health problems so I want to get back to BJJ first, then maybe think about moving to a different sport.
The Jiu Jitsu: Is it difficult being an instructor/coach and also being an active competitor?
Caio: Unfortunately BJJ isn’t a professional sport where we can just train for a living. Its very hard to be a pro athlete while teaching others, but I’m very happy to do so and can’t imagine myself without one. Now if I had to pick one I would be a coach because helping people reaching their goals or dreams is much more rewarding.
The Jiu Jitsu: With all the rules and points these days, when you compete, train, or teach do you incorporate points?
Caio: Sometimes I do but most likely I will just flow and not think about it. I like to train and when we start counting points becomes more like a match, and a match I can do it at a tournament.I do believe in rules and points though. If you think about it, every martial arts has it’s points, boxing and kickboxing have too but people don’t call them sport boxing or sport kickboxing, it’s all the same. In case of a BJJ match, of course you should get points for a guard pass, mount, back take, etc, because you are getting a dominant position in someone and in case of a self defense situation, the one with the best position will most likely win the fight.
The Jiu Jitsu: How do you deal with a loss?
Caio: In the beginning it’s hard to accept there is someone better than you or a technique/position that you have to get better at. But I have competed in BJJ for over 10 years now and you end up realizing that for me to become as good as I am today I had to be the worst I could be in the past. Without tapping, without losing, you will never know what you need to work on, and you will end up getting tapped at a tournament. Nowaday I enjoy to lose everyday if I’m training, because I know I will be way more prepared at a tournament than if I was winning everyday.
The Jiu Jitsu: If you could give the bjj beginner one tip what would it be?
Caio: Have fun. Don’t think about getting better, about getting promoted, about beating your friends in practice, don’t think too much, just have fun, and you will be able to take a lot more from BJJ than reaching a goal that is superficial, and in the end, your progression as a martial artist and human being will be a lot faster because you are happy with yourself.
The Jiu Jitsu: Lastly, Caio, we know you’ve been having some issues with health lately, when can we expect to see you back on the mat competing and healthy?
Caio: Every week I go to the hospital and clinics to do new exams and tests to find out what’s going on and honestly right now all I want is to be able to train again without any symptoms. I am very grateful for all the positive messages I got from it and the only thing I can assure you guys is that has nothing to do with sugar as many people been saying, in fact I have been eating a lot healthier to try feeling better. I know I will be competing when I start feeling better to train but my real goal is to be able to have fun on the mats again and from there we will see where it takes.