Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saulo Ribeiro: The Road in Jiu-Jitsu stays tough

The inimitable Saulo Ribeiro before a match

Great article over on Saulo at the American Nationals @ Graciemag.com (where I got the above picture)

BJJ Heroes article on Saulo
Wikipedia article on Saulo

Sadly, I first became acquainted with Saulo through his book, Jiu-Jitsu University when I happened to pick it up in Barnes & Noble.I know, I know. BJJ n00b is what you're thinking right now. I read a bit more about Saulo and his belief in top position and pressure-passing and I picked up the book. Other than the book on the guard I found at a Borders book store, Saulo's Jiu-Jitsu University is the BJJ book I've read and analyzed the most. Similar to Saulo early in life, I began picking up BJJ to complement my submission game for Judo competition/matwork/newaza.

Jiu-Jitsu is more than a book/index of moves, he discusses in a fair amount of detail his belief about the meaning/value of each belt in Jiu-Jitsu in terms of concepts and understanding as a greater part of the system of belts in Jiu-Jitsu. Again, the emphasis in the book is as much more about the progression of concepts than as a set of moves to be haphazardly chosen by the reader. Saulo knows more than you.  Read the book as he wrote it, not as a "hey, I need a new armbar to try" or "a new transition to go with my omoplata to RNC monoplata reverse Tornado-half-spider sweep."

At any rate, back to my initial purpose of this post, the article on Graciemag is one of those well-written pieces that elucidates the love of Jiu-Jitsu. Saulo discusses his being away from hard training for a year after major surgery on his shoulder. I started grappling (Judo and wrestling) about  7 1/2 years ago, and the longer you train, the more you see that there will be major setbacks/time off the mats if you train hard and consistently. It's eye-opening to see that even down the road, no black belt, no number of world championships, nor multiple ADCC titles (all of which Saulo has in spades) will prevent the dangers of this rough and tumble sport. Cyborg Abreu comes to mind as another competitor who had a major injury that could have derailed his fame/success in the sport.

Shhhhh, don't fight it. What will be, will be.

Some choice quotes from the Graciemag.com article:
"Last December Saulo had three surgeries at once on his shoulder to repair his rotator cuff, his labrum, and to reattach his biceps."

“I feel great,” Saulo says, referring to coming back from such an extensive injury, “It’s a mix of happiness for coming back to the mat. I felt like I was in jail for a year not doing what I love the most. I wasn’t free.”

"When he comes to compete, for him it’s just plain fun. “Competing is the true expression of myself and who I am,” he says, “I want to lead by example. Today, I’m here as a soldier to earn points for my team.”

Happy Trainingz!

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