This week, the Jiu-Jitsu Times once again had the honor of speaking with five-time World Champion Bernardo Faria at the famous Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York.
Here is what he had to say.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: Many jiu-jitsu students dream of traveling to the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York and experiencing what it is like to train at one of the best academies in the world. Tell us a little about the classes at the MG Academy.
Bernardo Faria: About training at Marcelo’s, I think I have been very lucky in my career. First I trained in my home town where it was a very good environment and with my first teacher who a super nice guy. Ricardo Marques is almost like a brother or father to me.
Then I moved to Sao Paulo and I took the prime time of the Alliance school in Sao Paulo. I lived there for four years in that time that everyone was living there together.
I remember that only in my building there were five world champions at black belt. There was me, Michael Langhi, Bruno Malfacine, Leo Nogueira, Sergio Moraes. Everyone was living in the same building. So it was a great time.
Then I was very lucky because when I moved to New York in 2013 I got here – all of these black belts from Marcelo were purple and brown belt.
Then one or two years later all of them got the black belt. Now I believe that Marcelo’s school is probably the best place to train in the world. The training there is amazing.
There is Marcelo, me, Mateus, Manchi(?), John Satava, Marcos. It is amazing training. A bunch of tough purple belts, bunch of tough brown belts, so I think I was very lucky in that. I got the prime time in Sao Paulo and now I have this opportunity to train and teach here at Marcelo’s and it looks like it is the prime time at Marcelo’s school too. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to train in places like this.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: How did you start teaching and training at Marcelo’s Academy?
Bernardo Faria: I started teaching at Marcelo’s because I always wanted to live here in the US. Because of the fact that most of the tournaments were happening here – like the Worlds, the Pan Ams.
I really liked the culture too. I like the US because everything here works right. It is a very good culture.
In 2013, Marcelo needed a teacher to teach at his school. He contacted Fabio Gurgel and Fabio suggested me. So Marcelo contacted me and we made the deal and then I came here.
I really love teaching and training here because Marcelo, he is as nice as he looks like. Everybody says “Oh man he looks like he is the nicest guy” and that is true. He is! It is very nice to be on his side and to be teaching at his school and to be training with him. That’s very good!
Jiu-jitsu Times: How many different classes do you have – e.g., gi, no-gi, Advanced, Fundamentals, Competition training, and wrestling? How often does Marcelo run the class?
How many black belts will be on the mat in a class?
Bernardo Faria: Here we have Marcelo’s classes which are the main classes in the school. There are five gi classes and five no-gi classes, so it is pretty much equal gi and no-gi.
Besides that there are a bunch of other classes. Nowadays I teach five classes per week. I don’t teach so much because I want to focus more on my training. I want to take this opportunity to do that. I am 29 years old and I still have two, three, four, or five years left. So I want to train as much as possible.
So nowadays I am teaching five classes per week. Marcelo teaches nine or ten classes per week so he is always at the school. He has a family now. He has two kids, he has his wife, so once in a while he is not at the school but most of the time he is there.
I always try to be there as much as possible, too. All of the black belts are always there. All of the young guys, so it is a very good training.
There are probably I would say, per class, we might have between five or 15 black belts on the mats. It is a great training. Very, very high level guys. It is a nice opportunity.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: Do you have students who come from around the world to get some training at the academy? What advice do you have for a student who wants to visit New York and get in some rolls at the MG Academy?
Bernardo Faria: Yes, almost every day I am guessing that there are probably between five and fifteen foreigners at Marcelo’s. Every day different people from all over the world. From Korea, from Australia, from Europe, from Canada, from US, from Brazil . . . from everywhere.
The advice that I give is that many times I see students coming and they are not used to visiting other schools and they are a little bit scared. At Marcelo’s you don’t need to worry about that. It is a very, very nice environment. Everyone is going to treat you super well.
You are going to feel like you are in your own school. Like you are training at home at your own school. Everyone is so friendly, everyone is so nice. Marcelo’s class, and my class too, and the other guys classes are not the type of class that you can not laugh, you can not smile, you have to be quiet . . . no. It is completely different. It is a very, very fun environment. Sometimes we have games in the warm-ups. Everyone there is smiling and happy.
I think that is the goal of jiu-jitsu. When it is the time for sparring, we shake hands and go really hard. But before and after that, everyone is happy on the mats. Everyone is smiling, joking, and talking.
I think that is what makes Marcelo’s school very, very special. It is somewhere that you are going to train really hard if you want but at the same time I am sure that you are going to have a lot of fun. You are going to meet great people from all over the world. You are going to meet great athletes. It is amazing.
I would say that 99.9999% of the people who come, when they leave and I see their face, I can see that there are really happy and they enjoyed.
It is an amazing experience. I invite everyone. If you love jiu-jitsu you should come to New York at least once and have fun with us.