Off the Mat with a Bjj Black Belt : Kid Peligro

This week we feature Kid Peligro, journalist, 4th degree black belt under Royler Gracie, and the man who not only authored the first book on BJJ, but several of the best books on Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique (including this author’s favorite of all with Royler and Helio Gracie).

Peligro is also a Ginastica Natural instructor and self-described surf addict.

“As I stated, competition is just one aspect of our art. The art is still the same as Grandmasters Helio Gracie and Carlos Gracie gifted us. “
– Kid Peligro

Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you tell us how and why you got started in BJJ? Who have been the biggest influences on your jiu-jitsu and what did you learn from each of your professors? What got you addicted?

Kid Peligro : I started because my friend Carlos Gama, we were on a surf trip and he wouldn’t stop bugging me about training, so just to shut him up I said I would do it. Biggest influences have been Rickson and Royler Gracie. What got me addicted was the challenge of learning and getting better.

Jiu-jitsu Times: You have worked with Sheik Tahnoon on the early ADCC blog and publishing the first book on BJJ. Can you talk a little about your work with the Sheik and how you were involved in the early BJJ media. How did that first book grow into so many titles?
What is your work today with the ADCC or the BJJ media?

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Kid Peligro : I met Sheik Tahnoon through Nelson Monteiro as we were both going to his academy.  When the Sheik moved back to UAE, he took Nelson with him. I came to visit them by invitation of the Sheik to witness the first ADCC.

The Sheik is an amazing person and encouraged me to do a lot of projects: writing for ADCC, then the books. Today I am still a part of ADCC.  Continuing from 2 Today I still work for ADCC News. I write about current events and happenings in jiu-jitsu

Jiu-jitsu Times: You have authored MANY of the best books on BJJ with instructors such as Royler, Renzo, Royce Gracie, Jean Jacques Machado, Rodrigo Medeiros and so on. Being around all of those instructors and creating the books, what have you learned about the Arte Sauve from working with the greats? Which book is your favorite?

(My favorite Kid Peligro book is “Gracie Submission Essentials: Grandmaster and Master Secrets of Finishing a Fight” by Kid Peligro and Helio Gracie and Royler Gracie)
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Kid Peligro : I like all of my books as they represented a lot of effort and it was always great working and learning from the legends.

What I learned from doing them is that jiu-jitsu is so incredible that everyone has a different vision or a different nuance from the same roots. All the greats practice and teach the same basic art but with their different twists and focus.

Jiu-jitsu Times: You follow sports BJJ competition and have also trained with Grandmaster Helio Gracie. What is your opinion on the rules and strategy we see in modern sports jiu-jitsu? Do certain rules lead to certain strategies and positions that diminish the real fighting effectiveness of jiu-jitsu as taught by Helio Gracie family? Has sport BJJ become something very different than the jiu-jitsu of Helio Gracie? Is this evolution inevitable and a good thing?

Kid Peligro : BJJ competition is a part of jiu-jitsu. Competitors are high level practitioners that follow and conform to a special set of rules. No matter what the rules are, top competitors will find ways to explore them to their own advantage. They are intelligent and dedicated and can fit any set of rules you can come up.

The current IBJJF rules are good.

If I had to suggest something to improve, it would be to have the referees be trained even better and to use the tools that they have to encourage more movement and more action.

As I stated, competition is just one aspect of our art. The art is still the same as Grandmasters Helio Gracie and Carlos Gracie gifted us. What appears to be different is a perception that sport jiu-jitsu is jiu-jitsu mostly because there is so much exposure on competition with webcasts etc

Jiu-jitsu Times: There has long been a close relationship between Brazilian jiu-jistu and surfing. Can you talk about what it is like to grow up in Rio and be training jiu-jitsu, surfing at the beach, and drinking coconut water with your friends? Sounds like the perfect life as a BJJ / surf bum life in Rio de Janeiro!

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Kid Peligro : I didn’t start jiu-jitsu until I was in the US. I did surf when I lived in Rio and some Gracies like Relson, Rolls, and Rickson were surfing at the time.

The connection with surfing got stronger after the fight between Rolls and Daniel Sabah at the pier. I talk about it in “The Gracie Way” book.

Daniel was a well-known surfer and a big guy and Rolls just did what he did and every surfer saw that so they went and joined including Daniel who eventually became a black belt himself.

Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you give some advice for students of jiu-jitsu that worked for you in your training? What wisdom can you share from your 20 plus years of training jiu-jitsu?
(a principle or training practice, motivational quote, tips on attitude, etc.)

Kid Peligro: Best advice that I can give is to keep training smart and try not to get hurt. Training smart and with a good instructor will help you greatly.

One thing that worked for me and helped me a lot was some advice that Master Royler gave me a long time ago. He said to train with lighter and less advanced guys so you could learn and perfect the moves. If you only go against top people, you cannot learn any new moves and get frustrated.

It was hard for me because I was one of the lightest in the academy but every chance I had I’d searched people that were less experienced than me and if there was someone light I would seek them.

Video: Kid Peligro armlock from the guard

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