Off the Mat with a Bjj Black Belt: Tony Eduardo

Jiu-jitsu Times is excited to announce a new feature: Off the Mat with a Bjj Black Belt where we feature a short interview with Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts from different academies around the planet.

This week we feature Tony Eduardo who is a 3rd degree black belt in jiu-jitsu, taught bjj in Shanghai, China and teaches his friend and training partner Royce Gracie how to shoot at his firearms tactical training facility.
An interesting talk with a fascinating bjj guy.

Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you tell us how and why you got started in bjj? (the story of how you started, what got you addicted)

Tony Eduardo: Jiu-Jitsu was big in Rio de Janeiro already.
I am from Florianopolis, in the south of Brazil, but my grandparents came from Rio, so they knew about Gracie family, the hero Helio Gracie and all that. So, since a kid, my dad used to tell us about this brazilian family of fighters that were awesome and won all the no rules challenges they were challenged to.

But, of course, when Royce Gracie won first UFCs everyone learned about it. So was a natural thing to me that I would sometime end up training BJJ.

My dad was always into armed and unarmed combat training. He was a police chief and director of the Police Academy in the early 90’s and that’s when the Gracie brothers Rilion and Crolin moved down to may city.
They offered to teach at the police academy and Crolin Gracie did a demonstration class to the cops, which I remember it was awesome!
Unfortunately, they officially ended up never teaching at the police academy, but that’s pretty much how I first got introduced to BJJ.

I started serious training into BJJ at the age of 12.
We didn’t have kids class, so I went hard training straight with the wolves since that age.
Which was awesome, because it developed the mindset that I carry on until today.
Getting smashed all the time growing up with little or none (in the beginning) chance of survive, it’s like Johnny Cash used to say in the song “A Boy named Sue”: “You either get tough or die”.
I guess I had to get tough… hahahahaha!

Jiu-jitsu Times: Who have been the biggest influences on your jiu-jitsu and what did you learn from each of your professors?

Tony Eduardo: From the whole beginning, until my purple belt, which means the first 7 years of training, it was Rilion Gracie.
I trained directly under him and his black belt Claudio Arrais. Both had tremendous influence in my game still today.
Rilion with his amazing guard, but both Rilion and Claudio have strong top game, which people lots of times don’t know.
Top game it is my favourite for the last pretty much decade, even though my foundation was in the bottom and I still rely everything if needed in my guard game.

When I was a purple belt, at the age of 19, I went to NY to spend time training and learning from Renzo Gracie.
Renzo is the person that inspired me so much in life, even before getting to meet him.

He is a fantastic human being, fighter and mentor. His lessons go beyond any technical understanding limitations and I am blessed that I spent great times next to him back when he was the actual teacher everyday from Monday to Saturday.
Renzo’s ability on positively influence people goes beyond any human standards.

As a black belt, in 2005, I moved to San Francisco and got to meet the “Pitbull” Ralph Gracie.
I ended up spending back and forth several years training with Ralph and his fantastic team of fighters.
I still visit them every year to get some training.
I used to call Kurt, one of his famous black belts and the head guy at the main school, “Dad”, in appreciation of how much they took care of me during my times there.

Renzo and Ralph influenced my game a lot in aggressiveness. I was always pretty technical, but way too laid back.
They not only taught me fantastic techniques, but they were important developing even more my martial artist/warrior mentality.
The thing about never giving up and keep moving straight, no matter what the challenge is.
Believing in yourself is the key of victory and those guys know better than nobody how to push you there.

Those above are the guys that influenced, and still influencing, the most of my BJJ game.
There is no way I can thank them enough for how much they did and still do to me.
Also, nowadays I am really good friend with Royce Gracie and I have to say that I learn everyday about life and mental toughness with him.
His approach to life and challenges turn majority of what we usually think should be a hard time, into a easy day.
I definitely have a lot to thank to him too.

Jiu-jitsu Times: What is the place of jiu-jitsu in your life? (are you an active competitor? Own an academy, train recreationally?)

Tony Eduardo: Funny to answer this question… I would say I am a recreational practitioner nowadays.
However, I am professionally involved to Jiu-Jitsu, assuming I own a Gun Training school in Brazil and one of our expertise is in Combatives / Weapons Retentions.
I do lots of work overseas, majority in US that are related to that, specially to special operations military and police groups.
So, it’s always all about Jiu-Jitsu. 🙂

Also, I just competed last NoGi worlds (November 2015).
I ended up hurting my ankle during my match (in the middle of it) and even though I lost, I was proud that I was able to compete the last 5 minutes (10 minutes black belt match) with an broken ankle, losing by only two points from a sweep because I physically couldn’t stay on top.
It’s not the result we expect, but I have to say I was proud of my mental toughness and also that I still able to compete as an adult in the highest level we have in our sport.

With that said, yeah, I guess we can say I still an active competitor. 🙂

Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you give some advice for students of jiu-jitsu that worked for you in your training? (a principle or training practice, motivational quote, tips on passing the guard etc.)

Tony Eduardo: Be passionate about challenges.
In BJJ we should learn this at first day and embrace it as a lifestyle.
Stay always outside your comfort zone. Learn and learn, there is no limit for that.
The whole majority of your training is about learning, not testing your toughness.
If you have the need to test yourself, how tough as an athlete you are, use competitions for that.
Otherwise, be patient, humble, during rolling put yourself in tough situations, learn…

In this process winning doesn’t means beating your training partner up.
Winning is for those open minded hearts that are ready to exceed everyday.
Whoever wins is the one who learnt the most.
That’s the road for greatness!

Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you talk about your philosophy of brazilian jiu-jitsu – training and life? (What do you try to teach to your students about the role of jiu-jitsu in their lives?)

Tony Eduardo: I can’t imagine who I would be without BJJ.
So, pretty much, BJJ made me who I am and the funny thing is, we are not done.
We are in a evolutionary process every day, every hour! I try to influence my students in a way of opening their minds to learn.
I want to learn everything, I am curious about people and what they do for a living.
Jiu-Jitsu is not only about having the proper technique to break somebody’s arm, neck or leg.
It’s about the whole mind/body healthy lifestyle.

It is about understanding that we are legit warriors that want the best for our society.
Understanding that a fight can be anywhere, anytime, that we must be ready.
You will never know when you actually will have to stand and fight for yourself, someone you love or for something.
We are modern warriors. We are the protectors of our families, friends and good people in general.
Like Carlos Gracie used to say we must “Have the peace of the Lion”, never the sheep.

Jiu-jitsu Times: Who is your favorite bjj fighter?

Tony Eduardo: Well, there are so many awesome guys, hard to choose… But, from my generation, I would say Roger Gracie and Demian Maia.
I love those two guys not only as the competitors that they are (BJJ/MMA), but mostly for what they represent, humble true gentle warriors.

Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you tell us something interesting about yourself that most Jiu-jitsu Times readers would not know?

Tony Eduardo: Recently I started a BJJ Association. It’s called “Next Level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association”.
The reason I did that is because today I have black belts in Brasil, Asia, Europe and US.
My black belt Samir Medjbeur from England and also my good friend, UFC veteran, Ryan Jensen from Premier MMA in US, both asked me to run my program.
So I decided to reformulate and organize it in a way that I can give all the support needed to my instructors. We now have everything set, with curriculum, certificates, online video class, every support we believe that you, as a instructor / student, would need to have.

I also work with tactical training running my business in Brazil – .38 Shooting School “clube38″. Last year we started a partnership with 88 Tactical, the fastest rising tactical training company in US.
So, I’ve been going to US a lot lately and I might be, eventually, moving up there soon.
If you guys have any interest on armed / unarmed combat training, let me know. I will be more than happy to visit you for seminars involving that or, obviously, BJJ in general.

Jiu-Jitsu Times, Thanks a lot for the opportunity! Thanks to the readers who spent time reading this. I really appreciate it.
Let’s always wish lots of good training and happy days for our BJJ community around the world!

video: Tony Eduardo Lima – The JiuJitsu Mentality

Clube e Escola de Tiro .38



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