This past October 6-7, Prof. 'Telles' was in Bangkok and took a few moments to answer some questions. It was definitely a good time had by all.
We're here with Prof. Eduardo 'Telles' Moreira in Bangkok, Thailand. It's the second day of the seminar and last city of your seminar tour. Could you share with us a bit of your background and how you got started in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
ET: Oh, you know jiu-jitsu in Brazil it starts in Rio. I used to go a lot to Rio cause my father is from Rio. So, I kind of interested like, guys used to do a lot of jiu-jitsu in Rio but not in Sao Paulo. I used to do karate at that time. After UFC, you know, it was a big boom about jiu-jitsu everywhere in Brazil and they started to teach jiu-jitsu in the same school I used to do karate. So, I try it and I liked it a lot. It was fun and I enjoyed the difference and I kinda did well, haha. So, after a while I quit karate and start to train jiu-jitsu more seriously.
Who did you study under in the beginning?
ET: I started with Fernando Yamasaki. You know, the brother of the UFC ref, Mario. I stayed with him until blue belt. After that I went to San Diego to learn English. I stayed there for 6 months and then I met Carlos Valente and started to train with him. After that I moved back to Brazil and then I went to train with Fabio Gurgel as a purple belt. I train with him until my black belt.
How old were you when you started jiu-jitsu?
ET: I was 17.
So how old were you when you got your black belt?
ET: I was 25... about 8 years.
Would you say Fabio had a big impact on your game?
ET: Yeah, he has a big impact on my game but also I learn a lot with Fernando Terre, you know my ex-partner. He used to teach me a lot, so he's also my teacher. Of course a lot of good guys that I met too.
Your famous for developing what used to be considered a purely defensive position with the turtle-guard and octopus-guard. How did you come to develop this game?
ET: Oh, I think I developed that game cause i'm kinda lazy. You know, hahaha, I try to take some short cuts and do things more easily. You know, I think jiu-jitsu is kind of easy way. Sometimes all you gotta do is relax and don't fight against the guy's power, just try to flow. I also used to be a surfer also.
Hahaha, I'm sure that helps. You've competed at the highest level of competition such as the mundials, ADCC and MMA. I'm curious to hear how you keep yourself focused your training and preparation for these events.
ET: It's fun you know. I enjoy a lot, the challenge to compete. All my life I like the competition and try the real things you know. I think it's about the challenge and you get kind of addicted.
Was there any point that was particularly difficult?
ET: Oh yeah man. The competition is not that easy you know. Everyone gets nervous in the competition and so you gotta control those things. You gotta try to relax. When you're nervous you can't think well so you gotta relax, you gotta calm down you know. It's very mental.
With the mundials taking place for the first time outside of Brazil this year, what was your impression? Could you share a bit of your experience?
ET: I used to go to California a lot so for me it's not a big deal. I used to compete at the Pan Ams for many years so. It was really cool you know. The tournament was really organized and a lot of good guys in the competition. It was great. I didn't win, I lose, but it doesn't matter. I did good fights.
How do you see this a change in jiu-jitsu and do you think it's a positive direction?
ET: Jiu-jitsu change a lot you know, it keeps changing. It's going in a good direction of course. Now we have a lot of tournaments no-gi. We will have world tournament in no-gi also. This is the kind of change that I like.
I know you split your time teaching between the States and Brazil. Outside of being a competitor, how do you see teaching having a part in the development of your game.
ET: I really like to teach you know. When I teach I learn also at the same time. when you have some doubts in your mind and you try to teach those things you kind of understand those things better. You see other guys doing the position. You know, guys move differently with each other so it's good. You can learn while you're teaching.
This is also your first time in Asia having stopped in Shanghai, Macao, Hong Kong and now Bangkok. How are you liking it so far?
ET: Asia is amazing you know. I like a lot. I always wanted to come and visit. It's pretty interesting with all the martial arts coming from asia, most of them. It's different you know, way different than the places I visit before and I like different things. It's really interesting and I learn a lot.
And you're OK with the food?
ET: Oh man,the food is great. Oh, the food is very good.
Any plans in MMA this coming year?
ET: I will still compete in all the tournaments with gi, no-gi. You know it helps a lot. It's my base you know and in MMA, but going into MMA I did just one fight. I like a lot. It was cool and I like no-gi also. I got some new techniques, you know, some different stuff that I really want to try. I think it will work fine. I'm really interested in new thing so that I don't get bored.
Do you feel the transition is difficult?
ET: Oh, the transition you know it's like I said, I did karate. Now I'm training boxing and muay thai. I think it's jiu-jitsu, it's the ground fight so it's not exactly the same, you gotta make a few changes but... I think that jiu-jitsu has been proven it's one of the best things for MMA.
Do you have anything you'd like to share or say?
ET: You know I want to thank the guys in Asia who receive me very well. You know guys like Danny who treat me really well and been really great. Also all the places I've been and with really cool guys. Just to thanks and hope that you guys enjoy so that I can come out more times.
Hey, definitely come back and train Muay Thai you know. We'd love to have you here. Again, I want to thank you for coming out here and sharing with us your knowledge and experience. I know everyone here has really enjoyed themselves and also for taking the time to do this interview.
ET: OK, thanks a lot.