More and more these days BJJ black-belts from all over are coming through Southeast Asia for a number of reasons. From vacation to work, it's usually be a limited exchange of e-mails that we get to hear about their visit/passing through. So when I heard that some individuals were working on getting Mauricio 'Tinguinha' Mariano here in Asia, I jumped at the opportunity to ask him a few questions and hopefully provide an introduction to those that may not know him.

For those who aren't familiar with you, could you share a bit of your background with us? Where are you from? When and how did you start to train BJJ? Who did you study under and when did you receive your black-belt?
I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I started training more than 20 years ago. Before I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu I was training Judo and my older brother introduced me to BJJ. Then I fell in love with the art and am training till this day. I trained under Carlos Gracie Jr. and I was promoted a black belt in 1996.

In the early days of your bjj career, what was your training routine like? What was training and competing like in those days?
I always was very serious about my training. I pretty much trained twice a day. And did conditioning training two times a week. The training was very competitive because at that time all the top guys from Carlos Gracie Jr.'s school were training under the same roof. Competition is pretty much like today but the only difference I would say is that there are more competitors today.

You've made quite a name for yourself with the development and popularization of the 'spider-guard'. Could you tell us a bit of how this came about?
I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu really young and I never went to the kids classes I started straight in the Adults classes I always would end up in the bottom for being smaller and skinny and I could not keep my guard closed because my legs were too weak comparing to those guys so I had to adapt my game to train with bigger and stronger opponents. And the spider guard ended u
p happening naturally, it was pretty much a surviving situation, with time I started specializing and developing new techniques on the spider guard game.

Over time, has this changed for you and how do you see your game develop?
Every technique has a defense and every defense has a counter attack. So my game keeps always improving cause there is always someone with a defense for my attacks and because of that I have to find a way to counter those defenses. It never stops, it's always evolving.

You recently got back into competition in the 2007 Mundials, held in California, USA. Please share with us your experience and impression of today's jiu-jitsu.
I was out of the competitions for four years, I had been solely dedicated to my school and my students but when I heard the Mundial was going to be held here in California I felt that fire come right back. I fought the World championship in Brazil before and I always had a chance to have a good performance having a second and third place so I felt it was a good competition to return. It was a good feeling to be back to the tournament environment even though I felt my timing was off because the lack of competing for so many years, the level of the fighters is incredibly high and I had a chance to fight twice, won my first and lost my second and that was a good feeling.

Do you plan to compete again this year?
I do have plans to compete but I have some projects to finish before so it will depend how is going to pan out.

Outside of Brazil, the United States has the largest BJJ scene. In comparison, BJJ is relatively new to Southeast Asia and I'm curious to know if you have an advice for those who are just getting started and for those who have been training for some time already.
My advice is not just train but be a BJJ student, try to understand the philosophy behind the techniques. Jiu-Jitsu is a very technical martial art and to fully understand it requires dedication. The good thing is that today you have easier access to the techniques, through books, dvds, online... Those would be good tools to have access even if you are far from the popular BJJ places and that is the big difference from some time ago.

More specifically, for those in situations where they don't have a higher-belt to instruct them and only their sparring partners (white/blue belts), what would you suggest to for them to focus on? How can they maintain a positive progression in BJJ?
It is possible, my suggestion for those people would be to train smart you can just go to the school and roll but they need to follow a plan, drill the techniques, do specific training from specific positions and situations, train the points in which they are weaker in the games and a lot of mat time.

Besides teaching, what plans do you have for the coming year?
My plans for this year is coming out with new dvds, pretty soon we will be realing 2 or 3 more, I plan to an instructional book, also a seminars tour outside of the US and I would love to go to Asia. I have some other projects and hopefully everything will be happening this year.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, is there anything you'd like to say to the readers out there in Southeast Asia?
Thank you for the opportunity, I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and it is great to see the BJJ martial art being spread all over the world so it is very nice to see it getting to Southeast Asia and I look forward to be able to go do a seminar there some day. If anyone has any questions you can contact me at tinguinha@yahoo.com or you can get more info at www.bjjoc.com

I'd like to thank Tinguinha for taking the time to answer our questions + both Danny & Phil for getting me in touch with the man himself. -Luke

1 comment:

radamez said...

nice interview!