An interview with Felipe CostaBrazilian jiu jitsu is getting
more and more popular
in Poland. Around the
world, and especially in
Brazil, there are many
great academies that teach
and promote jiu jitsu. The
Brasa Academy of Rio de
Janeiro may be one of the
best because it has a special
member: Felipe Costa.
He is not only the world
champion, but also a great
teacher and a friend. He
visited Poland for the
second time, teaching
Brazilian jiu jitsu in Lodz,
Cracow, and Szczecin.
Brazilian jiu jitsu
Felipe, I know you’ve been touring Europe
for some time. How long exactly have
you been on the road now?
I’ve been traveling for three months. I started
in Mexico, went via the US, and for the last
three months… I’ve been in Belgium, Spain,
Holland and France, then I came here to Poland.
Poland is the place I am staying the longest.
One week in Lodz, one week in Cracow
and the last week here in Szczecin.
Could you explain what the Personal
Training Program is?
Jiu Jitsu started to develop in the rest of the
world and everybody wants to have a black
belt, whether from Brazil or not. They visit
the academies, so that they can prove their
skills. Most of the black belts don’t have time
to come and stay longer, so they just come for
two hours of the seminar, or two days, very
short, you know. When I started to do this,
I noticed that it was very hard for people to
improve in just two days or two hour seminars.
If I come here, to this academy, and I stay
two hours, I can’t see what mistakes people are
making. I’ll demonstrate a bunch of things,
and maybe out of ten techniques, one would
be very useful. So, I decided to stay a week so
I can really experience the training, I can get
to know the culture, become friends with people,
and then it is very easy to help the students
I remarked today that you speak good
English. Do you remember your first steps
in learning English?
At first, I didn’t speak anything but I went as
an exchange student to the US and I stayed
there for one year. That’s when I started to
learn it for the first time, but I learned like
kids do: if I was to write something, I had no
idea what it was, because I read with Portuguese
sounds. The way I started to improve my
grammar was by reading. I would sometimes
read a comic book in English, use the dictionary,
word by word. Sometimes I was like: ‘ha,
I already know this word,’ but I didn’t know
it was written that way. And also the Internet
helped me a lot to improve my writing and become
So now that you are older, do you have
any “technique” for learning English?
Now, I feel that every time that I travel, by
talking to people, paying attention to certain
words and stuff, I always learn more. It is important
to understand the idea, so, if there is
a phrase and you don’t know too many words,
by the rest of the phrase you can figure out
what the person means.
I asked you about English, and now let’s
get to jiu jitsu. Do you remember why you
took up jiu jitsu?
Yes. I started when I was 12 years old. I looked
for jiu jitsu because it was martial art, but, of
course, self-defense was my first idea. The interesting
thing is that at the beginning I was really
bad. I liked to train, but in the tournaments
I would always lose. I would lose for three
years. When I got my blue belt, I started to win
one fight or another and gradually I got better
and better. This is what I like about jiu jitsu.
You don’t have to be a natural talent to become
good. I mean, with hard work, anybody
can reach a very good level. Probably like in
English. Nobody’s a natural, but if you train,
you’re gonna get fluent.
Can you describe the moment you won
the world championship?
My first title was in 2003. It was the first time
that I fought in my weight division, because
I had lost weight. It was very good for me, because
the first fight was against the champion
of the year before. The guy was very good, but
I was confident and I won the first fight. It was
a really big surprise, because compared to the
guy I was a “dark horse,” I think you call it?
My second fight was against a guy who I had
never fought in black belts, but in the other
belts I had lost. So I came and I submitted the
guy, so in the final I was very confident and
when I won it was like heaven.
That’s when I decided to
live from jiu jitsu, because,
before I graduated from marketing
and I was getting ready
to work in an agency or something,
and then everything
turned the other way and I’m
glad that happened.
Everyday things: what is
your favorite food?
My favorite food here is what
Bagi’s wife cooks. And the
typical thing: pierogi!!! (he
What three things come
to your mind when you
Ok. First, the bad thing: cold, very cold. Now, the
good thing: people with very good hearts; I was
very impressed with this. Well, the third thing:
very nice architecture. For a Brazilian guy, very
different. It’s something you used to see only in
movies, things from old times, historical.
| ||Pozostałe artykuły:
Caspar Tende in Poland
Juicy English, Fruitful English
The two Cambridges and the Ivy League
My Adventure at Harvard
|Who were berserkers?|
Berserkers or berserks were Norse warriors
who went mad when fighting. They would
destroy everything around them and behave
in a fierce and crazy way, sometimes
even biting their shields. The rage was possibly
brought on by eating fly agaric mushrooms.
In more modern times, Berserk became
one of RPG and Manga figures. In
contemporary English go berserk means
“to become angry and violent.”
Berserk actually means “bearskin coat,”
because this is what they wore–and nothing
else, in fact. Today bearskin hats (the
fur often being man-made) are worn by
some British soldiers, such as the guards
in front of Buckingham Palace.