Q: What does it take to make a successful UFC coach leave Vegas for Cleveland?
A: The weather.
This is not a joke. While the Ohioans tremble, wearing uggs and martyrdom, Ricardo Pires probably takes off his sweater somewhere.
"People think it's weird," says a Rio de Janeiro native. "But I like the cold."
It got cold. But the blizzards, just atmospheric events, cannot take all the credit for attracting this world-renowned wrestling coach in Bookie State. Pires cites family values, the richness of what he calls "potential people" and the influence of longtime student and friend, Clevelander Mike Riedel.
At 45, Pires is a four-way Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor in Ohio, with four stripes on his black belt, in honor of a martial arts life. Although perhaps best known for training for UFC heavyweight champion in 2004, Frank Mir, Pires has been unleashed on the myth of "I can / can't teach" with a number of his international combat titles.
But Ricardo Pires is not a man to rest on his laurels. At an age where other Gen-Exers are still deciding what they want to do when they grow up, Pires has already done it – several times.
Pires has been involved in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since his childhood, but begins his career in professional sports playing football for the Miami Sharks. Football gave way to business (Pires holds an MBA), after which Pires returned to BJJ and the UFC, where a little understanding of business is not exactly a bad thing.
The scandalous cuts are not so scary after you get hooked. Originally created in the early 1990s as a kind of fantasy by Guys For Guys about which form of combat was the worst, the once-controversial Ultimate Fighting Championship has established itself to an almost respectable reputation. This transformation was largely due to the influence of Royce Gracie, who in 1993 struck opponents and spectators using BJJ techniques to prove that Might was no longer correct in the mixed martial arts empire.
It was as if King Kong and Godzilla were suddenly disturbed by Hong Kong Foi. The vast world welcomes Royce Gracie as the Great Little Hope, which reduces the size of the collar to no matter. Suddenly the big meant the slow and the small, the agile, and the conclusions went from pre-vanished to simply vanished.
If battle is the thing, Vegas is the place – or so it was. Since its inception, the UFC has expanded along the line of the Big Bang and makes sense when you consider the basic truth, boys love to fight , The 11 years or more that had passed since the Ancient Guy spent time cheerfully wooling mammoths to death were not enough to curb man's natural aggression, but until the UFC emerged, battles were only good if you are a professional. Your middle Guy was expected to achieve Enlightenment in the chairs intended for this purpose beyond the furnishing of women, and to limit his manly urges to the socially acceptable variety; Ie, followers of their friends at sports events.
Mixed martial arts lifted the Modern Guy from his lone swing in the women's department and made him stand once more – in the ring. Men found in the MMA a way to reclaim their Inner Boys in a relatively harmless and even constructive way.
But BJJ is not just for boys. The smaller size and innate meanness of women make them natural on the mat, and children and teens are attracted to fighting like deer with rhododendrons. Parents see BJJ as a way to channel their offspring's mood in a healthy way without the high fees for testing other martial arts. In BJJ belts rarely change their color other than fade, and the most common type of promotion is a small strip of tape, paid for strictly in blood, sweat and tears.
Moral: There's room for everyone in today's ring, and his admittedly fanciful preference for the cold makes the loss of Pires Vegas and Cleveland's profit. Pires teaches Brazilian jiu-jitsu at his Beachwood and Westlake academies, as well as MMA classes at Evolve Fitness in Medina. Pires conducts seminars for local wrestlers and law enforcement officers, with both groups accounting for a significant percentage of RPBJJ's student body.
Although Pires has a proven track record of being in the right place at the right time, luck can hardly be a success. With a sunny smile and a deceptively soft look that misses nothing, Pires demands perfection for perfection. No one works harder or expects more of himself, and his example is rewarded by the constantly high positions of students in national and international competitions.
According to Pires, life imitates martial art. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what you learn on the mat follows you home. What is the best way to get out of a tight spot? Don't Get There, is Pires & # 39; unwavering reaction, with a big smile to pull the cord. I can't argue with that. And if you take a good look at Ricardo Pires, you are likely to win anyway.
Here, Pires answers a few questions about football, the pursuit of happiness, and last but not least, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
How did you get involved with BJJ?
I did judo as a kid and switched to ju-jitsu at 13 because my friends did it. But I also played football and by then I was playing for a professional team. At 17 I went professional and had to stop playing BJJ under contract. I didn't return to it until I was about 24 years old.
What happened to football?
It all happened too early. The years 13 to 21 are the best times in Rio. All my friends had fun and I was practically six days a week. Saturday we went into what they called concentração , right from practice to the hotel where we stayed until the game. He had to keep us together, to help us focus. But all my friends were partying and I was at this hotel. It was hard.
So how did you get back to BJJ?
I came to the US to play for the Miami Sharks when I was 19, and so did when I gave up. It was a difficult first professional experience. The coach was Carlos Alberto Torres, who captained the Brazilian national team that won the 1970 World Cup, and since it had a very strong name, none of us got paid. So I started working as a bus boy to earn some extra money. Then I moved to Catskills, New York. That's what I heard when I heard about Mike Tyson. He lived and trained about half a mile from where I was training. He was 16 and already had a name.
Moving to the Catskills gave me a break. I rented a hotel. The deal was that they would give me a job if I played football for them in the amateur championships, but it was a whole different thing. I could just have fun playing football. I didn't have a crazy workout schedule, so I liked it. I brought many friends from Brazil, such as Marcelo and Conan Silveira (they own the US top team), and brought my brother to New York to be with me. My brother, Marcelo and Conan have known each other since they were children. So suddenly the Catskills were full of Brazilians! We all eventually moved from Catskills to Miami, and Conan opened his own gym and I started training again because the hotel was a seasonal business. In New York State, when winter comes, everyone leaves.
How did you get to Cleveland?
Because of Mike Riedel. Mike flew to Vegas several times a year to train with me, but then I moved back to Brazil. I stayed there for about a year, but it didn't work out, so I decided to go back to the US. I wanted to go to a place I could explore and start from scratch, like when I was in Vegas and it was just me and John Louis and no one else. And then I got an email from Mike saying he was going to Vegas and I said, You can go, but I'm not there So a few weeks later Mike sent me an email saying he had a passport and visa! It was the greatest compliment in my life. Here you have a person flying from America to Brazil just to train. I kept trying to show him around, but Mike just wanted to train. I said to myself: This man is crazy So I said maybe I would get to Cleveland and Mike was organizing a seminar for me and I saw a lot of potential.
Human potential. Athletic potential. If you are traveling in the US, this is statistics, this is a fact you have so many overweight people in the US, but when I came here I saw many people running and walking. There are many people in shape here. There must be a reason that this is one of the best countries for practicing combat; you just aren't born with natural abilities. I mean, there are some, but people really have to want to train.
And now, after 14 months, we have 140 members in one school and about 15% are children. What I mean is potential for people.
And another thing, people call me crazy, but I love the weather here. I don't like the rain, but the temperature works very well for me and best of all, it's a great place to raise your kids. She is very family oriented and I love it.
What makes BJJ different from other martial arts?
The results of the duels speak for themselves. I would say that 90% of the battles today will end on earth. So if you're going to get on earth, why not start from there?
Why is it that BJJ is so popular?
Well, MMA is the biggest reason, but Royce Gracie is the one who really made him famous. Gracies did a great job promoting this art and we all jumped on the band. The UFC was created by Gracies and we owe it to them, you can say whatever you want, but we owe everything to Gracies. Also, this is the kind of sport where you can go 100% without getting hurt, unlike boxing or kickboxing.
Who likes BJJ the most?
Everyone. It can fit into any schedule and every lifestyle. At one time I was a businessman, running a company with 900 employees. It wasn't easy, but it was the best time of my life. My coach called to come in broad daylight and fortunately I was able to leave my meeting and go to train. That was the beauty of being a boss! Then I go back to work for another 10 hours.
BJJ a product of American Violence Mania?
No, it's actually the opposite. Kids – and by that I mean teenagers until maybe in their early 20s – they already have this aggression inside them. So they start training and before they even get their blue belt, they beat people on the streets. This was happening in Brazil a lot and gave a bad name to BJJ. Believe it or not, MMA is responsible for making it a recognized sport. People stopped fighting on the street and started working professionally, which brought much more status than arrest! And that's why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu got a better reputation.
What can BJJ teach you other than kick ass?
Let me give you an example. I hurt my shoulder at Pan Ams in 1996 and had to do an MRI. So I get in the car and the lady gives me something to hold and says if you have to stop, just hit the button. And it was literally two inches from my face and I'm a little claustrophobic. And at the beginning I said, I'm not staying here! But then I thought, No, I'm not going to ask about that. So I closed my eyes and dozed off and went out 40 minutes later and everything was fine. On the other hand, when the nurse wanted to do it on my other shoulder, I said, "No way! ( dares ). Anyway, this is when I found out that BJJ had a positive effect on my life outside the mats. This gave me more control over when to push forward and when to pull away.
Control has become a dirty word in American society. Why is control a good thing in BJJ?
Control is a good thing, not a bad thing. Not so much controlling other people, but controlling your own feelings, your own actions – in other words, self-control. In BJJ control is an important element, but you control yourself before you control the situation. Control means being calm, not necessarily going slow. It means being careful.
How big a role does pain play in BJJ?
The two sports I practiced the most were football and BJJ, and the truth is that I injured myself a lot more in football. But, yes, you will get hurt, you move around, you are stranded in strange positions, people are on top of you, there is nothing you can do. You will hurt yourself, but it is not a bad pain. They are good marks. My injuries bring back good memories for me, not bad ones.
So, back from control, does self-control help to mitigate the possibility of injury?
Yes, absolutely. We have a man, Frank, he is an oboe player and I started thinking about that the next day and I thought, This man is crazy! We use many fingers in jiu-jitsu. But Frank can control himself enough not to hurt and threaten his career, and he doesn't give up because he can avoid injuries. He knows when to back off.
This raises the question of balance. How easy is it to find a balance?
Balance and flexibility are really important. I think you can learn the balance to some extent and you can improve, but it's actually a natural thing. You have it inside you. I could never walk the ropes, but since I was playing beach soccer, that developed my balance. Flexibility, on the other hand, I don't have any!
When you talked about taking BJJ skills off the mat, would you say that BJJ can help you balance your life?
Yes, of course, because BJJ is around borders. I think the best comparison is when you tap, this is when you find your balance, your self-control. You need to know when it's time to lose the battle, but not the war. The same thing applies to your business or your personal life and relationships. You know you have a line that you can't cross and if you cross it you get in trouble again. So you make the choice and live to fight another day.
What did America give you and what did you give America?
I don't think I personally gave anything to America, even though I think BJJ sports. America has given me so much. You can only rate it if you live in another country. People have no idea how good this country is. I love Brazil. It is beautiful and there are many great things about it, but unfortunately I must say that in America we have more respect for man than in Brazil.
In Vegas, you coached some of the biggest names in the UFC. Do you ever miss the big time?
Let's put it this way: I had a friend, Rick Davis, who was a teacher at school. He received $ 700 to fight Henry Matamoros, who by the way became a good friend of mine after that fight. Anyway, Rick started at war with this guy, equality, and it was one of the most exciting duels I've seen. The battle was in Chicago. I paid my own plane ticket and Rick's check bounced. I never told him I paid him $ 700 from my own pocket. Let's say I was very pleased with the result.
A few weeks later, Frank Mir fights Tim Sylvia for the title. Frank won, but not the way he hoped, and the reporter asked me how I felt about one of my fighters going from nothing to becoming a UFC heavyweight champion. I'm not lying to you, I gave him the answer, thinking about Rick's struggle, because I needed to be enthusiastic and failed.
I wasn't worried about fame or the crown, but I still had a brotherhood mentality. Frank was also a friend – he became like a son to me – but the training and results were not like Rick Davis's. So I can compare this to the choice between Cleveland and the UFC. So, if the question is why are you here and not in training in Vegas? The answer is that I get a lot more enjoyment out of teaching friends than training professionals.
You work a lot. How do you always have a smile on your face?
I do not do it! ( dares ) The truth is, this is my playground. Can you imagine how you handle your living? I don't call it work, I call it retirement. In addition, as a BJJ instructor, I put myself in the shoes of students. You leave work, your family, you go a long way to get here. We have a person who drives an hour and a half three times a week to come here. I have no right not at all to be here and not smile.
How do you stay in balance?
I have a beautiful wife and children. I can be anywhere in the world and if they are with me, I am in balance. Physically, I have to work on it. I don't drink, which helps. I just don't like alcohol, I never do it. I like to control myself. I have never used drugs or steroids. Let's face it, in 2010 you can't just close your eyes and say that steroids have gained. Steroids do help if you get the right doctor and the right dosage, but what's the point?
I am very sensitive to medication. If I take Dayquil I can sleep for two days. Also, because I've been playing sports for so long, I like to be fit, it just seems right. Обичам да се търкаля по тепиха толкова много, че щом забележа, че техниката или изпълнението ми намаляват, правя нещо по въпроса. Просто започнах отново да тичам. Никога не се притеснявам за корема си или за начина, по който изглеждат бицепсите или краката ми, но ако тичането ми дава още един тренировъчен ден, ще бягам. Не знам какво ще се случи след 50, аз просто ще кажа, завийте коефициентите и продължете. Не се притеснявам за това, което ще се случи през следващите 40 години, притеснявам се за следващите четиридесет минути!
Какво е погледът на вашия домашен любимец?
Клюка. Има забавна клюка, която е най-добрата част от обучението, говоренето на боклук и правенето на шеги, но има лоши клюки, опитвайки се да изобличим някого или да се забъркаш с репутацията им, само за да се чувстваш важен. Наистина много го мразя това и въпреки че се опитвам да не използвам думата омраза – научих децата си да не използват тази дума – но аз мразя клеветя.
Толкова много уважавам тези сини и лилави колани, които там учат джиу-джицу. Те не правят пари, вероятно имат редовна работа и разпространяват думата. Давам на тези момчета голям кредит и не ми се иска да ги чувам да бъдат критикувани само заради класирането им на колана.
Кой е най-големият ти страх?
Нямам огромен. Ако не друго, да не сте здрави и да се налага да спирате спорта. Когато бях дете, повече се страхувах да не загубя баща си, отколкото да загубя живота си, и това се случи преди няколко години. За съжаление, като остарееш, започваш да очакваш нещата и когато очакваш неща, които те не нараняват толкова.
Как определяте щастието?
Постигане. Когато постигнете цел, сте щастливи.
Спомням си, че преди години печелех много пари с бизнеса си, а брат ми правеше достатъчно, за да плати сметките, но забелязах, че е по-щастлив от мен! И си помислих: Това ли искам от живота? Това беше, когато започнах да се концентрирам повече върху BJJ. Долетях до Бока Ратон и се обадих на Марсело Силвейра, за да обядвам. Дойдох в хубавия си костюм и скъпата си кола, а Марсело се показа в джапанки, къси панталони и риза през раменете. Казах, Вие днес няма да работите? И той каза: Току що го направих.
Казах, Марсело, часовник 12 часа в следобедните часове! Кога трябва да се върнете? И той каза: Чак до утре вечер , и казах КАКВО ??
И си помислих, че нещо не е наред, той вероятно няма пари за плащане на сметките, и ние стигаме до апартамента му, и наистина е хубаво, и той има хубава кола, и всички сметки му се изплащат. И аз казах: Тук нещо не е наред и това не е той, аз съм , Така че сложих две и две заедно и казах: Завийте това ,
Значи се отказахте от компанията?
Не, не го отказах. Разбих се за първи път в живота си, така че казах, че просто ще правя това, което ме прави щастлива. И не можах да спра да мисля за брат си и Марсело, те наистина са щастливи и не съм. И аз казах: Аз няма да се опитвам да спечеля милион долара, за какво? И това е, когато се преместих във Вегас. Това беше 1999 година.
Ако можехте да се върнете и да направите всичко отново, какво бихте направили по различен начин?
Нищо. Мисля, че всички грешки, които направих, ми помогнаха. Когато бях в моя MBA клас, трябва да говорите за себе си, знаете, да се представите в класа. Спомням си, че казах, че бях там само по една причина, за да науча защо нещата, които направих, се получиха добре и разбира се да науча и за грешките си. Грешките са добро нещо, ако ги поемете по правилния начин. Точно като отношенията. Бях женен преди и се научих от това. Приятелства също. Ако някой направи нещо, което не харесвате, вие просто не си отидете, опитайте се да го поправите.
Къде се виждате след 20 години?
( Смее ) Няма 20 години, 20 минути! Целта ми е да се търкаля за 10, да почива за 5 и да търкаля още 10.
Имате ли герой?
Имате ли мото?
Две. Няма правилен начин да направите грешно. И полуистина е пълна лъжа.