Interview with Bristol BJJ Academy instructor Pedro Bessa

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Bristol BJJ academyChris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Pedro, thank you very much for coming into Enso Martial Arts today and doing an interview for our martial art of the month, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Could we begin with you telling us a little bit about yourself and your background and how and when you started in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Yeah, I started in Brazilian Jiu aJitsu when I was 13 years old, back in 96. That’s when I watched Royce Gracie fighting at a regional UFC event, where there was a sort of grand prix style where the fighters would fight each other in a knock out tournament until there was one winner and Royce Gracie won a couple of events there, the first few. I think it was the first one he won and if I’m not mistaken the third one as well. I was impressed by his performance and that’s how I started in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Fantastic. Have you studied any other martial arts, a bit of cross training?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Yes I have, when I started in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I also did Capoeira too, which is a Brazilian martial art. I did that for a couple of years and then as I got bust with Jiu Jitsu I stopped that. When I came to England I started doing Judo and wrestling because there was a lack of training of Jiu Jitsu for me so I cross-trained with a bit of wrestling, there’s some good wrestling clubs in Bristol and Judo as well.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Excellent. How would you say that that has affected you and would you recommend it?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: The cross training?

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Yeah.

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: I think it’s really good, I think Judo and wrestling compliment Jiu Jitsu really well, it’s like tea and milk.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Ha ha ha ha ha. What are your biggest accomplishments and the highs and maybe some of the lows if you have had any?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: The biggest accomplishments would be bronze medalist in the Worlds and also bronze medalist at the Europeans, the Gi; and a few state tournaments that I did in Brazil when I was a lower belt, but as a black belt those two are the main ones that I won. I think the highlight of my career was when I fought Kron Gracie in the Europeans, that was the semi final Europeans, I didn’t win the match but it was a good match, yeah I was happy with that.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Do you feel you learnt a lot from it?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Yeah I did learn a lot from it, I think not just that but by having Rickson Gracie on the mat, and then Rickson Gracie shake my hand and saying well done and sharing the podium with Kron Gracie was a good experience.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Fabulous. What would you say is the biggest positive influence Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has had upon you?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Well it gave me a lot of focus on training, a lot of focus and discipline really; and when you want to achieve something you really need to give up things and focus on what you want to do. When I started Jiu Jitsu it was just as a hobby, I used to do competitions although nothing so serious and when I got to a higher belt as a brown belt as a black belt, especially as a brown belt was a big hit because I would face a lot of guys doing Jiu Jitsu full time and for me I had my ass kicked so many times.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Ha ha ha ha

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: In competitions, it was a sense of realization that if I wanted to get somewhere I would have to get my ass in gear and train, train properly.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: If you could give one piece of advice to somebody that is beginning there martial arts journey now, what would it be?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: It would be to enjoy themselves, train because they want to get good, they want to get better not because they want to be someone or like someone. If your enjoying and having fun I think that’s the best way to train and spend your time in the gym and make the best of your time while you are training because that’s what it takes to get better and progress.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Can you tell us about your teaching career?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Yeah I started teaching when I was in Brazil helping my instructor but just teaching occasionally every now and again and when I was a brown belt I started a kids class twice a week but that was only for a few months. When I came to England that’s when I really started teaching a proper class running every week and since then I haven’t stopped.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: So when did you start teaching in the UK then?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: That was in 2005

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Ok, that’s when you came over to this country

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Yeah

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: What are your aims and goals in training and outside of training?

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Well in training it’s always to get better and improve my skills, try and learn different things. Jiu Jitsu is an art that’s constantly evolving, new moves coming on every day and I just want to try keep up with what’s going on. Outside Jiu Jitsu is to try and keep healthy as much as I can and enjoy what I like to do. I like surfing, I like travel those sorts of things, enjoy my family. You know as long as I’m healthy to do those things I’m happy.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: To finish off, could you tell us about your classes for those interested in starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Yeah, I run classes for all levels from beginners to advance. I run competition classes too, for helping the guys that want to compete. The classes I run are every day for different levels. We have classes in the day, in the lunchtime and in the evenings. For those who want to start from scratch the best time to come is for the novice classes, which are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.00pm and Fridays at 8.00pm. That’s at Bristol BJJ Academy on Merton Road.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts Bristol: Fantastic, thank you for your time and coming in to talk to us at Enso Martial Arts, thank you Pedro.

Pedro Bessa @ Bristol BJJ Academy: Thank you.

Want to find out more about the Bristol BJJ Academy?

You can visit Pedro Bessa’s Bristol BJJ Academy website at www.pedrobessa.com

You can watch this interview with Pedro Bessa here