by David Zwanetz – What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? If you are reading this article you most likely know the famed story of Mitsuyo Maeda teaching the Japanese art of Jiu Jitsu to Carlos Gracie, who passed it on to his brother Helio, who passed his Brazilian techniques onto the world. History aside, BJJ, at its core, is a fighting system and sport whereby a smaller, weaker person can quite successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique. To that effect, Crazy 88’s September 11, 2011 seminar guest Caio Terra put Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s core principals on full display. Terra competes in both the Pluma (141lbs) and Galo (126lbs) divisions, but routinely enters the Open weight class divisions – and wins! Terra is outspoken regarding his distain for performance enhancing drugs, and is extremely proud that he has achieved success in BJJ, solely with impeccable technique.
Born in 1986, in Rio de Janeiro, Terra was pushed into BJJ classes by his mother at the pivotal age of 16. At first, Terra responded as many teenagers would and hardly attended class. In fact, Terra’s own website bio maintains that he probably did not know a single move until he really started training a year later in 2003. Despite his initial disinterest, the situation clearly changed. After Terra was hit with the BJJ bug, Terra trained an estimated four times per day – everyday. Unbelievably, within three years of his jumpstart in 2003, Terra received his black belt in 2006.
Staying true to his distinctive beginnings, style, and personality, Terra’s seminar was unique from the start. He gave the group of thirty attendees seven different programs to choose from. First off, anyone who comes to a seminar prepared to teach any one of seven three-hour programs is clearly not playing. After some class-wide deliberations, we chose to focus our attention on Terra’s proprietary “Terra Guard.” That being said, the “Terra Guard” is top-secret and will not be discussed further. In fact, beware, as this article will self-destruct in thirty seconds.
In all seriousness, Terra spent well over three hours giving the seminar attendees the ins and outs of a guard series that took him well over four years to perfect. Aside from technique, Terra had many wise words for the group. “Perfecting a single move is far better than knowing many,” Terra said to me as he assisted me in one of the many moves of the day. Wise words, no doubt! Terra was kind enough to stick around after the seminar and roll with anyone who stayed to train. All in all, it was an amazing day at Crazy 88 and we greatly appreciated Terra’s time and expertise. It is truly remarkable that Terra possesses such a vast array of knowledge with so much youth left in front of him. As was intended by the framers of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Terra’s size or age are irrelevant to his success and there is absolutely is no doubt that he is one of the best BJJ fighters in the world.
Terra is a four-time Rio de Janeiro state champion, a five-time Brazilian National Champion, and thirteen-time World Medalist, a two-time International Black Belt World No-Gi Champion, holding the title in 2009 and 2008, and he was the IBJJF Black Belt World Champion in 2008, silver medalist in 2011, and won the 2011 Pan.
Many thanks to Caio Terra for making to trip to Crazy 88 to give away his secrets. Many thanks to Julius Park for putting the seminar together, and for always finding new ways to improve the students and staff at Crazy 88. September 11, 2011 is an infamous day for U.S. History and it was surely a pleasure for all that attended to be in good company participating in a sport that we all love dearly.