Under the GBSG Scope is a series of interviews with Gracie Barra Black Belts around the world. In this issue, we catch up with Gracie Barra South Jakarta’s Professor Bruno Amorim during his recent trip to Singapore to find out more about his role as the Head Coach of the Indonesian Jiu-Jitsu National Team during the Asian Games 2018.

Gracie Barra South Jakarta’s Professor Bruno Amorim and some of his youngest students.

Gracie Barra South Jakarta Professor Bruno Amorim leading the Indonesian National Team at the Abu Dhabi World Pro 2018.

Originally from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Professor Bruno has been practicing the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 20 years, and has been teaching for 15. A student of the legendary World-Champion maker, Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes, Professor Bruno earned his Black Belt on the podium after winning the IBJJF Worlds in 2009. His Jiu-Jitsu journey as an instructor and competitor has since taken him to the USA, Singapore, and most recently, Indonesia, as the national team coach.

Gracie Barra South Jakarta Professor Bruno Amorim won the IBJJF Worlds in 2009.

Bruno Amorim and his Professor, Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes

Just last month, the Asian Games featured Jiu-Jitsu for the very first time, and Professor Bruno led the Indonesian Jiu-Jitsu team to compete in the Games in Jakarta. It was a tough battle for such a young team going up against more established ones, but the 32-year-old felt that despite this fact, the team held its own against opponents with many more years of competition experience under their belts.

A month before the Games, the Indonesian National Team, under the guidance of Professor Bruno and his Indonesian counterparts, brought home a whopping total of 6 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze medals from the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in Tokyo, and just before that, the Southeast Asian nation won their first ever medal at the World Pro. A seasoned competitor himself, the Brazilian national snagged a gold and bronze medal for the Black Belt, Masters 1, Lightweight division for the respective tournaments.

Bruno Amorim wins third place the the Abu Dhabi World Pro 2018.

Bruno Amorim takes the Gold at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018 in Tokyo.

Having Jiu-Jitsu national teams were globally unprecedented until a few years ago when countries around the Asian region began to prepare for the Asiad. These teams were created by pulling together Jiu-Jitsu practitioners from all over the country, regardless of affiliation.

“When you compete at tournament that is individually based rather than national team based, you representing yourself and the club at which you train. In a national team based competition, you’re fighting for something much bigger,” Professor Bruno shares.

Professor Bruno Amorim with Indonesian President and the National Team.

“You’re literally carrying the weight of your nation and the millions of people who form that nation. Indonesians are extremely patriotic, and I could see in every single person on the team, the pressure to perform, and the pride of representing their country.”

Besides coaching the National Team, Professor Bruno also teaches at Gracie Barra South Jakarta, where the team training had been held at about 5 days a week. He points out that coaching a National team is not very much different from coaching practitioners who train for leisure.

“Coaching students who train for leisure versus coaching a national team isn’t very different since Jiu-Jitsu has a very big competitive component to it, but the intensity of the training sessions do vary between the two. However, the teaching itself should still be the same. I don’t believe that just because you’re not going to compete doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the art properly,” he says. “Knowing the rules, and strategies, together will make you a better Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. If I’m teaching or training someone, regardless of what their goal is, I’m still going to want them to be the best they can be at Jiu-Jitsu.”

It will be another four years till the next Asiad, but it doesn’t seem like Jiu-Jitsu is going to be laying low in the meantime. Where does Professor Bruno see the future of Jiu-Jitsu heading to?

“I have been extremely happy and honoured to be able to contribute to this historic moment in the sport. It was a beautiful event that I believe is the first step that Jiu-Jitsu takes towards the Olympics. It’ll be the SEAGames (SouthEast Asian Games) next year, maybe the Olympics after.”