From: Facebook of Eartha Love Baca
California, Retirement, BJJ and Announcing Baca’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as the first and only official West Coast Cobrinha Affiliate!
We at Baca’sBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Sherman Oaks, CA had the great honor of having the one and only Rubens Charles Maciel ‘Cobrinha’ teach an exclusive 2 day seminar August 7th & 8th of 2010 here at our school in Sherman Oaks, CA. Cobrinha is not only a phenomenal Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner but a genuinely kind and honorable man. His resume extends not only the written page but the pages of time and BJJ history as well. We are proud to announce that we are the first West Coast Cobrinha affiliate in which we proudly represent the great team of Alliance as well. We hold that title with honor and pride. I had the great privilege of sitting down with Cobrinha for an exclusive interview. He freely answers many of your questions and some surprises too!
EARTHA LOVE BACA: How old are you?
COBRINHA: I’m 30.
ELB: When is yourbirthday?
C: December 24th.
ELB: How were you introduced to Jiu-Jitsu?
C: When I was 7 I trained Capoeira and a friend of mine had a school. I was teaching Capoeira and one guy started a BJJ program over there. He invited me to come over and then I tried it one day and then little by little, less Capoeira and I started loving Jiu-Jitsu. My first instructor was Mauro Pacifico. I have to say what he did for me. He is a great teacher. He always motivated me and helped me to improve my game. He also supported me when I decided to go to train with Terere. Next I want to say I am very lucky to have had so many great teachers in my life, Mauro Pacifico, Terere, Fabio Gurgel and Romero Jacare. I cannot see my life with no Jiu-Jitsu.
ELB: How old were you when the process of that change happened?
C: Actually I was 21. Kind of like everybody else, most people would say, oh you are kind of old to think about competition but I believe and I trust and I say I will work hard and make this come true.
ELB: So in about 9 years of your life you went from a white belt to an amazing black belt and many time world champion and all your other BJJ accomplishments in between that in 9 years?
C: Yes. I think you have to put goals in your life. I put a lot of small goals and then I transfer them to my big goals.
ELB: Does anyone else in your family train Jiu-Jitsu?
C: No. Actually my sister started with me a long time ago. But when I moved to Sao Paulo to train with Terere she quit – maybe one day she will train again.
ELB: Are they amazed at where you’ve taken your Jiu-Jitsu?
C: Yes, I think my mom is proud of me and my sisters and my brothers. I think they are really happy. I think they don’t understand it very much and I try to not involve them so much, but ya, my mom is my biggest fan.
ELB: Did you ever imagine your Jiu-Jitsu would open so many doors and opportunities?
C: Actually when I started Jiu-Jitsu I saw Terere and saw his picture in the Gracie magazine and I said, awe man, this guy flies all over the world and everybody else pays for him. He gets paid for everything. And I said, I think I can do that because I love this sport. And that is another reason I tried really hard. And when he invited me to come to train with him, I had to think twice. I had to go back home talk to my mom and to my family, close my business, move to Sao Paulo and dedicate my life over there. And that is what I did.
ELB: So what happened when you moved to Sao Paulo?
C: When he invited me to move to Sao Paulo of course I was not expecting it to be easy. But I just brought my back pack and nothing else, but my gi’s of course and I said, I’ll be there to train. So I was training in the day and it became night and he said, goodnight. I said goodnight. And then I said, hold on a second, where am I going to sleep? And he said you will sleep here on the mat. I said, on the mat? He said, ya, for tonight if you don’t mind. I said,ya of course not, I said what else can I do. I was sleeping there for 3 months! Believe me, it was really cold. Maybe he was testing me. Everyday was a challenge for me. In my life I believe if you want something it is about sacrifice and time. You have to put the time.
ELB: What countries has your BJJ taken you to?
C: Japan, Korea, France, United States, Canada, Spain, Dubai, Jordan, Abu Dhabi. I’m heading to the UK for the first time later this year, and I have talked with many other schools in Europe that I look forward to visiting, and I’ve been trying to get to Australia for nearly a year.
ELB: That is amazing. Most people don’t get the opportunity to travel that much in their lifetime.
C: Yes, I never thought I would fly anywhere by myself, I could not make it. I never thought in my life I would fly to United States.
ELB: You are also about to embark on a UK tour. That is exciting! Where are you going?
C: Yes, I’m really excited! I’m going to the UK. It will be my first time there.
ELB: Is there a story behind your nickname ‘Cobrinha’?
C: Yes, when I started Capoeira I was really flexible and my master, his nickname is Taroba, so the first time he saw me move he said, oh this guy moves like a snake, like a Cobra. At first I was afraid of it, I didn’t like being called a Cobra. It was like calling me sneaky. He said no it is because you are really flexible and you move like this, like really smooth, and but he said I was little, like a little Cobra. Then the guys called me Cobrinha – Cobrinha, and they tried to make fun of me. I said please don’t call me this. And the more you don’t like your nickname the more they will say it every single day! And today, now if someone calls me Rubens Charles Maciel sometimes it takes me a second to respond but if they call Cobrinha I know right away they are calling me.
ELB: You also train in Capoeira, what is your rank or title?
C: In Capoeira we have an instructor then teacher/professor then contra master and then you have a master. I am a contra master in Capoeira. That is my area. I did it for 14 years. I started when I was 7 years old. I love it. I still love it. It involves alot of things for me. It is an art likeJiu-Jitsu.
ELB: How has Capoeira helped your Jiu-Jitsu?
C: I can tell you, it has helped me about 40- to 50%. I think for my flexibility and my body control and balance. Jiu-Jitsu involves all of those things.
ELB: What would you say are your strongest positions and on the other hand, what positions have you struggled with in the past?
C: I try to be complete. Sometimes I’m trying for one position and then I’m trying for another position, but when I see I’m there…I don’t know how…is taking the back. Somedays when I train I try to avoid it. I try very hard. But when I see I’m already there, I say wow, I take it. I think it has become my favorite because when you catch someone in an arm bar they can escape, but when you take somebody’s back it is hard. They still can escape of course but when you take your arm and go around their neck it is over. They can be a strong guy, a big guy, but they will tap.
When I started I struggled with passing the guard. My flexibility and balance has helped me. I had to work really hard to learn to pass the guard. But today I love it. For me to be on top or bottom, if you ask me, I say I will take what they give to me.
ELB: So for all of us who still struggle with that, we don’t have to feel so bad!
C: Lol, ya, it is hard but the one thing that is most important is when you are starting and you are learning to pass the guard and everybody wants to be on top but nobody wants to be on bottom. In Jiu-Jitsu your guard is everything. Most everything. So you have to learn how to defend yourself, protect yourself, and don’t let the other guy pass your guard. Still of course it happens sometimes. But to pass guard becomes easy. It’s harder to play guard. You’ll figure out how to pass because you have to.
ELB: What positions are you focusing on right now?
C: Right now I am training on the sit up guard. I like that right now. I do it with gi and no gi. It’s awesome. I like to try new things.
ELB: What are the main things that have helped you in your overall training?
C: When I’m going to start to train, for example, for the world championship, one thing is I have to be really patient with myself. You have to. It involves a lot of things, not just the training; it’s the diet, a lot of things in your life. I have to do specific training and position drilling and drilling and nobody wants to do that. And the one thing I know that will get your Jiu-Jitsu to the next level is drilling.
ELB: Do you have a specific training partner for those times?
C: Ya, when I’m in Atlanta I call 2 guys that I know will train with me. But this time for the last world championship I went to Brazil. It was great training over there. I was there for 25 days. Just pure focus.
ELB: Do you think there are certain dynamics or any at all between male and female athletes fighting in Jiu-Jitsu?
C: That is a very interesting question. I would say the females are more aggressive in competition. I think they are equal.
ELB: Do you get tapped out often during training?
C: I try a lot of new things when I’m training, so I sometimes find myself in more difficult situations. If you try new things of course someone may pass your guard, take your back or finish you, but that is the way to improve your game. You cannot have an ego, if you will not try new things. So if you don’t try maybe nobody will pass your guard, but the one thing…you will not learn anything anymore. You will not put your Jiu-Jitsu to the next level because you don’t try. If your ego is in the way of learning and you are only thinking of not being submitted that is sad. I have to tell you, you will not learn anymore Jiu-Jitsu. In competition I will try what I know, but first I have to try in training. I come here to learn. I come here to learn something. So if I think I know everything I will never grow. Might as well just quit everything, retire, just watch TV, because I know everything. For me I feel like a white belt every single day. That is the way I keep learning.
ELB: When was the last time you got tapped out during a competition?
C: I have a pretty good defense and have trained and conditioned my muscle memory – don’t extend my arm – of course they will force you to commit some mistake. Jiu-Jitsu is all about that. Sometimes everything’s perfect here but I put my leg over there so he’ll catch it and I’ll put him in a triangle, or sweep him and make him post his hand in some place, was good for him but at the same time will be bad for him. Bait and strategy. So to be honest with you, in my weight class I really don’t remember when the last time was. But there was one that sticks out, it was 2008. The absolute and I was winning and I swept the guy and he caught me in a triangle with my arm and my leg and I was trapped.
ELB: Out of all your fights whether in competition or training at home, do you have a favorite that you feel most proud of your accomplishment?
C: When I got my black belt in 2006 it was my first world championship and yes, I was really proud of myself for this competition. I had 6 tough fights. Nobody knew me. They put me in a horrible bracket. So that is my favorite.
ELB: You have accomplished so much in the BJJ world. You’ve taken BJJ to such a high level that only few can even dream of achieving. Is there still something that you strive to accomplish further in BJJ?
C: For me, Ithink Jiu-Jitsu is still a baby. I want to make sure one day it is a very professional sport that they can be on TV like the UFC. But for that we have to change our mind about the competition. Some people they go just for the medal. That is really sad. That slows down the sport. When you go over there and fight of course sometimes you cannot finish your opponent but the philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu is you have to solve your problem. You have to finish. So wherever you are you have to try to finish. Because if you don’t finish somebody else is going to solve their problem and finish you. That brings it down when people only fight for medals. Just to say they won. That would be a really boring show to watchon TV. Lol.
ELB: You’ve mentioned retirement this year. We know you are a highly competitive athlete. Do you think retiring is still possible? Or, do you think it will be more of a break and then you will be back?
C: I really want to take a break. Cobrinha is not done. I have been working really hard. I completely understand people don’t want me to retire. But there are so many things involved in training and especially for the world championship, which is a big tournament. I cannot work. I have to spend 3 months just training hard. We go over there, and I’m not complaining, but we fight for a medal and not a financial prize, 10K or 20K to win. I would like to see one day that it will be possible.
ELB: With all due respect to you and the Mendez brothers, everybody always asks the same question about any animosity or the “Super Fight” – so I will ask you a different question, are you sick of the subject yet? And is there anything you would like to let your fans and readers know regarding the subject?
C: You know, actually I was in Korea and landed in Detroit, checking my e-mail and the guys invited me to fight and without thinking about it I said yes, I’m in. I am really competitive. And for 10K right now in our sport is great and for one fight is awesome. Of course the world championship gives you the prestige and then you can fight all over the world, but 10K for one fight,I say, why not, I’m in. Just let me know when and where and I’ll be there for sure. I was thinking about the money, today they come with 10K, tomorrow maybe 20K, 30K, 40K whatever, but we have to start somewhere. As for our rivalry, it is only on the mat. We keep everything really professional. It’s not personal, it’s just a sport.
ELB: How many affiliates do you have worldwide and where are they located?
C: Right now I have 4. One in South Carolina, Spain and Korea. And now to add Baca’s BrazilianJiu-Jitsu in Sherman Oaks, California.
ELB: We at Baca’sBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu are very proud and consider it a great honor to be your first affiliate on the West Coast. Can you give the readers your opinion of why you believe we will be a qualified to represent your name?
C: I was really happy when I received Steve’s call regarding becoming an affiliate with you. When I met you both in Atlanta for privates in 2009 I felt very comfortable. Sometimes when you meet someone you feel very comfortable, that is what I felt with you. That is great for me. For me it is an honor to have you as my affiliate. I will help you as much as I can. It is my pleasure.
ELB: Thank you Cobrinha. We are very honored to represent you and team Alliance.
C: You are welcome.
ELB: What did you think of your visit here in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles and the seminar this weekend?
C: It was really great. I really enjoyed my time here. It was fantastic for me. The thing for me is when I teach the seminar I learn so much its incredible. We I train with people they have a different game and then you have to change your game at the same time. Everybody is different.
ELB: When you mentioned coming to California at the World’s it was like a shot heard around the world! Everybody wants to know what you have in mind. Is there anything you would like your readers to know?
C: When I was doing the interview with Budo Videos I said I really want to move to California one day. I’m still thinking about it. I don’t know when. I love it here. It’s beautiful weather.
ELB: What is the best thing you do for your health?
ELB: You eat so well – when you feel like cheating what do you eat?
C: Strawberry ice cream!
ELB: What main things inspire you in life?
C: My mom. The way she works. The way she takes care of us.
ELB: What is your favorite thing to do when you have nothing to do, which is probably very rare, ?
C: Watch movies with my wife.
ELB: What is your biggest pet peeve?
C: To be quiet. If I have to sit still and be quiet it kills me! I want to move and stretch.
ELB: OMG, those long flights must have killed you!
C: Oh ya, 14 hours! But when I flew back it was beautiful because I got to fly in first class! Oh wow, was great!
ELB: What is your idea of fun?
C: To bake.
ELB: Outside of training what do you love to do?
C: Bake and I love to read. Biographies are myfavorite.
ELB: What are your recommendations for someone who strives to be on top in the BJJ world?
C: First, they have to put goals in their life. It’s all about patience. They have to put time. One of my favorite phrases that I use a lot is: “Never let things happen, MAKE them happen.” One student came to me and asked why I say that. I say it because you cannot let things happen in your life. You have tomake them happen. If you wait, nothingwill happen. You have to work. You have to put in time. If you want something in your life it is about sacrifice. When I say sacrifice, somebody else is watching a movie, or with his girlfriend, and then you are here training, drilling and drilling. I believe if you want to be the best at what you do you have to spend a lot oftime. It is not easy to be the best because we have a lot of fighters in Jiu-Jitsu. It doesn’t matter what you do, you have to dedicate yourself.
ELB: Is there anything else you would like to say?
C: I want to say about my retirement. I have to take a break but I will be back. I love what I do. I really appreciate what everybodyhas been doing for me, inviting me to seminars and treating me like you have treated me this weekend. I really appreciate everything and it has been a pleasure to be here.
If you would like to schedule a seminar with Cobrinha please contact him directly at: http://rubenscharles.com/