From:graciemag.com

Rafael and Guilherme in Panama. Photo: Personal archives

Together or apart, Rafael and Guilherme Mendes have been around the world, whether in Panama, Morocco or the United States. On their trip, besides teaching the techniques that brought them to the status of world champions, they found time to visit child cancer patients, Sheikh Tanhoon, and do a bit of tourism. Now the duo is already onto its next commitment, but in competition. Rafa en Guilherme are getting ready for the November 20 Rickson Cup in Kawasaki, Japan.

“We’re already in Brazil training hard because we’re pretty much sure to compete at the end of the month in Japan. We spent a week outside Brazil and now we’re back and will continue our physical conditioning word, which is geared towards this competition. We trained a lot this week with Claudio Calasans, Bruno Frazatto, Eduardo Ramos, Gigante and some of the Atos black belts. We’re confident as always and we’re going out there to win!” warns Guilherme.

“Our trip was great! We went to Panama, where we had a great seminar. The gang loved it and, thank God, we’re coming up with great results with our seminars. I feel we’ve put together a class curriculum for teaching position that’s different from the rest and has been a success,” remarks Rafael.

But that’s not all that went on during the trip.

“After Panama, Guilherme went on to Florida to teach at some of the academies there and visit Disney World, and I went on to Morocco to train with Sheikh Tahnoon. That was great too! Guilherme enjoyed the training he did at some of Renato Tavares’s ATT branches. He was able to teach our positions and even visit Disney. And I had the honor of training with the Sheikh again. I’m really happy about having his recognition. It’s great. Tahnoon is someone really interested in our sport and is very intelligent; he’s always up to date and knows new positions. It was a great pleasure once again!”

In Panama, the Mendes’s didn’t just limit themselves to seminars and training. They took the chance to visit and provide support for child cancer patients.

It was a great experience. We visited Amigos, a foundation for child cancer patients and we were able to learn a lot from them. We learned about determination, will power and faith. They are great examples of overcoming adversity, since even with the illness, they don’t seem to be overwhelmed by it, they seem happy, smiling and playing, showing just how superficial our problems are! And we’re already setting up a return trip there in the summer, when they will camp out and have a bunch of activities we plan to participate in!” says Guilherme.

After Rickson Cup, the brothers will continue on their trip. Jiu-Jitsu can’t stop!

“We created a teaching method whereby our seminars are productive from white belt to black belt, not just with positions, but also in terms of concepts and variations. Folks are liking it and, just this year, we visited countries like Ireland, USA, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Canada, Panama, and Turkey… In December we’ll return to Canada, to Pura BJJ academy. We’ll also go to Hawaii, to Gracie Kailua. When we return, we’ll continue training and we’ll concentrate entirely on the European Championship, says Rafael in closing.