By: Grappling Weekly
I first met Rodrigo Munduruca back in 1999. Rodrigo competed in local competitions and was the night mare of all people training BJJ, a BIG Black Belt!
When I say Big, not like Big Mac big but more like Tall Big. Big Macs the man by the way! Anyways, Rodrigo competed locally in the “Grappling” tournaments of Canada and not too much was known about him other than he could tap everyone.
More than ten years later, Rodrigo stayed in Canada, is tapping people and taking names. He’s also coaching some top UFC fighters and all the while taking Gold in some pretty big tournaments.
This past weekend, Rodrigo scored golds in the International Masters Tournament in Rio De Janeiro. As I know not too much is known about Rodrigo outside of Canada, I just had to catch up with him and get some questions in with him:
GW-First off Rodrigo, congrats on kicking butt at the Masters tournament in Brazil. Can you tell the readers how it all went down this past weekend?
Rodrigo-it was amazing, we spent the whole week training at Gracie Humaita with tons of ultra tough guys, having master Rolker, Saulo and Kron Gracie under one roof and training twice a day got me prepared for the task ahead. Also having Saulo choose me as his partner on the Absolute made me focus even more on the task ahead. I had 4 fights on my weight class, 2 submissions including the final, and only had 2 points scored against me. In the Absolute i had 3 fights, won all by subs and had the honor of being awarded with the 1st place by Master Saulo Ribeiro.
GW-Being that you are the head instructor of your school, and I cant imagine you have a ton of people your same size, how did you prepare for this tournament?
Rodrigo-i never really had anyone my size to train all my life, i was always the “big” but handsome guy, lol. That made me be more technical cause i only had small guys and wanna to be able to beat them using technique, not strength . i’ve been training really hard on my conditioning and strength everyday, i train BJJ with the kimono EVERYDAY. it doesn’t matter if i’m gonna fight mma or sub-grappling, i always train with the gi, it’s way harder and makes you use technique, you can’t muscle and slip out of positions like no-gi
GW–You are a 2 time Abu Dhabi Pro Canada Trials winner, and now World Champ. What other titles have you won?
Rodrigo-In the past when i was in Brazil i was always placing on all major tourneys ( Rio state Champ 98, 3rd worlds 98, 3rd pan am 99, many other ones in Brazil) . In Canada i won the Joslin’s, the Mind Body Soul 8 man several times, worlds master 2nd and 3rd places and a lot of other tourneys
GW-What do you feel the main differences are between a student training in Brazil and in Canada?
Rodrigo-I find is about the same, there are different types of people that come to train, those who want to do professionaly, to get in shape, as a hobbie or just to get away from the wife for a couple of hours…
GW-Tell us a little about your past. Where you trained in Brazil and how did you end up in the Great white north?
Rodrigo-I started in Judo when i was 7 years old, then in 1996 i started training with Master Sylvio Behring and Mauricio Pereira (RIP) . I was at the gym everyday all day long, I had no money to pay for classes and Master Sylvio told me ” Help clean the gym and be a dummy for all privates , help with classes and ya can train here” I guess it paid off ! I was there all day and got to learn a lot for free, Master Sylvio and Mauricao were like my parents, they shaped me in what i’m today. I came to Canada in November 1999 to teach at Bob McRobert’s gym in Winnipeg, he used to train with us in Brazil and always told me to come here to help him with his school in Canada. Best decision i ever made!
6-What is your opinion of the Jiu-jitsu in Canada and what do you think needs to be done to help its growth and organization?
Rodrigo-I think Canada is doing awesome, there is so many great grapplers in this country! There is lots to do still but i think everyone is on the right track. I would like to see in the future some IBJJF tournaments being held here, like a Canadian National Tournament or something.
Rodrigo-i like all kind of guards, i dont use that one in particular though…..i’m a big guy that likes doing guard!
8-Anyone you’d like to thank?
i would like to thank everyone along the way that helped me with my BJJ, there is so many to thank…..