We’re in San Francisco, California, where Carlos Sapao’s academy sits just feet from Ocean Beach, a sprawling shore along the Great Highway 1, flocking with seagulls and of course, local surfers and tourists. Even though it’s foggy and raining, it still gives you a little taste of the Barra da Tijuca , Brazil vibe—sand, surf and jiujitsu. This is exactly Sapao’s intent—to bring Barra to the Bay.
Sapao left Barra da Tijuca, Brazil, home of Gracie Barra, in 2001, when his instructor Ralph Gracie invited him to come to the U.S. to train and teach JiuJitsu. Now, nearly 10 years later, Sapao has began his own version of Barra to the States. This year, he opened his academy, “Barra Brothers” with close friend and teammate Alexander Crispim. Each of them has their own academies under the “Barra Brothers” name.
On Saturday, the Barra Brother had his childhood friend from Rio de Janiero in town. Rolles Gracie was in house to catch up with Sapao, spend time training at Fairtex, and also hold a BJJ seminar at Sapao’s academy. Rolles, son of Rolls Gracie, is a black belt instructor under Renzo Gracie and although he continues to be a regular at Renzo’s in Manhattan, he has started his own academy in nearby New Jersey. About 25 students attended the 2 ½ hour seminar, along with three visiting black belts. Rolles’ was true to his Gracie roots with the seminar technique choices, working fundamental Gracie JiuJitsu basics from the feet and closed guard. To wrap up the seminar, Rolles and Sapao each took time to reinforce what many BJJ students hear from their instructors—train more, train even more, and your jiujitsu will improve heaps and the belts will follow. More mat time will bring you what you seek!
Carlos Sapao, Barra Brothers, Ocean Beach San Francisco: www.barrabrothersacademy.com