Eduardo Azevedo, Black Belt for 17 years, born and raised in Brazil, remembers how it all began and shares some wisdom from his experiences
Interviewee: Eduardo Azevedo
Location: London, UK
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Photo by: Oliver Smith
“A guy challenged me to fight a little bit like MMA, and the guy was a black belt in Judo, white belt in Jiu-Jitsu. I don’t remember if he put me down, but after I got his side control, I did something else, and he tapped.”
Seems like magic, no?
“After it, he said, ‘you have natural skills,’ but I didn’t really have natural skills; I had the older brother. The older brother is your best training partner.”
Starting back in 1993, he quickly progressed through the belts, attributing his progress to good teachers, without which he believes you will struggle to learn anything. Teachers, mentors, and people who care for you, want you to succeed, and even more so, have been there and know-how, are invaluable assets to have throughout your Jiu-Jitsu journey, and for that matter, life in general too.
When asked what he has learned over the years,
“Sometimes, you have to be selfish. You have a friend who wants to train, then when it comes to it, he doesn’t want to train. Do you not train because he doesn’t? No. Leave him there and go. If you have a dream, don’t wait for anyone.”
This approach, he believes, is what can make you not just a better practitioner but a better person when you want to accomplish something. That, and the basics,
“The basics are the key. If you don’t have a good base, you don’t go anywhere.”
When thinking about what makes a good student, Eduardo focuses on those that want to “train hard,” as that approach is the one that most resembles his own approach to Jiu-Jitu. However, he recognizes that not everyone wants to compete; some people come for different reasons – friendships, fitness, to feel a part of a team, etc.
“You need a team to help you. You need a team to support the guy who wants to fight. They’re the ones that carry the flag for the team, but when you think about the business, they’re only 3-5% of all the members of the gym. You need the guys who want to come and enjoy, lose weight, make friends, to support the team.”
Does that impact his own dreams and aspirations? Not one bit,
“My dream is to work hard. Success is a big mix. You have to get the black belt inside and outside the mats. Never give up.”
This final phrase, ‘never give up,’ is something that resonates with him in Jiu-Jitsu as well,
“I don’t have a ‘losers’ position’ in Jiu-Jitsu. Sometimes the guy swept me; as soon as he doesn’t control me, I’m going to reverse him back. Sometimes there’s one guy who every day you come to the gym he beats you up, he trains hard with you, you don’t get anything but one day you get a draw, another you get an advantage – it’s like life.
It doesn’t matter how much you got; keep going. Keep going. That’s life. Day by day.”
These words of grit, perseverance, and the desire to improve every day and the choice thereof, it is a choice, and one that everyone can make, are what attracts success on the mats when you train and off the mats when you’re at work, with your family, and in every other area of your life.
Eduardo is one incredible man, and as short and sweet as this article is, his words need no embellishment or a lengthy explanation. Put in the work, learn, be disciplined and focused in your efforts, and never give up… If you do so, success will find your address, walk to the front of your home, and knock at your door… all you have to do is let it in.