This is a new section of the blog I am starting that is intended to bring fans of Jiu-Jitsu a little closer to some interesting and talented people in the sport and help promote them. Our first feature will focus on Bruno Bastos originally from Rio de Janeiro. Bruno and his family live out in Midland, TX and run a very successful gym along with affiliates located just east in the Dallas area. Bruno Bastos has had a positive impact bringing his brand of Jiu-Jitsu to our State and can regularly be seen on the podium at most of the larger IBJJF events. In addition to competing he has developed many World Champions at various ranks.
When did you start training?
-I started training young. I was 10 years old.
When did you receive your Black Belt and from whom?
-I received my Black Belt from Professor Wendell Alexander when I was 20 years old. It came after I beat 3 black belts in a Grappling Tournament. Unforgettable!
What do you feel a new student should focus on?
-Focus on simple moves that can be use with Gi, without Gi and Self Defense situation. That's how I start my students from every age.
What would you change about how you approached training Jiu-Jitsu if you had to go back and start all over again?
-I wouldn't change anything. All the Professors that I had in my life made me become successful because of the way I learn from them. It wasn't easy but it was worth for sure!
How important is competition for development?
-Very important because Life is all about competition with take a look. You're competing for everything. It's very important understand wins, loses and how to be competitive in a competitive World.
How do you feel about students cross-training at other gyms?
-I'm not a fan maybe because I learned on the old school way but I never tell me students to don't do it because end of the day, they will prove to other that my job is well done and from that I'm able to receive visitors who can become my students once learn from me.
How do you feel about supplementing training with other forms of physical activity such as lifting weights, crossfit, running, swimming, etc?
-You must do extra work if you want to have athlete life style. So it's important for sure. But if that's not your goal(be an athlete), than I believe it isn't necessary. Sure better shape you have, easier gonna be the process, but lot people don't have time because of work, college, family, etc...
(Link for mobile users: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBNjk91cKoA)
Do you feel like BJJ is becoming watered down due to the ease of people uploading instructional videos on sites like YouTube?
-Not at all. I think videos are very welcome for Professors, Coaches and Students. You can use that to study Jiu-Jitsu BUT remember that you must training to learn and that you gonna find some trash fancy moves online.
What are your thoughts on rolling versus drilling?
-For me there is no rolling versus drilling since both are very important on the learning process. People talk about this just to get attention on my point of view.
Do you use supplements? How do you stay healthy?
-I use when I train very hard for competitions so it helps me to recovery during the day once I still have conditioning, classes to teach and the most important: Take care my family. So that said, I try to balance my diet but not been paranoid at all. After 24 years of Jiu-Jitsu (most of them just training, dieting and competing), I deserve enjoy food the way I want lol
What do you recommend for training preparation?
-Weight Lifting and Cardio done with good Personal Trainer. The training going to be done for YOU. Everyone is different, so I don't like conditioning classes for athletes. Again: I'm talking about athletes! If you're not athlete, than any extra work that you do, like Crossfit, running, etc...going to help you.
Bruno breaks down fundamental 50/50 guard pass
(Link for mobile users: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Saahp1lFzb4)
Do you think wrestling and judo are important?
-That's necessary on my point of view for you be complete. In my school you have all that and from high level Coaches for Judo & Wrestling that are competing Jiu-Jitsu(successfully), so they understand the transitions between sports, plus they have excellent resume on their own sports.
As an instructor, what does your training consist of trying to balance teaching versus training?
-Training Jiu-Jitsu 3x week minimum and the same for Conditioning. Closer to big tournaments I have good team that helps on my classes so I can train myself more the way it should be done to keep the good results.
Do you continue to study new (modern) Jiu-Jitsu and how do you go about that? Do you train with other black belts at other gyms, affiliations, etc?
-I study everything about Jiu-Jitsu: New and Old as well. People forget things... If you come to my school, you'll find myself playing berimbolo, warm guard, 50/50, etc believe or not...haha! And gonna see as well the old school style of pressure with no room for the opponent with basic moves and submissions. I do have some friends in other affiliations but when I have chance to train out of my school, I train with old teammates mostly like Vitor Shaolin, Robson Moura, Marcelo Pereira, Gustavo Dantas here in the States. When I go to Brasil, outside of my Association, I've training few times with old friends like Professor Alexandre Gigi Paiva, Leo Leite, Elan Santiago and Fernando Terere.
What is the worst injury you have experienced while training?
-Nothing in training but full separation of my shoulder while I was competing against Cyborg Abreu at the 2012 IBJJF Dallas Open. It was bad and I was winning... but everything has a reason right? I was out for almost 4 months.
Is there anything interesting you would like to say about yourself or any opinions you have on the current state of Jiu-Jitsu?
-About myself I believe that I'm just hard worker and because of this I could get good recognition. About the current state of BJJ, it's growing a lot still(with LOT room to keep that process). One very important thing now is that the black belts gonna have to qualify in order to compete at IBJJF Worlds. It's necessary and very positive step for the sport.
(Link for mobile users: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llcxdm5QV4k)
Now for my personal connection with Bruno. The gym I train out of is a Robson Moura affiliated gym. Because of their friendship and ties to Nova Uniao we were fortunate enough to have training opportunities with Bruno and his students. He regularly brings in talented people to train like Marcio Andre, Claudia Gadelha, Horlando Monteiro, Luan Carvalho, Daniel "Jacare" Almedia, and of course his talented brother, Rico Bastos. You can regularly see UFC fighters dropping in for training at BJJ Bastos Midland the likes of Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and Paul Buentello. If you have the opportunity to train with Bruno I highly recommend it.