We had the grand opportunity to interview a legend in the sport a 5th degree black belt and world champion the one and only Renato Tavares.
Renato Tavares comes from a small list of elite competitors, being awarded his black belt by the late Carlson Gracie Sr. ,who by any other name could be said dates back to the golden years of Jiu Jitsu, before the explosion of the UFC in recent years , before it was even called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Renato Tavares began training Jiu Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, has competed worldwide, and has maintained that notoriety ever since.
Renato Tavares is owner and head instructor at American Top Team of Vero Beach Florida and has affiliate schools located throughout the world. From South Africa to Poland, his native country of Brazil to the United States, his affiliate program has been as successful as he has winning gold in Jiu Jitsu.
We talked to Renato regarding his history with the sport and how he became what he is today, how he got started and his thoughts on illegal sports enhancement supplements in our sport.
Master Renato thank you for your time i understand you are busy and i appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions for our web magazine. You have been in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a long time , a world competitor, an incredible athlete and a great representative of our sport, can you share with us how you got started in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
I Started at Serrana Jiu Jitsu with Masters Geni Rebello and Elias Martins in 1974 after my doctor said I need to do some sport to help me breathe.
That’s incredible , it sounds like you just wanted to breathe correctly and it turned out better than expected. We understand you are an active competitor and given the recent influx of tournament venues popping up in the United States and abroad, how do you feel about where our sport is headed?
I’ve been in the sport for 37 years and I could see all the evolution from a small Martial Art to now one of the faster growing sports in the world together with MMA.
And I feel very happy, because I can live and make money doing what I love to do, like many other BJJ instructors.
And now even competitors can start to live off of BJJ with many tournaments that pay for the Champions.
Master Tavares we couldn’t agree with you more! There is nothing better than being able to make a living doing what you love to do, because when you get to that point, it doesn’t feel like work .
Getting back to what you talked about the sport growing along with MMA ,do you feel our sport can go mainstream and become as popular as MMA?
BJJ now is big like MMA, it doesn’t have the same media, but we have BJJ in all continents and in a lot of countries.
Yes, we too have seen an explosion in grappling tournaments from Brazil to Abu Dhabi, and we hope that it can gain the same notoriety and respect that MMA has gotten in recent years, we just have to keep putting in work and keep making it happen.
Funny, stories? A lot!
One time, I just arrived at the gym and Carlson Gracie Sr was showing the gym to a mother of one of the kids who just started training with us.
And he called me, “Renato, take your shirt off!” and you know, you can’t say no to your master,
so i took the shirt off and he held my neck and said. ” Look at this kid, look how strong he is, look at his abs!” slapping my stomach so hard!
And all i could do is just laugh, and hold the pain!
Ouch! I bet you had to hold it for awhile longer since the stories of the old days called for being tough and being able to withstand adversity! Becoming a black belt has its rewards i would imagine, and since there are so many people training now to become one in hopes of one day being able to get to the rank as yourself Master, what kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to achieve black belt status?
Do a lot drills, specific training, ask questions all the time and study BJJ. Because to be a black belt is to be a new beginner.
When you get your black belt you find out BJJ never ends.
Words of wisdom right from the source of not only a black belt, but a 5th degree black belt! While we all aspire to become a black belt world champ like you Master , there has been talk and speculation on BJJ competitors taking steroids and illegal sports enhancement drugs like those, what are your views on steroids and HGH and those types of supplements to gain an advantage in competition, should there be stricter testing before grappling events?
All big sports when you get to that level , people want to be a champion. And to be a champion you need to train 4 to 6 hours a day. You can see a lot people using steroids to get a fast results,especially at big events and they see those events as good exposure to make money.
I think it’s important for the sport to have a test. I think, this way we can keep the sport fair to everyone. They need to do like the big events , get the top 3 and test.
We completely agree! Since Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has had the foundation of technique and wisdom over strength and speed, we feel it is very important to level the playing field and keep those kinds of supplements away from our sport in order for it to grow and maintain longevity.
We would like to thank Renato Tavares for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions, and be on the lookout for seminars from the 5th degree black belt near you .
And for more information on Renato Tavares and ATT of Vero Beach and it’s affiliates please visit www.attverobeach.com