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Next Level Guy

Nov 28, 2022

Today’s guest is the BJJ legend that is Bernardo Faria!   

It is a huge honour for me to feature Bernardo Rocha de Faria, who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor and instructor.

His bio is amazing. A four-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, European Champion, Pan-American Champion and Brazilian National Champion and now he runs a juggernaut of a BJJ learning platform known as BJJ Fanatics, where you can find an instructional that will help you improve your BJJ game in all areas from training, game styles, mindset and so much more.

He has become a living legend in the sport. In February and March 2013, Faria was ranked first in the IBJJF World Ranking of all divisions, and was chosen as the best jiu jitsu athlete of 2015. Faria received his black belt from instructor Ricardo Marques in 2008, and moved to the Alliance Jiu Jitsu Sao Paulo team to train with mestre Fábio Gurgel in 2009. In June 2022 Faria was inducted in the IBJJF Hall of Fame.

Bernardo Faria currently runs his own Jiu Jitsu academy in Bedford, Massachusetts. He is a member of Alliance Jiu Jitsu team and Marcelo Garcia Association.

I am a massive fan of his YouTube channel, "BJJ Fanatics", where he regularly posts techniques alongside other elite Jiu Jitsu practitioners and MMA fighters such as Dean Lister, John Danaher and Gordon Ryan.

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Here are some key points that I would advise you to concentrate on

  • Getting to the top is usually just the start of you really working towards becoming an expert so you should enjoy the journey rather than the destination.
  • Bernardo went outside the traditional roles that his family expected them to take on as a career, he went for the career he wanted in life. Stop following the path that others have picked for you, it is your life, follow the path that you want in life. Regret is a horrible thing when you live a life for others.

  • Bernardo picked some techniques that he could become a specialist in to win most of his matches. Instead of trying to learn everything in BJJ, he become a god in using certain moves to win. Invest your energies on become highly skilled in some areas, become a specialist over a generalist, and once you have locked in these key areas, then look to expand your skill set, rather than be pretty good at most, become legendary at some.
  • Bernardo trains against all potential partners and learns how to overcome their methods to learn how to then go to his preferred methods, rather than just drill a method. He learnt how to use his skills in real time against resisting opponents, rather than just drilling the mechanics of the move. This way he learned how to apply the move against his opponent regardless of the situation and could manoeuvre the opponent into the situation he needed to apply his strengths.
  • Bernardo used his small wins to build his confidence each day, so he could figure out how to be confident in competing and believing he could win tournaments. Like everyone else Bernardo has to fight his negative self-talk, so he learnt to focus on his wins to grow his confidence and using loses as a learning curve rather than a weakness.
  • Bernardo used incremental improvements to become a better fighter.
  • Bernardo likes to utilise a routine in his training, to use his work ethic to continually grow, develop his skills and uses it as a restart, regardless of his win or loss, he centers himself by following his training routine so he is always in the moment, rather than living in the past.
  • Bernardo states he owes a lot to his parents support. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time around. Choose wisely. Pick the people that support you, inspire you and push you to become a better person.

    • Bernardo continually pushes himself, despite being a legend, he wants to learn, to see new things, try and learn as he trains rather than resting on his laurels.
    • To become the best, Bernardo had to travel, to move away and attend the elite academies etc. You may need to sacrifice and leave your current location, to achieve the dream that you want in life. To achieve your dreams, you may need to use short-term sacrifice to find the resources that you will need to achieve your dream.
    • Sadness will not pay your bills. Every day is a new opportunity.
    • Bernardo likes to approach decisions using an analytical mindset and remove emotions.
    • Bernardo always wants to do his best every day. It is a good way to look at your performance, you know truthfully if you gave your best performance, and if not, what do you need to do to fix? If you did and still lost, how can you get better for next time? Where can you improve?

  • Bernardo continually tests new options, recovery methods, training methods etc, to see what changes will help his overall performance in his end goal. He likens this to AB testing like you would see in business, engineering etc. How can you trial new methods into your own training to see how it benefits your overall performance?
  • Online courses are a great tool but must be utilized along with actual real-life training. Use the online courses to deep dive into the subjects and skills you are using during rolls etc.
  • Bernardo uses psychological tricks to let him become focused in his rolls or competitions. He would list the things he was grateful in his life, training, progress etc, to focus on the positive aspects of his training, and then use each small win to boost his confidence as he went on.
  • "Instead of feeling pressure about it, I would try and feel happy about it".
  • "You can choose if you feel pressure or enjoyment".
  • "Everybody is the same on the mat" there is no differences regardless of race, age, etc.
  • The lessons you learn from BJJ can be used to help you through life.
  • Self-improvement advice is just that advice! You don't need to do what everyone else is doing, you can find the routine and habits that will hep you the most. Keep experimenting and trying new things, to see what works and what happens.
  • BJJ is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. There are gyms all over the world. Do not settle, you can find the right gym for you, the best coach, the type of classes you need to attend, the type of opponents - those who are fighting to compete or those who just want to get fit and learn something new and everything in between.