#136 Competition Nerves in Jiu-Jitsu

chris moriarty jiu jitsu
Brown belt World and Pan-Ams champion Chris Moriarty.

Man we have so much Brazilian jiu-jitsu to talk about on The FightWorks Podcast this time. In addition to a special co-host this time around, we have three segments for you.

Show me anyone who has ever entered a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition and I will show you someone who has been totally freaked out. This week we bring you the first half of an interview with Chris Moriarty, a World Champion brown belt competitor from Alliance Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Coached by Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti, Moriarty has loads of jiu-jitsu competition experience at the highest level and will share tips and techniques he uses to calm his nerves before fighting in BJJ tournaments.

Gethin Aldous is the producer and director of the upcoming movie Renzo Gracie: Legacy. Aldous will bring us all the details about the film, which covers the last ten years of the life of one of jiu-jitsu’s biggest personalities.

Cohost of The FightWorks Podcast and I will reminisce a bit about the birth of our humble BJJ internet radio show. We turned three years old this week!

We close out the show by answering listener email about getting sponsorships for BJJ competitors, and how to find the best jiu-jitsu gi.

Thanks for being with us this time around and always remember you can contact us to get your questions answered, and let us know what you want to hear on the show!

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The FightWorks Podcast: Gethin how are you doing?

Gethin Aldous: I’m doing very well.

The FightWorks Podcast: The reason we brought you on Gethin is so you could tell us about the movie that you recently produced and directed called Renzo Gracie: Legacy.

Gethin Aldous: Okay well it’s a film about ten years in the life of Renzo Gracie. Another cameraman started filming him in 1997 and followed him for three or four years, and then I took over where he left off. So basically between the two of us, we’ve been following Renzo around every single fight that he’s had for ten years, and had incredible access to him (he’s a very charismatic guy), to his world, to the fight world, and the explosion of mixed martial arts. It’s been quite an adventure.

The FightWorks Podcast: There’s some really bad films these days on MMA. I know all of our listeners are excited for a film that every one cares about as much as they do for Renzo. That’s really a great thing. Let’s back way up… Is it safe to say that you train jiu-jitsu?

Gethin Aldous: Yeah that’s how it all started actually. I injured my back many years ago and I was living in Barcelona. I thought to myself, “I need to do some exercise.” I’m not the kind of guy who can just go to the gym. I just get bored, and I just give up. So I needed something that would challenge me mentally and physically. I was walking around Barcelona and I saw a sign by Robin Gracie, who lives in Barcelona about jiu-jitsu. Now I’d seen a couple of UFCs, and I thought, “yeah I know the Gracies, I’ll go and train”. So I started training with him in Barcelona, and then after training for six months there I moved to New York because I’d met an American girl, and started training at Renzo’s academy. I’m a freelance TV director anyways, and I do this for a living. As soon as I met Renzo I thought, “I’ve got to make a film about this dude”. He’s such a charismatic guy and with such personality. He’s a visionary. So it just sort of started from there.

The FightWorks Podcast: So let me get this straight. You were in Barcelona, training jiu-jitsu, which must’ve been a wonderful experience. I’ve been to Robin’s, and I’ve trained over there, and I can only imagine what a great setting that must’ve been. It’s Barcelona for one thing, and the next is you’re training jiu-jitsu in Barcelona. And a girl was able to tear you away from that?

Gethin Aldous: [laughs] Well the truth is that me and the girl were in Barcelona together first. She tore me away with the promise of New York City. It’s equally as exciting, and before I left I checked with Robin to see if there was any jiu-jitsu in New York, and he said, “Oh, my cousin Renzo!”

The FightWorks Podcast: Now that that makes sense… I don’t know if it’s even necessary to ask “why Renzo”. I know you were training under him, but he is a special guy.

Gethin Aldous: The truth is that when I first started filming I thought, “I’m going to make a film about the Gracies.” That was the idea. This was 2001 I think. At the time Rickson Gracie had only just stopped fighting, and he wasn’t sure if he was going to carry on fighting, and Royce Gracie had only just been beaten by Sakuraba, so he still had that aura, and then there was what Renzo was doing. So at the time I thought I was going to film everyone. But the more I filmed him, the more in my opinion, there was a lot of Gracies who were doing a lot for the sport, but he was the one who put himself on the line the most to test his art. He didn’t mind if he won or lost because he wanted to test his art and he knew that every time he stepped in to the ring he would improve. And that was all that mattered. The more time I spent with him, the more that became apparent and I realized I was going to make the film about him. In the process of making the film Rhalan Gracie was around a lot, we feature Ralph Gracie quite heavily, Daniel Gracie was around a lot, we saw quite a bit of Carlos Gracie Jr. in Brazil, Renzo’s father Robson is in it. A lot of other members of the family come into it. Rickson shows up at one point. But it became about Renzo.

The FightWorks Podcast: So obviously we can expect to see the story of his last ten years or so. You’ve already alluded to the fact that it takes place overseas, here domestically in the United States… what can we expect to see when we go check it out? We’re not just seeing Renzo around New York City right?

Gethin Aldous: Yeah we went with him everywhere. Basically the guy who was following him before, is there the first time Renzo put on a pair of MMA gloves. The first time he came out of bare-knuckle. We have footage of the riots when Renzo had the fights in Brazil against Eugenio Tadeu. We had a guy in the crowd with a camera there. We have unbelievable footage of the riot. And then when I took over I went to every fight he went to. We went to Japan two or three times, went down to Brazil, went down to Hawaii for BJ Penn, Connecticut for Pat Miletich. Everywhere Renzo went, we went. It was quite an adventure.

The FightWorks Podcast: This is going to be a 2 hour film? Hour and a half?

Gethin Aldous: It ends up being about 80 minutes long. There was some sort of licensing problems, some fights from PRIDE I couldn’t license. So there’s some places I have a lot of footage, and I would’ve liked to have shown a lot more. But without the payoff of the fights, it doesn’t quite work. So yeah, it ends up being 80 minutes. Some of the newer fights are featured slightly more heavily because we had access to the fights themselves.

The FightWorks Podcast: And this is going to be debuted at the inaugural Sports Film Festival in Philadelphia at the end of October, am I right?

Gethin Aldous: Exaclty. The world premiere is going to be on the Thursday night. It’s going to open the festival, so it’s going to be Thursday the 23rd. We haven’t finalized the date but either the 23rd or the 25th. And then the DVD should be coming out shortly afterwards, a couple of weeks later.

The FightWorks Podcast: That was my next question, is where are the rest of us who aren’t in Philly going to get access to this? Will it just be via sales online?

Gethin Aldous: Yeah to start with the sales are going to come from just our website. See the film was made on a very low budget. I’d share hotel rooms with people, do whatever I could to get cheap flights. It was a labor of love. You know I’d work on other things to get the money to just follow Renzo around to film him. So we just decided, even though we had quite a few other offers, to self-distribute, because then the film will cost less for the fans, and then the film will come straight from us who put our blood, sweat, and tears into it. So I think everyone kind of wins out. And there’s at least 90 minutes of DVD extras on there, like just amazing stuff. People are going to go crazy for it. If you’re into MMA, and you’re into jiu-jitsu, which I am, you’re going to love this.

The FightWorks Podcast: So you’re saying that the contents of the DVD are actually double the length of the film itself?

Gethin Aldous: Yeah, all the stuff that we couldn’t show because we couldn’t license the fights and pay them off, well you can see all that stuff in the DVD extras. There’s some training footage… one of my favorite ones is him and his uncle Relson just sitting down and telling stories from back in the day in Brazil. Just fights that they were both in together. Yeah some great stuff in there. I made this film as a fan, for fans. I’m a big, big fan of the sport, a big fan of jiu-jitsu so it’s been a labor of love. As you can tell I’m very excited about the film. I know people who watch it are going to be just as excited.

The FightWorks Podcast: Gethin we really appreciate you coming on the show here and we will keep close tabs on things, so please keep in touch with us, if there’s any other news that we should know about, you can reach out and we’ll help get the word out. Anything else you want to let the fans know before we let you go?

Gethin Aldous: No, just I hope you enjoy it. It’s been a long time coming. It’s taken a lot of struggles, a lot to license the fights we have managed to license… Enjoy the journey with Renzo. He’s a very very interesting character.

5 Replies to “#136 Competition Nerves in Jiu-Jitsu”

  1. The thing that helps me with nerves in any competition, not just Jiu-Jitsu is something that Renzo Gracie mentions about competition..

    ” People sometimes only see it as a way to win or lose, I see it as you always win because, no matter whether you lose or win, you always win something, you always learn something, you always grow your spirit, you always grow your will and always find where your mistakes are so you can improve in the right direction”

    Whats the worst that can happen? You learn. I’ll take that any time!

  2. great interview!!!

    i’ve thought so much about my competition frame of mind and Caleb and Chris really justified some of my pre-game prep…

    i’ve always told myself: I’m nervous because i care.

    if i didn’t care about my tournament fights i would go into a fight with a ‘whatever’ attitude and not care about the outcome. but i wanna prove that i’m good at jiu jitsu and i’ve trained hard and i wanna show my teacher that i paid attention in class, and etc etc…

    but the more i compete the easier it gets i’m less nervous with each fight but still determined to win and compete…

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