#243 2011 BJJ World Championship Review with Alliance Jiu-Jitsu’s Fabio Gurgel and GracieMag’s Luca Atalla

by Caleb on June 12, 2011

Bruno Malfacine 2011 World BJJ Championship
Fabio Gurgel (left) celebrates with Alliance’s Bruno Malfacine at the 2011 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Long Beach, California.

The 2011 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championship is behind us, and once again it served us well. We have confirmed who the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes on the planet are, and all of us are even more inspired to go hit the mats and train more jiu-jitsu! With 2,300 competitors from all over the world (including the debut of Team Mongolia!), the event was the largest ever and by all accounts was a huge success.

Today on The FightWorks Podcast we will step back and reflect on the event with two important personalities from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community.

Fabio “The General” Gurgel is one of Alliance Jiu-Jitsu‘s leaders alongside founder “Jacare” Cavalcanti. Alliance is the most successful jiu-jitsu team in recent years (possibly of all time) and by winning the most team points at the 2011 BJJ Worlds, achieved the unprecedented “Grand Slam” of jiu-jitsu competition: they won the team trophies at the European Championship, the Brazilian National Championship (also known as the “Brasileiros”), the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and now the World Championship. Fabio joins us to discuss the historic rampage Alliance has been on and possibly uncover the secret to their success.

Luca Atalla‘s perch at his editorial desk as editor-in-chief and founder of Gracie Magazine and time on the mats as a Gracie Barra black belt have given him a rare exposure to the development of jiu-jitsu over the years. Not only has Atalla reported on every BJJ World Championship, he even competed in the very first “Mundials” back in 1996. We will discuss last weekend’s jiu-jitsu stars and bright prospects, and compare this event to the early years of our sport’s competition scene.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Simamora June 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

I’d be very interested in a leadership case study of Alliance.

From the sidelines, their success seems to be a combination of big, audacious, clear, concrete goal (win the grand slam) + strong leadership (Jacare and Gurgel) + standardized curriculum + strong organizational structure + a strategy that combines recruiting top students from other teams and cultivating homegrown champions.

These are the same elements that facilitate success for businesses, or any organizations.

Also, it struck me that their fundamentals class now includes self defense. Gracie Barra has gone that direction as well, and I wonder how much of that is due to the evangelizing work of Rener and Ryron Gracie, who a few years ago started a small campaign on Youtube and have built up a strong advocacy platform for reinserting self defense into jiujitsu at large.

Franck June 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I doubt that Alliance has been influenced by Rener and Ryron with all due respect… the lineage of Alliance goes back to Rolls Gracie…( wasn’t called Alliance of course at that time..). Also watch out for the Mongolian they have a very strong judo background and cultural wrestling history …

slideyfoot June 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Awesome news that you’ll be at the ADCC, Caleb! Hopefully you’ll be running a ‘coffee with the family‘ thing, like you do at the Mundials? For once, I’ll actually be able to make it, as a big BJJ event is finally coming here to the UK. Even if I don’t drink coffee. ;D

As to the previous two comments: on the one hand, there does seem to have been a renewed focus on ‘self defence’ curriculums since GracieUniversity rolled out, with its heavily pushed (but arguably dubious) self defence/’sport’ dichotomy. I don’t remember seeing so much online discussion of the topic before that program hit the market in 2009, and I definitely don’t remember so much talk about ‘sport’ jiu jitsu as some kind of separate category within BJJ.

Then again, I’ve only been training since 2006. Also, the perspective that jiu jitsu had become ‘watered down’ from an old self defence ideal isn’t anything new. Mario Sperry was saying it back in 1998, and there is of course that interview with Helio disseminated the same year, through Gracie Jiu Jitsu Advanced. Two years earlier, Pedro Carvalho also had a video series out, where again he emphasised the whole ‘self defence’ thing.

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