WE ARE CARLSON GRACIE…
„…and that’s the way it is in the ring. Who ever shows up on the way in, is going to have to fight against my fighters.” Carlson Gracie Sr.
The IBJJF European Championship is the second largest BJJ tournament in the world. Thousands of athletes are traveling every year to Lisbon to fight for the titles. As well it is really important for us to participate, show our flag and represent our roots.
This year we had the honour to fight the 2018 Europeans united with our friends and family from all over the world as a Carlson Gracie Team!
101 bull dogs stepped on the mats and fought their battles to keep the legacy alive, dedicate this special time in the year to give back and show our greatfulness for our Masters, who paved the way for us. This was our big chance to prove our words with the matching actions, the behave that reflects and at the same time creates our loyalty to the team.
The mats are the fields where the real team loyalty is shown, our fighting army of coaches and teammates who have faith in each other and trust in our training, the faithfulness to our commitments which doesn’t let us give up and the bond between us which gives us the strength to fight until the end and make every second count.
This is what our Master Sergio Zimmermann is chasing with our international Pound for Pound Team: connecting people from different countries like Germany, Portugal, Italy, Bosnia and many more, who have the same ideals, interests, and belief, who pursue the same goals and are willing to work to make this world a better place and give us a better life through the values of the BJJ.
People who „speak“ the same language on the mats and understand each other without the necessity of using words.
The reward of our loyalty are 8 European Championship Medals (4x GOLD, 1x SILVER, 3x BRONZE) but even more, it is the pride to be part of that family, the fact that we gave everything we could on the mats and the lessons we have learned which already makes us better than yesterday.
One of the greatest fighters of human rights, Mr. Nelson Mandela, once said:
„After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb“
One more hills is done but our feet are not tired yet.
The IBJJF Munich Open is already calling and we are ready to defend our title and represent our house again this Sunday!
We would like to thank everybody who took part of that tournament, all fighters, teammates, trainers, families and friends, and especially our beloved brothers and sisters who couldn’t fight with us because sometimes life gives us battles we have to win outside of the mats.
Thank you all for the loyalty, strength & support!
See you all soon on the mats!
IT ALWAYS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT´S DONE
On the 7th of October 2017 the first ever IBJJF German National Championships took place in Berlin.
For the Pound for Pound Team it was a pleasure to witness how much Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is growing in Germany and it felt epic to share this historical moment with around 500 athletes who fought with all their souls on the (first time) 8 mats and filled up the hall with an indescribable energy.
As all of us know, life sometimes gives you lemons and some of our teammates weren’t able to join us on the battlefield this time so we went to the big city with only 20 fighters – fighters who came all the way not afraid to deal with hardships and failures, fighters with their hearts filled with passion and the focus on our mission.
Even our chance to get the team win wasn`t auspicious, we didn`t lost our faith.
The lowest chance is still a chance if we have the courage to take it.
Believe: check; Optimism: check; Commitment: check; Dedication: check; Hope: check;
We fought until the end with the support and loyalty of our Pound for Pound family from all over the world and made the 2nd team place in the overall Gi division!
This outstanding performance of 21 titles with only 20 fighters speaks for itself
(8x 1st place / 6x 2nd place / 7x 3rd place)
Grateful for our team win we brought the trophy to the place where it belongs, a place where we train hard on our weaknesses, sweat together on the mats and work through our emotional ups & downs – this place we call home.
HOME, where people are waiting who cheer for you, believe in you and lift you up when nobody else does it. This every-day-heroes who come to the gym without complaining even if they`re tired, injured, sad or unmotivated…people who challenge you and get the best out of you, people who help each other sharpen their skills and overcome obstacles.
This people we call FAMILY – A family that makes us strong and we are truly thankful for because nobody can improve alone, nobody can fight alone and nobody can win alone.
„As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.“ Proverbs 27:17
There exist a well-known proverb about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and its positive affect on social relationships that says „bjj connects people“.
This May our team fought on different fronts in different countries at the same time so we couldn’t stay all together physically, but we fought with the force of our team connected in our minds and hearts. Team spirit has no boundary, so we all stepped on the battlefield with the united power of our Pound for Pound family.
Of course everyone of us went into the fight with his or her individual goals, but we walked the walk together, striving in the same direction to give our best, have fun and enjoy the moment.
In overall we came back home with 3 medals from Zurich and one medal from Zagreb as well, plus one of our brothers won the ticket to the Grand Slam Tournament in London next year. All of us fought good fights, some won and some lost, mostly very close by points. But it`s not all about the medals. A gold medal is beautiful thing, but if you`re not enough without it, you will be never enough with it.
The real fight was fought every day in the preparation and our toughest opponents were the people we saw every day in the mirror. The effort is between you and you, coming to the gym every day sweating your ass off, no matter if you had a hard day at work, dealing with pressure or adversity, no matter if you`re sick, injured or tired. A true champion wins in his mind first, it is a decision, a commitment you make and the actions will follow your thoughts.
Yes, sometimes a small mistake costs you a fight, but the knowledge and the experience you win are priceless. In bjj there is no losing, you either win or learn and you will never stop learning. If you ever think you know all about it, it will jump on you and hit you as hard as life. Sometimes you have to get worse before you improve, sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward, nothing is tougher than facing your weaknesses and start working on them and this is exactly what we do – together, always connected!
how it tastes to win or loose
Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland and belongs to the places with the highest standard of living worldwide.
The term standard of living is the general well-being of individuals and societies, outlining negative and positive features of life. Individuals – those with individual passions and peculiarities, which leads us to the topic:
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – a special individuality that flows through our veins, connect us deeply within and one another and for which we take emotional and physical hurdles again and again – because we love to do it!
On May 9th and 10th, 2016 the annual IBJJF Zurich Open took place and the Pound For Pound Team went there with 15 fighters. For some it was the very first tournament, a few others extended their first experience in a new belt division, some of us fought in a totally new weight class and had to face opponents with different size and therefore new physics.
Seen overall we all strove for the same objectives:
exceed limits, control our thoughts, overcome fear, bring the best possible performance, test our skills, have fun, keep together and never give up!
The most notable motivation for all of us was definitely our professor, Sergio ‚Canudo‘ Zimmermann, who due to an injury had to accept a loss after being undefeated for several years.
Despite strong pain he fought for our team until the last second of the match. He made the 2nd place in his division, but he stepped off the mat as a winner.
Most people would give up at this point, which brings us back to the remarkable individuals – it didn`t take long until he stepped again on the mat with a mission in mind and how could it be otherwise, he made the first place and won gold in the Open Class!
What do we learn from that?
Nothing is impossible, we can overcome everything, we just have to make the decision to do it.
„The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road; long before I dance under Those lights.“ Muhammad Ali
Winning – how does it taste?
Some of us eked out a place on the podium – we came with 15 fighters and left with 15 medals.
But how to describe an indescribable feeling ?
Overwhelming power coupled with absolute exhaustion, relief, lightheartedness, happiness and gratitude. You want to cry and laugh at the same time. But what`s next, hold on to it and rest on the victory? Impossible!
„Champions are not made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them -. A desire, a dream, a vision“ Muhammad Ali
We proudly look back on the achievements of all of our fighters because winning does not always have something to do with capturing a victory. Each time we fight we gain experience, perception, motivation and get to know more about ourselves.
Losing – how does it taste?
The realization, where do I stay with my game?
Your own self-perception burst in seconds, disappointment and doubts are spreading and too many questions are going through your mind. The first moment hurts, there’s no question.
But why do we take the risk again and again?
Because we only grow when we cross borders.
Because we only get stronger if we are brave.
Because we only learn when we make mistakes.
The result of it – we can`t lose!
It is worth fighting for all we learn and discover due to this process.
„Bjj is not about medals!“ Sergio ‚Canudo‘ Zimmermann
Tastes are different. Tastes are changing.
We stay hungry!
Rome, often called the eternal city, speaks to the imagination: her famous and glorious history as Caput Mundi, Capital of the world during the Roman Empire, as well as her renowned demise.
The 7th century author Bede once wrote: “as long as the Colosseum stands, Rome will stand;
when the Colosseum falls, Rome will fall; when Rome falls, the whole world will fall.” This passage reveals the importance and centrality of a city in general and of a specific structure in particular. Luckily for us the Colosseum, originally called amphitreatrum Flavium, still stands and what a sight it is! Upon approaching it for the first time I tried to imagine how it would be like to enter the arena as a gladiator and hopefully depart again through the Gate of Life and not through the Gate of Death.
I write extensively about the Colosseum, because the gym, Palazetto dello Sport, were we all fought, was clearly built with the Colosseum in mind. It has the same oval shape and entrances everywhere. In ancient times, these entrances were designed to structure the entry of the sometimes 60.000 spectators and to let all of them vacant the place within minutes afterwards.
Up to a point the Rome Open and Europeans BJJ No-gi may have been similar to ancient times: many different people, faces, languages, gestures, but all assembled for a similar purpose, namely either to watch or to compete. To be sure, nowadays we do not fight to the death, nor are we perceived as that which is not Roman (that is to say not civilized) yet while being at the same time highly popular and venerated by countless Roman ladies. Moreover, we fight because we choose to, not because we have to and we also do not let the audience decide our faith, whether we are about to die or live to fight another day. Still, competing in this modern-Colosseum-like structure as ‘modern gladiators’ enhanced the atmosphere.
From the Pound for Pound Team, only a handful competed. For some it was their first performance in a new belt division. For others it was another important steppingstone on their BJJ journey. Our success was this time not necessarily measured in securing many medals, with the exception of our professor Sergio ‘Canudo’ Zimmermann who secured three golden medals, but to figure out were we are at in our BJJ. What are our strengths and weaknesses? Which holes do we have in our games? For me, it was being unable to escape from the lasso-guard, for another to react faster, or to make sure to stay in your game. All these elements are of paramount importance to improve not only our BJJ, but also our mindset and general attitude.
When it comes to showing what is possible when one keeps training, our professor Sergio ‘Canudo’ Zimmermann’s performances were revealing. He won gold in his own weight class and open class gi and became European No-gi champion in his own weight class! He tapped many of his opponents under 3 three minutes. Not because he just bulldozed them with weight and strength, on the contrary, he did it with technique, patience and precision. This you develop when you test yourself infinite times on the mats. In the end, Sergio too had to go through all the hoops we are going through now and will go through.
In other words, Rome proved herself to be a stage of confrontation, change and improvement. She once again hosted a spectacle, in which the old ways have joined the new. We thank our professor and all our Pound for Pound teammates both present in Rome and at home for their support and investing in us by rolling with us.
POUND FOR POUND GOES TO TO THE EUROPEANS
In the BJJ world there are many tournaments, but when one utters the word ‘Europeans’, everyone knows exactly about what this person is talking about. In the first month of this year (20-24th of January 2016) it was organized again. And a Team, the Pound for Pound Team, counting twenty-five fighters travelled to Portugal. They accepted the challenge to step on the mats and to test their abilities to the utmost. We did well, for not only did every Pound for Pound Team member acquire valuable experiences and gave the best they had, we also brought home 5 medals, of which one was gold (Benedikt Johannes Schotthöfer – brown belt division / master 1 / male / light) and four were bronze (Miguel Maria Ferreira Mariz Ruivo WHITE / Juvenile 1 / Male / Middle, Petrit Memeti BLUE / Master 1 / Male / Light Feather, Bruno Miguel Semedo Mendes Ferreira BLUE / Master 1 / Male / Light, Mirza Karac PURPLE / Adult / Male / Ultra Heavy). Simply an amazing feat when you take into account that one bracket could count up to sixty combatants or that the PDF file containing all the fighters was more than 80 pages long!
We tend to focus on results only, because that is something tangible, something you can grab and show. But what about the intangible processes behind these results? You do not see the hardship, commitment, failures, the blood, sweat and tears that lead to success. I myself was not present during the Europeans itself, but I did witness the processes and preparation of my fellow Team members. The endless repetition and drilling; oh the single leg did not work out well enough? Then, drill longer! Thus said our professor Sergio ‘Canudo’ Zimmermann. And longer drilling they did. Eating clean, sometimes cutting weight, trying to come to training as often as possible, even though many have full time jobs and families. It is simply not that easy. For instance, because BJJ is not purely a somatic exercise, quite on the contrary, the mind is at least equally as important. The ability to move and apply techniques is one thing, but to be able to read and feel your opponent, to find the holes in his or her game and to be as swift as possible to counter react is another. The Pound for Pound Team is lucky to find such a versatile professor in Sergio ‘Canudo’ Zimmermann and to find divergent training mates who improve your game.
Another interesting feature is the aftermath: behind the scenes you most likely do not know what happens after a prestigious tournament. It does not mean that it is over it just continues and is one important stepping stone on your BJJ path. You can notice the differences in those who competed immediately when they are back on their ‘own-home-mats’. It is incredible how profound the impact is and how directly it affects and improves their abilities and tactics.
We are proud of our fighters and see you next time on the mats!