Recently Budo Jake got the chance to sit down with the well-known BJJ author Kid Peligro to ask him few questions about his Jiu-Jitsu training and the power of reading a book!
Budo Jake: You are well known for your excellent work in writing some of the best books on BJJ. Who were the main influences on your Jiu-jitsu and what was the biggest lesson you got from each of them?
Kid Peligro: I've been fortunate to have had some amazing Masters and many other tops influence me on Jiu-Jitsu. I consider my Masters Royler Gracie and Rickson Gracie. While I started with Nelson Monteiro, almost right away I was fortunate enough to take lessons from Rickson. At first it was privates, then I'd once a week hang out all day and watch him teach. Then as our friendship evolved even more I'd spend all day with him surfing, eating, talking and of course learning. Then after the first UFC he got busier and it was almost impossible to find time with him. So I began going to Brazil for one month at a time and would spend almost half the day at the Gracie Humaita Academy. I'd take a private from Royler early in the morning, watch and/or help the other privates in the morning, then come back later in the afternoon for more JJ. I believe both influenced me tremendously Rickson pretty much set up my base of JJ and Royler added so much from his style and technique. I consider myself super fortunate to have had such Masters.
*Rickson Gracie and Kid Peligro
*Kid Peligro, Royler Gracie, and Sussi - Kid's Wife
The biggest lesson from Rickson, besides so many life lessons, was about understanding what Jiu-Jitsu really is, the essence of the art and learning to figure out how to solve problems and to be comfortable in any situation. From Royler I learned how to train how to strategize and how to take the most advantage of my physical qualities or lack of physical qualities.
More recently, even though we've been friends since childhood, I've been fortunate enough to share a lot of time with Master Pedro Sauer, first we went to Abu Dhabi back in 2001 by invitation of Seikh Tahnoon. We spent time there training everyday. We actually became stranded there as we were supposed to return on 09/11. So we had a lot of time to talk, train and for me learn. Besides being a real genius in JJ Master Sauer is a great person. I've learned a lot about life from him and, since we are talking Jiu-Jitsu, I learned a lot about being dangerous. Master Sauer likes to be always looking for a submission. He uses every movement and every moment to set up a submission. That has helped my game tremendously.
Along the way there were many others that helped and influenced me, two that come to mind that had a big effect on my vision are Leo Vieira and Fernando "Terere" as well. From Leo I learned a lot about passing and from Terere a lot about movement and sweeping.
Budo Jake: Many Jiu-jitsu practitioners are motivated by competitions. Did you ever compete? What was the drive that kept you doing Jiu-jitsu all these years?
Kid: Yeah I competed in the first Worlds and the 2000 Masters and Seniors. But I believe competition is just one part of a greater good that Jiu-Jitsu is. There are lots of reasons that kept me in Jiu-Jitsu for all these years, first and foremost is that I love the art. I simply love it! I can't imagine my life without it. I love the challenge of training, sparring, learning and especially teaching. I love the friendships and the time on the mat. I love moments I am under duress, almost being submitted. I love escaping from difficult situations.
Jiu-Jitsu is so unique that it becomes a part of our lives, my wife is a Black belt under Royler and we have trained so many times it is not even funny. It has helped us be closer and helped us understand each other more. So it is easy for me to keep going, I look forward to it always.
Budo Jake: BJJ has spread worldwide in recent years. Most people are excited about the growth while others complain that things were better in the "the good old days" before positions like inverting, 5050, and lapel guard were popular. What's your take?
Kid: Ha, I loved the good old days because we were so few and it felt we were so unique and special but I love the new days with so many people getting the benefits of BJJ and so many new and exciting things happening. More events, more information, more academies, BJJ everywhere. I like most of the new competition techniques except some of the ones that really stall. I believe that is more the problem of some individuals that like to stall and use some of these positions to do just that. I am sure some more active refereeing would take care of that. But for me there has been too much emphasis on competition and not enough attention is paid to self-defense. Self-defense was what attracted me to BJJ and it is still what attracts most beginners as one can see the usefulness and practicality of the techniques. A Martial Art is supposed to give us many things and one of them is the ability to defend ourselves and without the self-defense we don't have that.
I personally focus my Jiu-Jitsu on an ability to defend myself from assaults and even in my sparring I am Ok to give up a position if I believe I can still survive and defend myself rather than use too much power and spend lots of energy to avoid a reversal or something like it and have nothing left in the tank later to keep fighting.
Budo Jake: You have many years of training under some of the best instructors in the world. Are there any areas of BJJ that you are working to deepen your knowledge of now?
Kid: Yes, teaching helps me develop all areas of BJJ as I need to expand my understanding of the techniques and concepts so I can translate that information to another person. I specifically like to focus on understand and developing concepts that can be applied in many positions and situations rather than worry about individual techniques, as individual techniques are limited to be used in certain specific situations while concepts can be applied in a variety of different situations.
Budo Jake: Last question, you have recently released a book on the Closed Guard and two books by Pedro Sauer. There are many ways to consume BJJ knowledge nowadays including DVDs, Apps, and books. What do you think is the ideal learning method? What is the ideal ratio of studying both on and off the mat?
Kid: I believe all these ways have their benefits. DVD's and Apps have motion so it illustrates the movements. Apps are more portable than DVD's but the screens are generally smaller. Books on the other hand are useful because you can really study each picture or each position slowly, in detail, go over and over and check the exact placement that the author has his or hers body. That coupled with the explanation get a good understanding of the technique and allows you to digest the instruction more slowly and absorb it better. It is also very convenient and practical to bring to the mat and look at it to reproduce the movement.
*Sample from the Secrets of the Closed Guard by Kid Peligro
To this day I look at many of the books I wrote or co-wrote to re-learn or refresh some techniques. I like to study one or two positions only and practice them repeatedly until I have them down before I move on to another set. I believe that it is better to have some techniques fully under your belt rather than have many techniques that you don't fully know or can replicate. I like to work on a technique for at least a week before I go on to another one, that way I get the nuances, and begin to feel how my body position should be like and understand the opponent's reactions and what my failures may be so I can go back to the book and correct what I am having a tough time with.
Check out these books by Kid Peligro
Secrets of the
Mastering Side Control
Mastering the Guard Pass
For more information about Kid follow him on Facebook and Twitter or follow his blog for the latest on ADCC, BJJ, Surfing and more!