Laercio Fernandes: Perseverance and Becoming a Champion
Jits Magazine / January 7, 2013 - 3:17pm
Jits: Have you achieved everything you wanted in 2012 and what do you still want to accomplish?
Laercio: I think when I review what I did in 2012, for me it was great because since 2010 I was on the podium in all the IBJJF tournaments I competed in. To earn a place on the podium at black belt, a high level, is not easy. My dream was just to get one medal in the IBJJF and compete in one Mundial in my life - I did not expect to really medal in anything. So this year was especially great for me, the loss by referees decision was tough, some people agree with him, some people didn't, but I think it turned out great either way and next year I want to do even better.
Jits: What are your thoughts on the controversial decision loss against Caio Terra in the Black Belt League?
Laercio: Well I think I won the fight. I felt great and I used everything I knew on the mat. I used everything Cobrinha taught me. I don't just represent myself, but also my family, my friends in Brazil, my wife, my stepkids, my training partners and my teachers. I train with great guys and I want to use what they showed me. I train with Gurgel, Cobrinha, Langhi, Malfacine - all great guys.
Jits: So what made you decide to come to Canada and do you have any other plans here?
Laercio: I had a great opportunity here at Break Point MMA where Daniel Hale teaches, he is a Cobrinha affiliate, and since Cobrinha is my teacher it was a good opportunity for me to come and show the guys some techniques. This is my first time here, I really like it, and I am still learning how to get around and I hope to come back some time soon.
Jits: You've been competing now for many years, how much of a growth in the caliber of competitors has there been?
Laercio: I started competing a long time ago and back then, the first guy to close guard would win the match. Today, there are so many more details and a lot of new positions. Every year it gets harder to win tournaments. I hope the sport grows more and I've seen a huge development for sure.
Jits: Growing up you never neglected your academics and you've worked a full time career job. How did you manage to balance this with your high level training?
Laercio: In Brazil everything is hard. Even if you do have an education, it's still very hard to find a job. If you don't have an education, everything is even worse. I saw that a lot of people without an education were in big trouble. Then I looked at all the people who did have an education and how much better their lives were. So I started studying and all my professors pushed me to study and train together. I finished with a degree in engineering and then I went on to do a masters degree but even after I graduated I realized that what I love is jiu-jitsu. And in 2010 I finished with my education and told myself that now I want to dedicate 24 hours a day into jiu-jitsu in my life. I want to show to people that when you do something you love, everything is possible.
Also, I had no excuses. I would work all day, go train and then go study. You can always find time to train, even if its 30 minutes on a busy day, you can make it happen. If you have an annoying cut, or a broken nail, you just tape it and go train. You can't stop and let other things get in the way.
Training is also a great way to relax. You go there to exercise and talk to friends. When you return from training, you feel better. If you think you have a crazy busy life, just organize your time properly and you can do it.
Jits: What are your plans for 2013?
Laercio: I just want to compete. My next tournament will probably be in Lisbon. I want to compete as much as possible. I love to teach too. So I try to do both and it makes me very happy. My wife trains too and that helps motivate me.
Jits: Anything else you would like to add?
Laercio: I just want to say thank you to all the people that support me, mainly my teachers, the alliance team, my family, you guys, Jits Magazine, and Daniel Hale for bringing me here. Also my sponsors, Royal Combat, Keiko Raca, Natural Vitamins and Doctor Kessler.