Deciding to learn BJJ can be a life altering choice. Once you’re committed, you might even feel like it’ll take a lifetime to master. Fortunately, your BJJ Coach is along with you for the ride. Think about it, how would we even know where to start without a BJJ Instructor? In a martial art that requires so much investment of time and effort, being a BJJ coach is not just about teaching techniques to students. A BJJ Coach connects with their students and guides them to be the best version of themselves on the mats (and sometimes even off the mats). Teaching BJJ requires time, patience and a social intelligence that anyone that has decided to learn BJJ can agree to.
So who are the dedicated humans that pass on their knowledge?
We asked The Fight Centre’s BJJ Coach Ícaro Nauã Sandes a few questions to find out who he is, why he coaches BJJ and learn more about his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey.
Meet BJJ Coach Ícaro
How old were you when you first started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
20 years old
What got you into BJJ?
Being in the same tribe and environment as my friends from Brazil. Everyone started doing some martial arts when we were young. Some of my friends started Capoeira and BJJ. I started doing Muay Thai first and always watching BJJ class before my Muay Thai class. I was curious to learn something new and never stopped after that
Where was your first time training?
It was in my friend’s garage. I didn’t have a Gi and one of my friends lent me a Gi top to wear for my first time
What is the biggest lesson that BJJ has taught you?
Resilience about the diversity of life, be ready to get out of a trouble situation and hide all weakness when you are fighting. Try to show up for your opponent or for the life than you are ready for whatever happens ahead.
Why do you fight?
To get the balance and to develop my physical, mindset and soul
What is your motivation as a coach?
To do the same things that my coach did for me and spread the best part of me and my Jiu Jitsu to my students
What is your proudest moment in BJJ?
Each time I watch my students on the mats fighting
Can you name some of your tournament wins?
I’m invicto of my weight division for 2 years at the Queensland State Championships
What advice would you give to somebody thinking about starting BJJ?
Learn to tie your belt before starting classes. Keep your personal hygiene clean and have an open mind and spirit to get to know a martial art where we use technique and feeling to control our opponent doesn’t matter the size and where.
What do his students think of him?
We caught up with a few of Ícaro’s students and asked them to tell us a bit about their experience training under TFC’s BJJ Coach.
‘Firstly, Jiu Jitsu has changed my life, I would not be the person i am today without it. But I can’t give credit to anyone else than my awesome professor Icaro. I get train with him almost every day learning new skills not just in martial arts but in life. He has really taught me a lot and how to be a good person. I love being able to go to training after a big day of work and be able to work hard but feel happy and have a laugh and he just makes that happen somehow. I feel he and I have this special bond, I can’t really explain it but i just know he is always looking out for me. If i need to talk to him or something he is there for me and he is always looking out for his students. There are many things I could try and say but I wouldn’t be able to say it all. All i really need to say is thank you to Icaro, the absolute best coach and person I have met.’
‘Since starting BJJ just over a year ago with coach Icaro, he has been incredibly patient and encouraging and shown professionalism in his teachings. As I do not have a fighting background his leadership and support has given me the confidence to enter into BJJ competitions and achieve my goal to win gold. His knowledge is well received and I hope to be able learn as much as I can from him. I am very proud to have him as a coach.’
‘Starting up BJJ with Icaro has been an amazing journey. Having a busy schedule with uni for a while he was very understanding and also mindful of my pre-existing back pains. Icaro has a great interest in all of his students. He is super observant and truly cares for the development of each member and their goals. I look forward to returning back to BJJ after injury and to continue working through the details of the sport with an awesome coach!’
Whether you’re training to compete or to keep fit. Whether you like training in Gi or in No Gi. Once you’ve found a BJJ Coach that suits your style and learning method, it can possibly be one of the most impactful relationships you develop. BJJ is a journey full of ups and downs so having a guide to help push you through each milestone is invaluable.
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