Marcus Widengren: First of all, for all people out there that doesn´t speak Portuguese: What does your nickname Carcara mean and how did you get it?
Braulio Estima: Carcara it’s a name of a bird that lives around the region that I’m from, North east of Brazil. We have a saying there that the carcara gets, kills and eat the pray… and as I used to wear a gi of a brand Carcara (that nowadays doesn’t exist anymore) it became my nick name.
MW: In the jiu-jitsu world you can unfortunately encounter people with an arrogant attitude, even among certain black belts, but watching you compete I have always had the impression that you are a humble person that values sportsmanship. Do you think those qualities are important to be successful in this sport?
BE: I wouldn’t say that it is important to be successful, but this is a quality that I prize the most in a sportsman, because you need to know that you are not invincible and if you win it’s because you trained hard and deserved it. But that doesn’t mean that you are a better person than anyone else. I’ve seen many people that just because they start winning something, treat you different. I hate this.
MW: Do you have any fight or competition that was your most memorable? If so, which one?
BE: All the competitions that I’ve fought means a lot to me because i spend time training focusing and planning my strategy for it, but the pan ams in 1999 was the most memorable for me, as it was the first time that I managed to win my first fight in a tournament of the ibjjf/cbjj. I was a blue belt and even though I had been winning all my state competitions, every time that I fought in an official tournament (5 times) I had lost in the first round. In that time at the pan ams I won my first and won the whole tournament, five fights all together.
MW: Who is the toughest competitor you have met to this date?
BE: I think nowadays everyone is very well prepared and tough, it all becomes a question of who has the best strategy to win. The list is huge of the toughest ones.
MW: Do you consider yourself better with or without the kimono?
BE: I’ve spent more time training with the gi in my career so I’m more specialized in it but I think that using the right strategy I fight at the same level in both. You can only do so much in each fight, you don’t do everything you know in each one. So I think I know enough to put on a good fight either way.
MW: Many successful jiu-jitsu fighters remove their kimono and enter the MMA scene. I have read that you also have such plans. Is it because of the money or is because you want to challenge yourself, or is there any other reason?
BE: It’s a little bit of everything, but for me the part that pushes me harder to fight is that I feel the need to represent my art in MMA, and I think I’m one of the bjj representatives who should do the first step forward. I feel like the representative of my tribe.
MW: Do you have a date yet for your first professional fight? Do you know which event it will be or are you still negotiating?
BE: I’m focusing on the ADCC at the main time.
MW: Changing subject a bit, how come you moved from Brazil to Europe?
BE: Up until my brown belt I was divided in teaching, training, working and studying engineering. So I came for a try out in London for anything. I spoke to Roger [Gracie] and Mauricio Gomes and what happened was that I went and took over the Gracie Barra Birmingham academy. Taking over the job that Mauricio started long time ago, before moving to London. I’m here for 7 years now and I’m very happy that I´m able to have as a job what is my passion and my hobby. Since I came here I could dedicate myself 100 per cent in bjj and the results came.
MW: Obviously Brazil dominates the jiu-jitsu scene around the world, but people outside Brazil are getting better and better every year. Americans for example have already managed to collect two gold medals in the most prestigious category in the Mundials; adulto black belt, thanks to BJ Penn and Rafael Lovato. You have lived in Europe now for quite a while, what do you think of the level of jiu-jitsu here? In how many years do you expect that we could have the first Mundial champion in the black belt adulto category?
BE: I’ve helped the growth of bjj in Europe and I’ve seen the project from very close. I guess in 5 years time we will have a contender to fight for medal in the main black belt division.
MW: Do you believe that Brazilian jiu-jitsu one day could become an Olympic sport? If so, do you think that the rules have to be adjusted in any way to make it more exciting to watch for people that doesn´t know the art? For example shorter fights and harder punishments for stalling?
BE: I think there will be no other way, bjj is growing so much and it´s proving its efficiency. You said everything with shorter fights and punishments, which would be the first step for a better understanding and excitement of the crowd.
MW: Have you done any special preparations for the ADCC competition, or has it been training as usual? What are your expectations for this competition?
BE: I have focused on designing my strategy for no gi according to the rules and everything. I have been doing as much training as I always do to compete in a high level competition. I can’t do anything more or otherwise I will get over trained [laughs].
I expect the ADCC to be the toughest event that I ever fought and I’m planning to be in my best physical, technical and mental shape for it.
MW: If you could give any advice to all of us that train jiu-jitsu, what would it be?
BE: Everyone passes through the ups and downs always, even us professionals. It´s normal and it´s part of the evolution of your game. Keep going, the road is full of excitement, obstacles and challenges. The best therapy for stress for sure.
MW: Any last words to your fans out there?
BE: I’m bringing about 50 people to support me at the ADCC. I’m game to put up a show with exciting fights. I can’t wait!
MW: Thanks a lot for your time Braulio and good luck at ADCC!