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Draculino interview by Stephan Kesting

Hi there,
I’m working on a new, big, and very cool BJJ project which recently took me to Houston, Texas.
That trip was a blur – we were working like crazy and filming till 2 or 3 am most nights.  Just to show you how busy we were, I didn’t even get a chance to drive just down the road and visit NASA…  Which, given my interest in space, science and exploration, is pretty much a hanging crime!!
But one person I did make time for was Vinicius ‘Draculino’ Magalhães.  This guy is a fantastic resource for the BJJ community, and I wanted to pick his brain about the ongoing evolution of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Dradulino started training in Rio in the 1980’s back in the days when many of the big names in BJJ were just young kids with blue and purple belts around their waists.  Plus he’s trained many great competitors in the sport, as well as having personally competed in BJJ, ADCC, and MMA himself!

In our 24 minute conversation Draculino talked about:

  • How beach fights for the hottest surfing spots brought him into jiu-jitsu
  • What it was like training with the top Gracie and Machado fighters in Rio in the 1980’s
  • How self defense and vale tudo training were incorporated into class back in the day
  • The early BJJ competition scene, and how BJJ has changed over the last 3 decades
  • How the spider guard evolved, and the criticism he received for pioneering this position
  • Why he gets more nervous for BJJ competition than for MMA fights.
  • Why many matches at the 2012 Mundials reminded him of two spiders trying to mate
  • The rule changes, he’d like to see to make jiu-jitsu competition more exciting,
  • And why he makes even his BJJ world champions do self defense twice a week

All in all, it’s a merry romp down many BJJ topics, past and present

You can listen to the 24 minute long interview, download the audio, and/or watch it on video at this link here:
Stephan Kesting

Is BJJ still relevant in Mixed Martial Arts? by Stephan Kesting

A while ago I had the honor of interviewing Ricardo Liborio.
Liborio is a famous Carlson Gracie’s black belt who is known for his incredible depth of understanding of BJJ.  He is also the head coach at American Top Team, which is literally one of MMA’s most successful champion factories.
I picked Liborio’s brain about the relationship between BJJ and MMA.  Here’s just some of what we covered:
  • Why MMA newbies should learn BJJ before any other martial art,
  • How professional fighters at American Top Team structure their training,
  • Is it possible to be an MMA fighter and still work at a ‘real’ job?
  • How to take a gi-based grappler and turn him into an MMA fighter,
  • How to develop power punching on the ground without killing your training partner,
  • Why striking combinations in MMA are different from boxing and kickboxing,
  • How to develop the reflexes to survive bad situations in a fight,
  • Is the half guard applicable to MMA?
  • What are the highest percentage takedowns for MMA?
  • The best BJJ guy Liborio has ever seen.
You can read the entire transcript as a PDF document by clicking on the link below. (Be patient; it’s almost 10 MB so it could take a while to open.)
It’s a pretty cool interview, so if you want to save it to refer to it later (or to mail it to someone else) just click on ‘File’ and then ‘Save As’ at the top of your browser.
Feel free to pass it on, and I hope you get as much out of it as I did!
Take care
Stephan Kesting, 571-4050 Hastings Street, Burnaby, BC V5C 6J4, CANADA

A ‘stupid’ armlock that I knew would never work

Stephan Kesting ( and shows you the Pressing Armlock, the Arm Crush, or Ude Gatame from Sidemount, a submission he was initially convinced would never work…