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19 Apr 2020
BJJ

From Rio to Hawaii: Get to know Patrick Almeida and his story of love for BJJ

Patrick fighting in Moscow. Photo: IBJJF

From a childhood in Campo Grande, West Zone of Rio de Janeiro, to teach classes in Russia and continue with intense competition training in Hawaii. Patrick Almeida tells his very unusual trajectory of those found in Jiu-Jitsu: he abandoned his career in medicine to follow his passion for the sport.

A lot has happened in the hiatus of his story full of challenges, consistency and determination, all thanks to the good old Jiu-Jitsu. Nothing was easy for black belt Patrick Almeida, 26, an athlete trained by professors Everaldo Penco and Fabinho Oliveira at Carlson Gracie Recreio. His successful trajectory can serve as an inspiration for you, a dreamer who wants to follow even more hard in pursuit of your goals.

Jiu-Jitsu appeared in Patrick’s life, as in many other cases, when he was still young, to fight the bullying he suffered at school. Patrick was the target of constant nicknames and constant assaults at school until his older cousin suggested that he enter Jiu-Jitsu classes. Patrick’s parents wrinkled their noses at first, fearing the still present image of bullies of the 90s, however, they ended up giving in to the sport.

Fabinho Oliveira and Patrick with Everaldo Penco. Photo: Personal archive

His first Jiu-Jitsu lesson was about adaptation. With a borrowed kimono and a lot of desire to learn, Patrick used his time after school to ride his bike to the gym and give his first “balls” at the Vikings academy, with professor Elienai Rodrigues. Later, the teacher moved and Patrick, already living at Recreio, had the opportunity to train at Team Nogueira, with professor Everaldo Penco, who was to be his master throughout his career as an athlete.

The training life was intense, but the biggest plan at that time was to study medicine at a federal college since Patrick had excellent grades at school. The entrance exam took him on a different path, which was to study Engineering in Minas Gerais, and there his first steps as a teacher started in a small social project. Subsequently, a general shutdown of the college in Minas Gerais took Patrick back to Rio, giving him another opportunity to study medicine, this time in icy Russia.

“I went to Kursk, a very cold and extremely remote city,” says Patrick, “at that time I didn’t have Jiu-Jitsu, but sambo, judo, and wrestling were part of their daily lives. In my college there was sambo and I decided to try it. I was lucky enough to get there on the day of solo training and I with Jiu-Jitsu lay down and rolled over the Russians. I earned their respect, but they didn’t relieve me from falling training. I didn’t know what floor or ceiling was in the felling class. In striking training, it was the same thing, only worse. I started attending the Bola de Neve church there and I was told that they had plans to open a Jiu-Jitsu training, except that a teacher was missing. I applied and the classes grew ”. Little did the black belt know that he would have been one of the pioneers of Jiu-Jitsu in Kursk, leaving a legacy in the city.

Patrick with his students, at the Moscow Open 2014. Photo: Personal archive

With the experience gained teaching classes and a referral from his friend Mahamed Aly, Patrick moved to St. Petersburg, also in Russia, to train and help at a Jiu-Jitsu academy, requesting a transfer to the St. Petersburg University of Medicine. As Patrick fought and won most national championships, his passion for Jiu-Jitsu began to speak louder than his ambition for medicine. Patrick then decided to take a risk, drop everything and pursue his career as an athlete. This was the first time, of many, that the black belt learned to reinvent himself.

Back in Rio de Janeiro, Patrick helped to found Carlson Gracie Recreio and, later, began to act as a teacher, giving some private Jiu-Jitsu classes. One of her students paid her hours in advance, and her biggest dream in Jiu-Jitsu would be realized: fighting the Worlds in California.

With tickets and hotel reserved, everything was fine to compete in the biggest Jiu-Jitsu tournament, if it weren’t for an unforeseen event: an ear infection hindered the final stretch of training and the weight didn’t go down as it should, forcing Patrick to rise from the middleweight. for heavyweight. Even with all the difficulty and against medical advice, and tears on reaching the Long Beach Pyramid, the tough guy came in to fight, being overcome.

“Once again Mahamed was at my side to help me,” revealed Patrick. “I had problems with the ticket back to Brazil that forced me to stay in the USA for a while longer. I did not fail and went back to Rio, where I would have another sensational experience. ”

Patrick with Leo Dalla and Mahamed Aly. Foto: Personal archive

Patrick spoke of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. A friend of the family indicated the sportsman to work at the event, coordinating the weighing area of several modalities such as judo, taekwondo, and boxing. This baggage made him receive a new invitation to return to the country that was indispensable in his career: Russia. This time Patrick was not going as a medical student but as a Jiu-Jitsu professor and partner of one of the largest academy chains in greater St. Petersburg.

“I got there at a time when the government supported newaza tournaments, a fight that was fought with submissions,” recalled Patrick. “Our students trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and were outstanding in these competitions. In the middle of this rush of classes and tournaments, Everaldo Penco traveled to Russia for a seminar tour, and when I got there I graduated to black belt. I was even training for the European Jiu-Jitsu Championship, with a focus on brown belt, but he said that I would have to turn around and fight as a black belt because I would graduate anyway. ”

As a teacher, Patrick won his weight class and won the no-gi absolute at the Moscow Open, in addition to refereeing in tournaments across Europe in cities like Copenhagen, Prague, Lisbon and Moscow, which he had previously referred. Unfortunately, in one of these tournaments, the beast ended up breaking two knee ligaments and had to reinvent himself a second time. Classes decreased due to the severity of the injuries, with some students being turned off by the lack of a teacher. After a while, he and his then partner, Igor Buchman, received an interesting proposal to sell the academy. And so they did.

With his knee injured and being forced out of competition for a period, Patrick took the opportunity to travel the world and visit other countries – more than 30, according to the athlete. His sabbatical season ended when he received a proposal to teach in Denver, USA, appeared, but another factor would tangle such a simple equation.

Patrick with the gold medal at Lisbon. Photo: Personal archive

“Tiago Oliveira, who is a soccer coach and trained with me and Everaldo at Recreio, came to me intending to take me to Hawaii, to give a seminar. They sent the tickets and when I got there, I met Keola Akao, an outstanding Hawaiian who introduced me to the local culture. I ended up falling in love with the place, the people and their hospitality. He commented that he was looking to expand the academy, form a competition team and such, so I talked about the proposal I had in Denver to teach, but I would still like to stay in Hawaii and continue my dream of being a top athlete. Keola made me a counteroffer, offering me all the support and we agreed that I would stay. I was also lucky to have the support of Horlando Monteiro, a black belt from Kimura, who is also here in Hawaii, as the team’s coach. We are of similar age and weights, being able to help each other in the process. I’ve been here for a few months and I’m applying to stay as an athlete, so I can live my dream again. ”

With a history that began in Rio de Janeiro, taking Jiu-Jitsu classes to defend himself at school, then going on to teach classes in Russia in parallel to his medical course and, finally, going to Hawaii, where he is currently continuing to your career as an athlete. Choice of dreams, changes in plans and, above all, a lot of determination and intense training. Patrick Almeida learned to reinvent himself with every unforeseen and opportunity that life offered him. “It is very difficult to stay away from the people we love, family, friends and give up so many other things for a purpose because this is your dream and you need to win in life. The price of giving up so many things is very expensive, but without that nothing is possible ”, says the black belt.

Patrick fighting against Tommy Langaker. Photo: Personal archive

In this way, we can conclude that even a young man in the face of such different dreams and having to reinvent himself several times throughout his career, was able to reach the world and will continue to fight until he conquered his goals in his career as an athlete. Even in times of pandemic, with quarantine in all parts of the world, Patrick’s baggage of overcoming and willpower makes the teacher deal with the moment particularly, already with plans for the end of the storm.

“‘ The winner is the winner for winning. The loser is a loser because he gives up. ’ Not even this quarantine will stop me. I operated on my knee during the severe winter in Russia, I couldn’t move around the neighborhood because of the cold and the ice accumulated on the street, which slipped a lot. I was practically in a semi-quarantine at that time, and I learned that stuck at home, you either sink or you rise to the maximum. We cannot let ourselves rest, staying at home makes us lazy. We have to fight comfort. I have used the quarantine to train more, read more and take several courses online. Take the time to invest in yourself and become a better person”, he concluded.

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