BJJ Black Belt Jorge Santos on Ireland and Living the JiuJitsu Lifestyle
BJJ Black belt Jorge Santos lives in Dublin Ireland and runs the Atos affiliated Jorge Santos JiuJitsu. Originally from Brazil he moved to the Emerald Isle in order to make a better life for himself. Now many years on he is able to look back and reflect on what got him to this point along his journey. We spoke with him about his past life in Brazil. How he enjoys Ireland and how living the JiuJitsu lifestyle can give you self confidence.
What other sports did you do before BJJ. Did you always see yourself doing BJJ or was it soccer first?
No skateboarding, I did skateboarding for 10 years. Then I finish skateboarding, when I hurt my ankle. Then after that I stopped for a while and I looked for something. Then I found BJJ. I think I was 14, 15 years old and I started looking for UFC, Royce Gracie and he’s kicking some butts.
Then I wanted to do this martial art. Then I looked for something but it is was very expensive in Brazil. This was in 96, 95 and it’s very expensive… for playboy’s.
When I started to work make some money I was 20. Then I started in the gym, then I start BJJ.
And is Brazil still quite a segregated country between rich and poor?
It’s changing a bit, now it’s more easy. To do martial arts in Brazil, BJJ MMA, it’s easier. Have many Associations they help. Many black belts do charity, then help young people, poor people to get off the streets to get off the drugs and stuff to do some martial arts, BJJ.
People who practice jujitsu are so friendly so respectful. What is it about and jujitsu lifestyle that makes its special?
This started to change a few years ago because before many people were afraid to go train BJJ. Because in Brazil there was the guys called Pit Boys. . You can see the guys playing jujitsu there you know.
Then it started to change, their philosophy of jujitsu started to change, you know. You have the Gracie jujitsu, but now you’ll also have jujitsu sport for competition. I think they have more respect than before. Before the guys don’t respect other guys, always want to fight to prove something.
If you weren’t doing jujitsu now, where do you think you would be in your life. How has it changed you as a person?
So before when I started to do jujitsu, I was just doing it for fun not to live jujitsu. You know, it was nice to see the guys kick some butts. And then I started to enjoy, when I got my blue belt I started to do the class. My master allowed me to do some classes at my place. Then I started to enjoy, and I saw I had a future here. I can do more than this.
Then I started to compete. I started my first competition out of Brazil in 2007, in the long beach California. So then I see it’s not just Brazil, there is a lot more. Then I went back from the competition, I didn’t do well because it was my first big tournament, Worlds. It was an amazing experience.
So I went back to Brazil and I started to think I have to learn English. In Brazil it’s very hard and very expensive to learn English. So I forgot about it, but I kept doing the classes.
Then when I got my brown belt I had a friend would move to Dublin, to Ireland. And he invited me to come to Ireland. Jorge when you get your black belt, you come to Ireland because here they don’t have black belts. Have one Irish black belt and one Brazilian black belt. So you will have a good opportunity to grow here. You make your life here, you live jujitsu style and you know. You can do everything here. Then when I got my black belt I sold my car, I got some money from the job, from my friends from my family, they help me. And then booked my flights and come to Ireland. I came to Ireland and started doing my classes.
So you are enjoying your time in Ireland, is this where you’re going to spend the rest of your time?
Yes, I really enjoy living here. OK, some people complain about the weather. But you can make some money here, you can spend your winter time here. I do my things here to my class. Then in the summertime I can fly to Spain, to many warm countries. But for me I like it here, I love Ireland.. I’m going to stay here for, I hope so, all of my life. The rest of my life you know.
Because now I have my second family here. I have my students, I make many friends you know. I’ve changed lives here, for sure I’ve changed lives. Many people now have confidence. Like today one guy arrived, he is like 54, he’s old. I asked him why in jujitsu, why martial arts, why did you choose that, what’s your goal?
You know what Jorge I want more confidence, self-confidence. And I told him, OK I’m going to help. So for sure this guy is going to come back and I’m going to help him in his life. Going to make a strong person you know. Not just for going to the street to fight. Some people think, I’m a fighter I go to the street and fight. But most people who do martial arts don’t fight on the street.
That’s it, yeah. I’m going to stay here for my life, all my life.