For many people, he’s the Greatest of All Times, GOAT for short. Marcelo Garcia is celebrating another birthday this Tuesday, January 17. The 4X ADCC champion and 5X black belt middleweight world champion is virtually retired from competitions for some time now (the last time he stepped on the mats to compete was at the 2011 ADCC).
Those who saw Garcia in action know that it was a sight to be admired. No stalling, a constant search for a better position that led to the possibility of a submission, the spotless attitude towards the art and his opponents. Marcelinho is a true martial artist. He lives and breathes Jiu-Jitsu and hardly anything else matters to him (well, except for his family). Here are 5 lessons you should learn from our birthday boy’s unique take on the gentle art.
1 – Train Jiu-Jitsu to get better at Jiu-Jitsu
This famous Garcia statement has been taken the wrong way many times. Marcelo himself has said that every time he included other physical activities in his training routine it didn’t make any difference on his overall performance. Of course, that does not mean you should only do Jiu-Jitsu and nothing else. If other activities go well with your energy level and you feel they are beneficial for your mindset, go ahead and include it in your daily routine. Nevertheless, Marcelo may be on to something when he says that you will only improve your game with hours and hours of mat time.
2 – Find the training you need (wherever it is)
At the beginning of his career, Marcelo would travel a lot in Brazil looking for the ideal training partner. He knew he could not just stay in one place and not allow himself to be challenged by different settings and different demands. It was way back then that Garcia learned to put himself in bad places so he could come up with ways to defend, escape and counter.
3 – Learn from your opponents
One of Marcelo’s most famous quotes goes a little like this: “Whenever I lost to someone, I immediately wanted to train with the guy to learn how to defend and counter whatever he did to beat me.” Sometimes he was able to train with his former opponents, sometimes he just studied their technique so he could evolve his own game. If you don;t take the opportunity to learn from your defeats, your only setting up the scenario for more defeats in the future.
4 – Train like you mean it
Marcelo is known for going full throttle whenever he’s training. There’s no “light roll” with him. The reason he does that is that he takes every moment on the mat as a potential learning opportunity. Also, he couldn’t care less what the outcome of each roll is. If he’s caught, he’s caught. He just resets and goes again.
5 – Enjoy the privilege
Garcia has also said many times that he absolutely loves the life he has. Jiu-Jitsu, he says, has given everything he has and is the only reason he can provide for his family and live a healthy and fulfilling life. If you have ever been in the same mat as MG, you certainly noticed that he’s genuinely happy to be there.