BJJ / MMA / Grappling Interview: Marcos "Parrumpa" da Matta

This jiujitsu interview with 4th degree Carlson Gracie black belt famous MMA coach Mr Marcos ‘Parrumpa’ da Matta during his recent visit to his affiliate Union BJJ in Manchester.

Parrumpa, first of all, thank you for today's seminar and for this interview. Let's first start with your opinion on the Gi vs nogi debate. You have had huge success both as an athlete and a coach in BJJ, nogi grappling and MMA. Where do you stand on the gi vs nogi debate?

The pleasure is mine. Firstly, I want to clarify something. It has now been proven that if you have to chose one singular martial art in a art vs art fight, there is only one winner and that is Brazilian jiujitsu. This is now been proven! And to really understand what is going on when you are grappling, especially on the ground, you need to learn with the gi. 

Yes you can learn good grappling with out the gi, but that is not BJJ. You need to learn with the gi. You could be preparing for a tournament or for a fight (MMA) and my answer is the same: to learn proper technique and all the essential details you need to learn with the gi.

Now, the percentage split of gi vs nogi will depend. At my gym, West Palm Beach ATT, we train gi every session, except for one nogi session per week. 

As for Pro fighters like Cole miller, while I appreciate that they need to work without the gi, they still do three gi sessions per week all the way throughout fight camp until the last three weeks then only nogi.I really believe that this makes him more technical in his jiujitsu.

Thanks for that. What is your opinion on the recent attention given to points tournaments (e.g. IBJJF) vs sub only tournaments (e.g. Metamoris)

The way I was taught jiujitsu and the way I teach it, everyone needs to fight to submit. To finish. But running a large sub-only style tournament isn't reality. When you are renting a sports hall there are time constraints so it's not doable. 

Like the old UFC with no time limits, we can't have that nowadays so we need rules and rounds. This made MMA more dynamic for spectator. This is the same for jiujitsu. If you run a large sub-only no time limits tournament, no TV will pick it up. 

I like the IBJJF rules, including advantages. If fight is 2-2 or 90-90 you need a winner at the end, but I don't like stallers. No one does, but you need the rules, points and advantages. I don't like double pull or fifty fifty guard because I feel they lead more to stalling and they lead us away from finishing in jiujitsu.

You travel a lot. What advice would you like to share about diet and recovery?

It's a real shame that we get old but we do (laughs). 10 years ago I used to get hurt and a week later I'm fine. Now a month at least! 

I tell you what, I've never ever had alcohol. Initially, I just didn't want to and then jiujitsu came and I knew it wouldn't be helpful to my training. The same with drugs. I never did any so that helps a lot too. 

I try to eat clean but this is now my 12th day in and out of airports and hotels so it's harder to maintain but here are some recommendations:

  • You have to eat every three hours regardless of whether you are trying to manage your weight up or down. You need the calories. 
  • Eat as clean as possible, preferably organic food stuffs. 
  • When I travel, airport / airplane food can be a nightmare. I stick to a chicken salad and ask for any sauce / dressing on the side if possible.
  • Avoid white bread and stick to wholewheat.
  • Avoid drinking soda and stick to water instead. Stay away from sugary treats like ice-cream.

Do you want to know the real secret? Support! Support from my family: my wife is a jiujitsu black belt. My children train. I can't see myself being with someone who doesn't support jiujitsu. It's my whole life. I work 30-35 hours per week and on weekends I'm on the road for various projects. Without my family's support, there's no way I could do what I do.

What is your opinion on the breakdown between time spent sparring and drilling in a session?

That depends on the length and type of the lesson:

The fundamentals class is a 1 hour lesson: We spend 10 minutes on the warm-up, 40 minutes on drilling fundamentals and 10 minutes rolling (2 x 5 min rounds)

Before a competition we change things up a little.

As for the Advanced class, it's 90 minute class: We spend 10 minutes on the warm-up, 50 minutes on drilling and 30 minutes rolling (6 x 5 min rounds). If preparing for a tournament we stick in an additional 30 minute of rolling at the end.

You are a 4th degree black belt under the late grandmaster Carlson Gracie. What is one of your favourite memories from Carlson?

One? You want me to choose one? I can't just choose one! (laughs) OK, I will try.

I was once chose to do a super fight against someone who for me is one of the best jiujitsu fighters ever: Leo Vieira. We fought for 20 minutes which I won, but that's not the interesting part. 

On the way to the mat from locker room, Carlson stopped me and said "Don't lose it. Now go!"

This made me really nervous! Why did he say that? I knew I stepped in as the underdog but did he doubt me? Did he believe in me?

Just before I was ready to step I see him Carlson answered those worries for me. Looking to Jacare, ounder of Alliance and coach of Leo Vieira at the time, Carlson said: "Jacare you wanna make a bet? I give you 5 points - 0 and Parrumpa will still win!"

This really warmed my heart. He really believed in me and, to be fair, in all his students. I won 10-0. Carlson kissed me and said "I never thought you'd disappoint me.".

Wow what a fantastic story to end on. Many thanks for your time Parrumpa and I hope to learn from you again very soon.

Thank you and I'd like to extend the invitation to all your readers: If you are in Florida, please come and pay us a visit at West Palm Beach ATT.

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