Caio Terra is one of the biggest names in Jiu Jitsu today and with good measure. With 10 world NoGi titles and 2 Gi titles, it’s easy to see why everyone is interested in watching him compete. Whether he is in the gym, traveling for seminars or competing it’s easy to see what makes him so special, his drive for perfection. Within three years of dedicated training, Caio received his black belt under Grandmaster Stauch and Reyson Gracie in 2006. Over 10 years as a black belt and Caio is still actively competing, with his most recent win coming at the IBJJF Europeans. War Tribe recently sat down with Caio to find out his perspective on a few things and what pushes him to compete
What made you want to compete for the first time?
My teacher was the one who signed me up the first time for an inter association tournament. After the first time competing I told my mother that if I had to compete I did not want to continue training. I did not like it one bit.
Why did you continue to compete?
My instructor told my mother that I needed to learn to not be so nervous competing. He knew that the best way to lose that was if I continued to compete more, fortunately my mother agreed with him. I started Jiu Jitsu to build self-confidence and the fact that I didn’t feel comfortable competing pushed me to compete more. Now I am much more relaxed, I believe that everyone still gets a little nervous. Realizing that it isn’t just myself that is nervous has made me more comfortable and confident when I compete.
Is there any win that is more memorable to you than all the rest?
I believe some of the tournaments that my students have won have had a bigger significantly than any one win for myself. Being able to watch Yuri win his first ADCC title was amazing, people were not expecting for that to happen. I knew how hard the preparation and training had been for him and watching it pay off was very rewarding for me.
Another very memorable moment for me is when Mikey won his world title. This was my first time as a coach winning a black belt world championship. Mikey is the first American black belt to win that tournament.
When you are developing a new technique how long do you wait to do it in competition?
If it is working in training, the position is automatic. Once I achieve the position I already start the attack, it’s becomes like second nature.
What is your favorite position to use?
I don’t have a favorite position to use. That is one of my main things, being able to play in any position. I like to train Jiu Jitsu, I love everything about it and can work in all positions.
If you could go back in time, what is something you would tell yourself?
To not train as hard. Sometimes when you train too hard or too much Jiu Jitsu stops being fun. Training like this you start to injure yourself more often because you want to be the best. I trained like this because I believed everyone else was training this hard, so I pushed myself to train harder. I would also tell myself to remember to have more fun while training.
When you first started to compete who did you like watch?
When I first started to compete there was no YouTube, you couldn’t just pull something up on the Internet and watch your favorite athlete. It was almost impossible to find any information; people now are very privileged to have access to so many techniques. When I was coming up if I wanted to mold my game after someone I would have to go to the tournament and watch the athlete live. I would go every weekend to a different tournament and compete, watch the higher belts and learn moves. Sometimes I would compete in multiple tournaments in one weekend.
After winning 10 world NoGi titles, what is next for Caio Terra?
Honestly, I don’t have any goals. I compete because I enjoy being around my students; I want to lead from the front.
What do you see as the next progression for Jiu Jitsu? Do you think it should be in the Olympics?
I hope that it doesn’t’ go to the Olympics. Once it goes that route it will be ruined with all the rules like Judo.
I honestly do not know where it will go, Jiu Jitsu has grown at such a fast pace in the last decade it’s hard to see if it will slow down or it will get bigger and bigger.
I would like to see Jiu Jitsu like it is in Rio, a school on every block with people actively training in all schools. There are still a lot of places is hard to find, I want to see and be part of the spread of Jiu Jitsu across the globe.