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Terra Nova

One of the most important elements of Mixed Martial Arts is a solid ground game, or being able to attack or defend once the fight goes to the mat. Elite wrestlers like Randy Couture, Jon Fitch, and UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre have found success taking their opponents down and controlling the fight from there or looking for the finish.


Many analysts have said that wrestling is the best base for an athlete to have if they wish to enter MMA, but a lot of well known fighters would be sure to disagree. One of most, if not the most prominent martial art to be used in MMA is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu or BJJ. BJJ can somewhat be considered an essential part of MMA because it teaches fighters how to attack or defend once the fight hits the ground. Fighters like Demian Maia, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Fabricio Werdum are all high level BJJ black belts, but there’s probably no other black belt more popular to MMA fans than UFC 1, UFC 2, and UFC 4 tournament champion Royce Gracie. For a lot of fans and fighters alike, Royce Gracie is considered as one of the pioneers of the sport.


BJJ however, has been around long before the MMA that we know now. Being around since as early as the late 1800s, Mitsuyo Maeda and Helio Gracie are considered as two of the pioneers of the martial art, and the Gracie and Machado families are almost synonymous to the sport.


Another name however, has been making waves in the BJJ scene, and at such a young age, he has already accomplished so much.


At 26, Caio Terra is a BJJ black belt who has already participated in numerous competitions and has been an instructor since 2004. Just last year, he opened his own academy in California and this year, he started the Caio Terra Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Association.


Considered as part of the "New Breed" of BJJ practitioners and instructors, he aims to bring his brand of "Modern Jiu-jitstu" to the world.


Early this week, Caio Terra arrived in the Philippines with the help of Project Lifestyle Manila and he took time to talk to Balls Channel about his life, how he got into BJJ, and his philosophy regarding the sport.


Caio got his start in BJJ when his mother forced him to take lessons because he always got in trouble at school. Being a small boy at around 43kg, Caio said that he would be muscled and tossed around by the bigger guys.


Initially, Caio didn’t enjoy training, but after he felt that his coaches were not too convinced with his skills and determination, he had a newfound desire inside of him.


After earning his blue belt under Rodrigo Medeiros, Ricardo Viera, and Felipe Costa, the team had a falling out, and Caio found himself training under Paulo Mauricio Strauch and Reyson Gracie, where he earned his black belt in just three years of serious training.


Caio began competing in 2003, at the age of 17. Although he lost his first competition, he says that this drove him to train harder. Now, he is a thirteen time World Medalist, and has competed and won in many many other competitions. The 26 year old describes competition as a “lifetime experience” and urges his students to compete even just once in their lives.


After his first team fell apart, Caio found himself with no one to train with because his friends were now affiliated with different teams, so he ended up putting mats in his home so that he could train. Eventually, other black belts would come and train at Caio’s home so that they could train with friends too. This is something that he credits for his fast progression in BJJ.


As for his philosophy on the martial art, the Rio de Janeiro native believes that BJJ is for the people. With enough dedication, he believes that anyone can be good at jiu-jitsu. Dedication though, does not mean over training. According to Caio, he used to train a lot because people would just knock on his door and ask to train, leaving him with little to do aside from train as well. Now, he says that his body is paying for his over training.


In 2007, Caio was selected as one of few BJJ practitioners to take their knowledge and teach in America. Hesitant at first, Caio was supported by his parents and he went on to teach. He has since moved to America and now resides in California.


Being brought to the Philippines to hold seminars, Caio believes that this is a good way to promote the sport worldwide.


With regards to MMA, Caio says that he’s not too fond of the sport, but has dabbled in MMA training. He currently trains with the Cesar Gracie camp with fighters like Nick and Nate Diaz, Strikeforce Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, and Jake Shields.


With the help of organizations like Project Lifestyle Manila and advocates like Caio Terra coming over to the country, it’s sure that BJJ will become big in the Philippines in the near future.


To learn more about Caio Terra, visit his official website at

To learn more about Project Lifestyle Manila, check out their official website at