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What Every Grappler Can Learn from Alan “Finfou” Do Nascimento

In case you missed it this past weekend, an awesome event took place at the European Championships.

finfou terere european black belt

Alan “Finfou” Do Nascimento just brought the venue to tears.

After conceding the win to Fernando Tererê in their middleweight match, he handed Fernando Tererê his black belt.

He later explained his actions: Fernando Tererê made what I am in Jiu-Jitsu.

He taught me since the white belt.

This belt, he gave one day and asked for 5 reais and I knew it he was going to buy crack.

I told him then that I was going to give him back the belt when when he got back on his feet.

There’s no better moment than that! I will sleep filled with joy and proud today!

So, what can we take away from such an amazing event?

Seasons of Life

fernando terere claudio calasans ibjjf europeans 2013Alan ‘Finfou’ Nascimento understood that people go through ‘seasons’ during their lives and what they are now is not what they will always be.  This has been especially true for Terere.

I have spoken on this topic a lot in the past with my friends and with BJJ enthusiasts at tournaments, seminars, etc.

One of the greatest things that people internally struggle with is riding out the waves that inherently come with advancement in the sport.  There are times when a student will advance rapidly and other times that will seem like everybody is getting better except for you.  Riding out the low point of the wave (trough), allows us to again rapidly progress and enjoy another great advancement in skill.

As it applies to this situation, Nascimento knew that Terere would not always be who he was then and was only in a bad season of life.  By supporting his friend, Nascimento helped him push through one of the hardest seasons of his life.

Understanding there is a crest after each trough is a mindset allows people to endure incredible things, as has Terere.

See the Bigger Picture

fernando terere augusto ibjjf european championships 2013Finfou and Terere are from the same Cantagalo favelo in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and have known eachother for a long time.

In fact, a 14-year old, yellow belt, Finfou started training with Terere when Terere was just a purple belt.

It’s no wonder that Finfou was about to see the bigger picture at the 2013 IBJJF European Championships.  By allowing Terere to proceed in the tournament to face Claudio Calasans (where he lost via DQ – Knee Reap), he sacrificed a lot of hard training because he saw that conceding to Terere on that day was part of the bigger picture.

In competition, we often compete with laser-like focus (which is good), but we tend to miss amazing opportunities, such as this.  Alan ‘Finfou’ Nascimento saw the opportunity to do something truly incredibly for Terere and for our art/sport and was willing to sacrifice personal gain to achieve it.


Nascimento could have very easily walked away from Terere a long time ago.  In fact, that’s what many students would do today.

People see Brazilian Jiu Jitsu primarily as a monetary exchange of money for knowledge/skill.  And if that is all your instructor provides, then that is fine.

But most of the instructors I know provide a great deal more than just instruction.  And that type of dedication to teaching our art and supporting one’s students is deserving of loyalty.

And not the type of shallow loyalty that only exists when things are great.  This is the type of loyalty that Finfou showed by acknowledging that it could take years for Fernando Terere to get back on his feet, but deciding to remain a friend and support him.

About the author: Lover of Jesus, Bowties, and BJJ. Founder of Ok! Kimonos.

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