5X5: GUI MENDES & BEAR QUITUGUA OF SHOYOROLL
BEAR: What are the 5 things you think 95 percent of athletes are missing to become a world champion consistently at the black belt level?
GUI: There is only one thing in my opinion: a lack of strength when it comes to character. People are not resilient enough when it comes to hardships. Most of the athletes need to learn how to own up to their failures and accept the blame. Instead they lie to themselves by placing the blame of their failures on others, and that is something that champions simply do not do.
BEAR: What is your take on the new generation of kids calling out all their matches on the internet compared to your time?
GUI: There are no shortcuts. This is not boxing or MMA. You are not going to become a millionaire by promoting your fight. Do it right, win, then win again, and then win again. Make people respect you because of your history in the sport. We don’t fight for a promotion and we don’t get pay-per-view money. If you put all your hopes of succeeding on making 10k in 3 events per year then you have really small goals.
BEAR: Why have you guys kept such a long term sponsorship relationship with Shoyoroll compared to past sponsors? What is the biggest differences in your opinion?
GUI: Better product and better relationship than the other gi brands that we worked with in the past. That’s it.
BEAR: What is your take on sponsorships at an amateur level ? Do you think kids should take what is available or wait and fund their own hobbies or lifestyle until they get closer to black belt?
GUI: In my vision sponsorship only becomes official when you are receiving a salary and if the relationship has mutual interest. If you can’t offer a marketing return for the brand and you only get products to use, you have a supporter or a helper. Young athletes model themselves after the best in the world but it’s important to understand the process early so you can understand what to do to achieve your goals. If you sell yourself cheap, people will never give you the value that you deserve once you achieve the highest level. Wait for the right time to come, reap first then you can harvest. People want to have sponsors, teach seminars, and have opportunities without putting the work and time.
BEAR: Why do you think there is such a big divide between the self-defense and sport curriculum based gyms? What do you like to teach and why?
GUI: I believe that learning jiu jitsu techniques in general will prepare you for a self-defense situation. I respect everybody and all styles. I like to teach sport jiu jitsu because it is the area that I’m an expert at.
GUI: In your vision what is the difference between Shoyoroll and any other gi company? What makes it special?
BEAR: Gis are just a by product of what we are trying to create in Jiu-Jitsu . Our goal is to make the best fitting gi ever made and continue to push and evolve Jiu-Jitsu culture and community . I’m a jiu-Jitsu nerd and our brand was built on jiu-jitsu. I see many companies getting involved in jiu-jitsu because it maybe good business opportunity but many are not willing to create and help build in our community long term . I think if intentions are to help jiu-jitsu first then the rest will come after . I think creating for jiu-jitsu and not worrying about the return is special.
GUI: What qualities make you pay attention to a particular athlete and make you interested in them for representing your brand?
BEAR: Athletes must understand what it takes to brand themselves to become the best in their space. I am always interested in athletes who understand long term vision and are willing to sacrifice to build long term relationships and co brand and build with each other . Becoming a mega star in any sport is maybe one of the hardest things to do. This is not only done by winning multiple time black belt world championships but by many yurt things as well. We just like to work with good people and athletes that understand our brand.
GUI: How do feel when you see other gi brands copying your ideas and style? Do you see it as a natural process in the market?
BEAR: We have been making big strides in the past to continue to create new things in our industry every year . We are so focused on trying to get ourselves better it’s hard to pay attention to what others are doing to be honest . But yes I think if we do ever inspire other companies it’s flattering to say the least . We just want our industry to be filled with more creative people doing original things to help our culture and community grow stronger.
GUI: Who is the biggest up and comer in Jiu Jitsu? if you had to bet money on someone, believing that he would become a black belt World Champion in the future, who would you pick?
BEAR: I have been a jiu-Jitsu nerd for over 15 years . If I was a betting man and knew the answer to this I would be able to retire early . Lol . But we do have our eyes on some of the up and coming talent always and some of them so happen to be from AOJ. We never really know until we watch kids at every belt level and finally how the adapt to the black belt level when that time comes.
GUI: What are the american athletes missing to dominate the sport? people often say that the brazilians have been doing it for a longer time, but we see a lot of young american black belts that started really young succeeding in the other belt levels but can not win the black belt World title yet. Tell me what is your opinion about that.
BEAR: I think Brazil has been doing it much longer and also has more people training jiu-jitsu earlier so that plays a role in the whole equation . I think now kids classes around the world are getting much larger it will be much different in the next 5-10 years at the black belt level. I think Brazil will have the edge for a little while but will change for sure in future. There are a ton of factors I think but those are just some of the ones that stick out .