Athlete Focus: Pedro Fernandes - Building TuKaha Team

Author: Hyperfly AU  

Athlete Focus: Pedro Fernandes - Building TuKaha Team



Pedro touched down in NZ back in 2003 and with hard work and dedication over the years, he built the biggest Jiu-Jitsu team in NZ, the TuKaha Jiu-Jitsu. We met Pedro a few years back in QBJJC Australia vs NZ team and we were amazed not just by his Jiu Jitsu skill, but his kind character, leadership and positivity really inspired us. Pedro has been part of the Hyperfly Family for many years and we are truly honoured to be part of his Jiu-Jitsu journey. Obrigado Professor Pedro! 

Hey Pedro! Thank you for taking the time. Can you please let us know how you started your BJJ journey? 

I started my grappling journey in 1990 in Rio de Janeiro training "Luta Livre"  a Brazilian form of submission wrestling, which is pretty much Bjj Nogi. In 1991 I moved to Florianópolis in the south of Brazil. There I met my Master Tonicão and with the help of my stepbrother Sergio Sá who was already a blue belt under Robert Traven, I started my BJJ journey. It was the summer of 1991.

As you know, Jiu-Jitsu is the world’s fastest-growing sport and you can train Jiu-Jitsu worldwide. Out of all countries, what made you come to NZ and also when did you arrive?

I had a friend living in NZ and he told me great things about it. Good people, good waves,  great potential to teach Bjj, and not many teaching it. He told me that the most popular sport in the country was a highly physical and demanding sport called Rugby, which was pretty much a full-contact sport. I arrived in July 2003.

You must be surprised by how this sport of Jiu-Jitsu has grown in NZ over the years. How do you analyse the Jiu Jitsu Market in NZ?

I’m not surprised BJJ has grown so much in NZ. BJJ is the most effective self-defence martial art around, it is a fun and demanding workout. On top of that it is challenging on a physical and mental level. BJJ practitioners become better people just by practising it regularly. The JiuJitsu market in NZ still has a lot to grow. Just now we are starting to see more competitions around put up by new organisations which is vital for the development of the sport. There are many more clubs scattered around the country, which shows how popular JiuJitsu has become here in NZ. The technical level has been rising considerably and it will keep on rising especially now with the black belts meetings being held monthly all over NZ in an attempt to bring black belts from all corners of Aotearoa to train together and exchange knowledge. 


As a head of TuKaha Jiu Jitsu NZ, what are your next goals? 

My main goal as the head coach of TuKaha JiuJitsu is to make JiuJitsu available to everyone. JiuJitsu is a tool for self-development. Yes, it is a martial art, yes it is the most effective self-defence system available, and yes it is an awesome and fun way to stay fit. But in the process, you learn things about yourself that will change your life. You will learn to be resilient, to be patient, to be calm under pressure. You will learn to be in the moment focusing 100% on the task ahead. All these things you will learn without even noticing while having fun. 
Something this good should be made available to as many people as possible. 

Lastly, Jiu-Jitsu is a very hard sport. What advice would you give to people who are about to start their journey?

Yes, JiuJitsu can be a very hard sport. But there are levels to it. The advice I would give to someone about to start their journey is to enjoy the ride with no expectations and no pressure. Everything is so new at first and can be quite overwhelming. Enjoy the little victories along the way, and focus on your own progress not everyone else’s. Be consistent, whenever you can study at home. Pick a fighter you admire and study his game. Make JiuJitsu a habit and don’t skip training. Time will pass and before you know it you will be a black belt. That’s what happened to me.


You Can't Teach Heart. | Professor Pedro Fernandes | Hyperlyte 2.5