by Megan Williams
Saulo Ribeiro is a perfect example of a personal brand that transcends his competition record or rank. He imparts an academic theme and a humble, purist take on the art that’s clearly reflected in everything from the design of his apparel and school website to book composition (notice the sparse use of his name, and use of the view of his back used on Jiu Jitsu University). We had the opportunity to talk with Saulo and ask him some questions about his philosophy, business and brand.
You’ve created an academic feel around your image…why take that path as opposed to more of an emphasis on the physical?
The reason why you asked me this is because my students and all the ones around the World that have contact and experienced my Jiu-jitsu, are able to talk deeply about it. I don’t teach moves, I teach concepts. They spread the word…
My Jiu-jitsu is physical as can be, but is not for everybody. Some students just want to have fun on the mat and experience a great lifestyle and be educated in history and principals of Jiu-jitsu and self-defense. They are equally important as the competitors.
What do you want people to think when they hear “Saulo Ribeiro” or “Jiujitsu University”?
Saulo Ribeiro means intensity, heart, passion, family, honor…the warrior’s way. Jiu Jitsu University means my humble contribution to the jiu jitsu community and the world-home of the no name students and warriors of life.
Your emblem…the samurai star. How did you decide to use that?
I did not. The symbol came to me in a very confused time of my life and was the focus of balance to me. Family, Honor, Respect, Discipline, Loyalty and Attitude. Today, it represents more than an association or a Jiu-jitsu style…. it’s our LEGACY.
You don’t use your name on your book or school and it’s sparse on your clothing. Why is that?
Because the work I’ve done for myself will die with me, but the legacy I share with the World will remain Immortal. It’s never gonna be about an individual….it’s about principal.
You’re a judge and a lawyer. Did that influence the scholastic feel to your materials?
Education is always important to everybody. It helps me to explain myself and my art. Helps me to really understand my place in this World and that we live in cycles.
How do you make decisions on the appearance of things like your DVDs, website and clothing?
I’m surrounded by good people, students and advisers…they are the best people to say NO or Yes to me. Also, they pull my ears when I’m out of line. In the end I’m a Dreamer!
There is a video of you (above) that seems to sum up your views on jiu jitsu. Would you say that’s true? Do you believe the purpose of jiu jitsu is to bring joy?
I think that is only the t(i)p of iceberg. What I really think is way deeper than that, but is a good start. I think that Jiu-jitsu bring us a lot of JOY! It all depends how you treat yourself and respect your limits.
A big thanks to Saulo for his time!
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