The word team means different things to different people. Being part of a great BJJ team is something special. I consider myself very lucky. I get to represent THE BEST team in the history of competitive Jiu Jitsu. Not everyone can say that. But I also understand that being a part of this team comes with a lot of responsibilities.
When we joined Alliance BJJ 10 years ago, we knew we were going to be part of something special. We didn’t exactly understand how correct we were. Our team had just finished our 2nd (of what would become a 9 year straight run) winning of the BJJ World Championships. This established us as the top team in the history of competitive BJJ. One thing we knew, when we joined the team, is that we didn’t want to just ride other people’s coattails. We wanted to make sure we contributed to the accomplishments of the team, not just use their name.
Furthermore, being a small BJJ Academy from Madison, WI, we hadn’t really traveled to many of the bigger tournaments. Therefore we decided to immediately start competing in these bigger tournaments. In 2011 we sent a few athletes to Pan Ams and brought back a silver medal. Our students couldn’t believe it. Here we are, a group of people from Madison, bringing home a medal from one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world.
The next year we sent 10 athletes to Pan Ams and we brought back 6 Medals. It was obvious we were on to something! That year we also sent athletes to the World Championships for the 1st time. Again, this BJJ school from Madison, WI sending people to compete in the World Championships. We continue now, year after year, to put athletes into these tournaments and have an outstanding collection of not only medals, but experiences and stories to share.
We attend yearly training camps for not only competitive training, but also teacher/coach instruction. Alliance has put together an educational curriculum for BJJ that is second to none. This methodology has taken even our newest of white belts and given them a great understanding of Jiu Jitsu, in a very short amount of time. It creates a solid foundation for learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that is nothing short of amazing. There is nothing else in the Madison area that even comes close.
Most of all, Alliance makes sure the coaches still excel as well, which we love. We can put so much time and effort into our students and yet still make sure we have the tools necessary for our own growth. With all of this information constantly flowing into our facility, it makes it easy to stay on the cutting edge of BJJ. There is constant support, with most of our world champions being a phone call away should we need guidance.
We have truly worked our way into being a part of this wonderful and successful team. We’ve learned so much along the way and have really started to realize how to run our own team here in Madison. Seeing how someones ego can poison a team, or how real team mates put their team before themselves, we’ve learned how to shape our team. As we grow, we see our best competitors put effort into even the newest of white belts, knowing that they could be the next great training partner they have.
We’ve seen how when we put effort into each other it comes back in the form of our own growth. That happens on and off the mats. The more we build each other up, the better people we have surrounding us! We have doubled the size of our Madison team in only the past few years. It shows no signs of stopping and the level of ability keeps rising.
Our biggest goal for this next year, make sure all of our students really understand that they are part of BJJ history They are as much a part of Alliance as someone who has won 10 World Championships. To make sure that everyone understands that, to be a great team, we all need to work together to improve. That within these walls, we will help each other to achieve great things.
These lessons are instilled in us daily from our Alliance Founders. We try to pass them on to all the students. Our hope is to develop not just their BJJ technique, but hopefully a strong mindset to conquer the rest of life’s obstacles. Alliance BJJ isn’t meant just for competition, it is meant to help you live a better life!
Mark Plavcan is a 1st degree Black Belt under Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti and the Alliance Team. Mark has over 20 years of experience with BJJ and also holds a Brown Belt in Judo.