Yours truly and fighting-mma.com is proud to interview Benito Segura who just came back from the 2007 Pans Pacs in Australia where he won 4 gold medals including the most technical fighter of the tournament. Benito is a student of Marcus Soares who is Carlson Gracie’s most decorated black belt with seven of them. As a student under the Carlson Gracie system, watch out for this up and coming BJJ star on the rise.
Benito has won medals at every level of Jujitsu and his goal is to win a medal in every continent. His last is a medal in Africa. He will be competing in South Africa this April.
Wish him luck!
Hi Benito, thanks for sitting with me today…
Q. You train with the famous Marcus Soares. How did you end up training with him?
A. Marcus is a 7th degree black belt under Carlson Gracie Sr. and the former head instructor of the Copacabana Carlson Gracie Academy. Which, of course is the oldest active academy in existence. Naturally, when I heard that he had moved to Vancouver, I made changes in my life to train with him. I have trained all over the world, and no one anywhere can hold a candle to him. He is among the best ever for sure and I am thankful everyday that he chose this corner of the world to bring the light.
Q. Are there any other instructors you trained with that stood out?
A. Although I only had the privilege of being near them for a short while, Carlson Gracie Sr. & Jr. both taught me a lot technically, as well as how to conduct myself as a fighter. I met Carlson in Rio at my first Mundials, then again when I won the Pan Americans, and finally here in Vancouver when he came to teach a seminar at our academy. He had an amazing aura, a deep inner well of strength for sure, but also a very gentle soul. Carlson Jr. is not only super technical, but he has a great sense of humor. Others would have to be Ari Galo and Sapporito, both instructors at the Copacabana academy. Then Royce and Royler Gracie too.
Q. How did you get into the martial arts, and eventually Brazilian Jiujitsu?
A. My mother’s brothers were well known street fighters, and my father’s brothers were in the military. Growing up half Mexican Indian, and half First Nations, there was never really a choice. I was raised to fight. So, as it was, it was not uncommon for me to get into fights with adults as far back as elementary school. No kidding. So I suppose bushido has always been my way of life. Brazilian Jiujitsu is the only martial art that allows a smaller fighter to overcome larger assailants. Mostly, I believe Jiujitsu is the most technical and efficient art form in existence.
Q. Because of your childhood, do you feel that you want to give back to your community?
A. Yes, but I have always been involved and I still continue to contribute. I co-founded the Dusk ‘til Dawn Street Youth Resource Center in the mid 90’s and worked there until I went to college. I completed an Association of Arts Degree in Aboriginal studies, and then a Bachelor of Arts at the University of British Columbia. My goal in all of this was to find ways to empower others in their efforts to overcome the systemic racism and colonial oppression that exists within Canada. I wanted to be a teacher, but everyone else wanted me to be a politician or a lawyer. I found Jiujitsu and saw immediately that it could change lives. I remember the strength and determination in the eyes of the favela (Ghetto) children in Rio as they trained Jiujitsu. I knew immediately that I wanted to dedicate my life to bringing Jiujitsu to my people. The first step was to prove that our Jiujitsu is the best in the world, so the people will know that they are getting the very best, hard earned from one of their own. To do this, I fight all over the world…
Q. You just came back from competing in the Australian Brazilian Jiujitsu Federation’s Pan Pacific Jiujitsu Championships in Melbourne, Australia. How was that?
A. Australia is beautiful, too many flies, but beautiful. Ben Hall and the Carlson Gracie Australia team fought like hell at the tournament and treated us like family. I really have a lot of love for the troops there. I was amazed at the level of competition, the professional manner in which the competition was run, and the number of crazy fans. It was awesome. I had cracked my ankle, and broken my right hand shortly before the competition, but won gold in all four categories without a point being scored on me. Officials awarded me the ‘Most Technical Fighter’ award (something I haven’t been accused of before)
Q. Can you list your accomplishments?
A. I began competing and have really had a very blessed journey in this. I won my two longest fights, 64 and 48 minutes (no rounds), via submission. I also won my two shortest, 13 and 24 seconds, via submission.
- Fought in the last four Mundial Championships, Rio and Los Angeles
- Gold – Western Canadian, Canadian Grappling Grand Prix, Tiger Balm International Champion (multiple) Light Heavy and Absolute
- Gold – 2005 Pan American Jiujitsu Championships, Los Angeles Heavyweight
- Silver – 2006 Copa Do Mundo (world cup) Jiujitsu Championships, Rio de Janeiro Super Hvy
- Silver – 2006 Gracie Jiujitsu World Championships, Los Angeles. Above 194 lbs
- Gold (x2) – 2006 Asian Open Brazilian Jiujitsu Championships, Tokyo. Superhvy & Absolute
- Gold – 2007 European Open Brazilian Jiujitsu Championships, Portugal. Super Super Hvy
- Gold – 2007 Carlson Gracie Jiujitsu Cup, Vancouver. Open Class
- Gold (x4) – Pan Pacific Jiujitsu Championships, Australia. +200 lbs Gi & No-Gi, Absolute Gi & No-Gi, Voted ‘Most Technical Fighter’
Q. Which was the most special for you?
A. My first Mundials in Rio will always be in my heart, even though I did not win, the experience changed my life forever. As well as my 2005 Pan American gold. Carlson Gracie Sr. was there, and on that day, as in Australia, I won gold without being scored on. It was my tribute to him in a lot of ways.
Q. What was your toughest BJJ fight, and who would you like to fight?
A. That’s easy, my daughter Deshya Segura. She seems to have my number and no matter how much ass I whoop, she always wins. Who would I like to fight? Her again, I want a rematch!!! I want a shot at her mini-weight champion title… I have been training hard, I think I am ready.
Q. What is the most important attribute for a fighter to have?
A. Within a person’s medicine wheel, there are many. Mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally a jiujitsu match forces a person to develop all aspects of themselves. If they do not, they will lose. Cardio, strength, flexibility, focus, experience, confidence, self respect, speed… they are all important. For me, I believe through experience that the most important is technique… and heart. People close to me know that I am all heart and to break my faith, you will have to destroy me, completely. I will never surrender.
Q. What is your favorite technique?
A. The right technique at the right time. The one that breaks my enemy’s heart. But given the choice, I will always choose the more ruthless option…
Q. Describe your game…
A. My game has been described as textbook Carlson Gracie. I attack constantly from everywhere, full speed and ferocious …Death from Above. It’s the reason I often fight in higher and open weight divisions. I love to fight and it’s never better than against biggest. I’m only 205 lbs, but I will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Q. Who do you think is the best BJJ fighter? Who in MMA do you like to watch? The Best JJ instructor?
A. Marcus Soares is the best Jiujitsu instructor…
Having fought and witnessed the last four world championships, I have seen them all. I have been fortunate to be a part of the return of the ‘fight for submission’ style of competition. I would have to say that Roger Gracie, Jacare, Saulo Ribeiro, Andre Galvao and many others deserve every ounce of respect. However, Xande Rebeiro and Kron Gracie are, in my view, the very best jiujitsu fighters hands down. While demonstrating all of the necessary warrior and champion qualities, I have seen them both elevate, onto another level of jiujitsu most of us will never see. In 2006, at the Copa Do Mundo and Mundials.
In Mixed Martial Arts, I would have to say Denis Kang. He is so under-rated. Look at what he did to Rua. We were with him as he prepared to fight for the Pride Grand Prix in Tokyo…Gono ran from him and Misaki couldn’t beat him even though Denis had to fight with one arm.
Q. Where do you want to go with your Jiujitsu and how has it changed your life?
A. I believe Jiujitsu is in many ways a manner in which to physically manifest many of our ancient indigenous teachings. I believe that my life has been changed forever by this and I look forward to a life of sharing it with my people, my friends and family. My goal is to one day have my own army within the world of Carlson Gracie Jiujitsu. Marcus once said that Carlson would say that the Carlson Gracie Team is the ‘Special Forces of Gracie Jiujitsu.’ I want to take this to the extreme. Aboriginal women & children in Canada face tremendous amounts of violence… I want to offer a shield.
Q. What inspires you?
A. My daughter is my guiding light and inspiration. I am also inspired by my family and their courage to persevere in the face of adversity. We lost several family members, including my brothers to suicide, homicide and substance abuse. My mother’s generation survived residential schools and yet in spite of this, their tremendous capacity for love, kindness and compassion constantly reminding me of my duty led by example. I believe in my people and I want to share the light that Jiujitsu has brought to my life with others until I die. It would not be a wasted life.
Q. What do you want to do now in BJJ and what do you see happening in the next 12 months?
A. I am currently preparing to begin my teaching career I am being certified to teach Marcus Soares’ Jiujitsu and look forward to developing my own future in this. I would like to have my own academy one day that has two directions: I want a competitive team, but I also want to focus on teaching hardcore Jiujitsu to women and youth in the community that is affordable. I am currently raising funds to do this in such a way that, as a resource, it can never be taken away. My goal is to start a foundation to teach kids for free in Africa, Canada, and Brazil.
As a fighter, I am training twice a day, six days a week in preparation for a competition in South Africa. Once I win there, god willing, I will stand alone on the planet as the only person ever to have won medals in major competition on every continent. To this end, I am dedicating every moment, every breath.
Q. If people want to sponsor you or invite you for speaking/ demo engagements, how can they get a hold of you?
A. I want to thank my daughter Deshya and my family. I would like to thank Renegade as well. I am currently between sponsors, so I would like to thank you for this opportunity. It is expensive to travel, compete and train so I am always on the hunt for support. The easiest way to contact me is via e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Q. Any last words?
A. “It is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees”…EZ
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