(Originally published July 24, 2020)
I've bought and watched a ton of instructional videos from BJJ Fanatics. I'm a big fan. If you are too, chances are you're familiar with Placido Carl Santos. If not, allow me to explain.
When one of these big names like John Danaher, Marcelo Garcia, Andre Galvao and the like come to BJJ Fanatics to film an instructional, they need someone to demonstrate their techniques on. The Uke. Sometimes they bring a friend from their home gym, but many times they don't. When that happens, BJJ Fanatics finds someone to fill in. Seems like that's Placido more often than not, as I now own a significant ammount of BJJ Fanatics footage with Placido in the scene.
Sometimes I feel sorry for Placido. I mean every time I see him, he's getting smashed, choked, arm locked or leg locked! The pain registers on his face quite often.
Sometimes the instructor gets frustrated and/or annoyed with him. And that frustration often manifests itself subtly, but visibly. "If Placido posts up on his left leg... no, your other left... no, like this...no, the other direction..." Commence the the rolling of the eyes and the short, choppy sentences. Poor Placido. Didn't the instructor watch Karate Kid? Don't they remember the wisdom of Mr. Miyagi when he said that there are no bad students, only bad instructors?
Poor Placido has taken a lot of punishment over the hours upon hours of instructional footage I've watched, but he hangs in there and keeps plugging away quietly.
On the other hand I am quite jealous of Placido. He basically gets extensive private lessons from the best of the best. And when he's not getting smashed, choked or locked, he's listening intently to what the instructor is saying, hanging on every word, really doing his best to soak up all that knowledge being dropped.
And you might say, of course he's listening! Wouldn't everyone in his position listen? But this isn't always the case. Sometimes the Uke is someone else who has (or is working on) their own instructional. Sometimes it's like they're afraid to appear as if the move being demonstrated is new to them. They nod their head knowingly as if to say, "Yeah, I know this one." Other times it looks like they're just off in la-la land. But not Placido! He's always paying attention, looking at the instructor as he's talking, respectful, and I totally dig that about him!
I would love to hear Placido interviewed about his experiences filming all of these instructional videos. There's got to be some real gold there. The lessons he's learned, not only about jiu jitsu, but about dealing with big names (and sometimes big egos) must be fascinating! And it seems like he brings the right attitude to learn those lessons.
All in all, whether you feel sorry for him, or jealous of him, I have to say that I'm a fan! Here's to you Placido! Thanks for doing what you do. I wish you continued success in your jiu jitsu journey. And if you ever find yourself in Montrose, I'd love to invite you to come in and train with us... and perhaps go out for a frosty beverage afterwards.
Thanks for choosing Big Mike's BJJ.
We'll be reaching out to you soon to get you started!