RM: Mario Isabella is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner since 2011. He is currently a fourth degree Brown belt. Also Mario is an expert in Judo. What impresses me about Mario is how much he dedicates his time in order to improve. He does Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Conditioning Training, Jiu-Jitsu private classes and he take care of his two son’s.
He does BJJ private classes with me (Prof. Rodrigo Mendanha – GB Brossard), regularly, pretty much every week, since the white belt.
I’m following his achievements since the begining and I trutly believe that he’s an example of “hard work, pays off”.
RM: What do you most enjoy about being part of Gracie Barra?
MI: 100% the friends that I have made in Montreal and all over the world. It really is a great school and family.
RM: How important is BJJ in your life right now?
MI: BJJ is in my DNA along with Judo. I don’t see myself at this point ever stopping and I plan to compete all the way to Masters 7. Hopefully by then they will have a Masters 8. So to answer the question its top 3, family, work and Martial Arts.
RM: Time management for a business man, full time parent, social life, and training with such regularity for so long and preparing yourself for competitions overseas. How does it works?
MI: Well to begin with I have no social life, haha! So I live a very basic simple life, I have a hierarchy of priorities that I live by that must be satisfied before I allow myself time to train or compete. I am a full time father of two teenaged boys, they are with me 24/7. They are my utmost important priority in every aspect. Work is next, without making a good living I wouldn’t be able to train as much and fly everywhere to compete. So I work hard at these two to make sure I’m not stressed.
I manage my time like it is a precious commodity, you waste it you never get it back, i.e. I watch close to zero tv. So my life is run like a well-oiled machine.
RM: Describe a situation where the BJJ life style have helped you?
MI: It has helped me in every aspect of my life! I see life through the tatami! Bjj has made me a much calmer person and certainly more focused and less confrontational. At 51 it keeps me in great shape and helps me deal with health issues that people my age sometime have. Specifically, competing have helped achieve more at work. Getting on the mat and facing a stranger that wants to beat the crap out of you makes your realize there isn’t much in life that you can’t do if you put your mind to it.
RM: If you could have started BJJ at a young age would it have changed something in your life?
Yes I think so, believe it or not I was a very shy and introverted adolescent and teenager and I think Bjj would have helped my troumendoudely with these issues. I love kids and I take pride in myself for being a great dad to my boys and what makes me happy is seeing kids do Bjj and come out of their shell and learn to defend themselves, deal with bullies and just be more confident. Also it blows my mind watching them compete. I’m so happy that these kids have the opportunity to train at such a young age and like in Brazil in the future we will see 18 or 19 year old black belts and maybe some future world champs.
RM: Your proudest BJJ moment, why?
Well generally it’s that my professors have gotten me to the point where I know I can compete well on the big stage and by well I certainly don’t mean to win all the time, it’s just a feeling you get like, I’m HERE DOING IT!
Specifically I won the Montreal Open three years in a row 13,14 ,15 at Masters 3 when I was pushing Masters 5. Getting Silver at the Euros was a pretty good feeling also.
Just in closing I would like to say to everyone reading this is that to never quit no matter how discouraging things get. My first tournament at white belt I got arm barred in 8 seconds and couldn’t use my arm properly for 3 months but I never quit. Embrace and trust the process.
I never had or have any exceptional athletic ability and yet here I am competing , for my age , at the highest level and on the verge of receiving a black belt, follow your dreams! Oss!