This week Off the Mat with a BJJ Black Belt features Albert Hughes who owns a successful jiu-jitsu school Genesis Jiu-jitsu in the Dallas Forth worth Area of Texas.
Bert is a “Cyborg” Abreu black belt and has trained at GF Team in Brazil and Cyborg’s Fight Sport in Florida.
Bert is an active competitor and after winning the trials in North America competed at the Abu Dahbi Pro event in the black belt pro division.
“Jiu Jitsu has taught me that there are many solutions to all problems.
As long as we are still alive we still have options to improve our position. ”
Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you tell us how and why you got started in bjj?
Who have been the biggest influences on your jiu-jitsu and what did you learn from each of your professors?
What got you addicted?
My buddy Charlie introduced me to jiu jitsu in 2002 when I was going through basic training.
We did 2 days of hand to hand combative training and he was dominating everyone in the company with this 1 year of jiu jitsu training.
We went on the helicopter school together after basic and I was his training dummy.
I became addicted after one of the bigger dudes in our platoon who was always making fun of us for “rolling on the ground with guys” finally accepted my challenge and I guillotined choked him in like 10 seconds.
That gave me a taste of the confidence jiu jitsu could provide.
My biggest influences in bjj at this point is Cyborg. He leads by example and wants everyone to succeed.
He taught me more than any other professor that you HAVE to believe in yourself.
Travis Lutter was a huge influence in my jiu jitsu and life as I went from white to brown belt with him.
He taught me a lot about mental toughness and intensity and showed me a lifestyle I wanted.
Besides those guys I am just a huge fan of the sport so I have watched and been influenced by tons of competitors.
Jiu-jitsu Times: You operate a jiu-jitsu school – Genesis Jiu-jitsu – in the Dallas Fort Worth area.
There are multiple locations of Genesis Jiu-jitsu in the area?
Tell us about the programs you are running at the school / students / MMA etc..
How do you balance teaching classes and getting in your own training?
Albert Hughes: Yes Genesis is my Team and family. We have 2 locations in DFW and one in San Antonio.
At HQ we run jiu jitsu classes for all levels from beginner to black belt and all ages 4 and up. We have a kickboxing program and a few guys who compete and excel in MMA.
I encourage our MMA students to use some of the great relationships we have with Reyes Boxing and from the crew formally known as Team Takedown to complete themselves as fighters.
Getting my own training in around Genesis is getting easier and easier as our students get tougher every year.
I’m blessed with a great team of talented hardworking grapplers to push me.
I’m lucky enough to have a couple stud brown and blackbelts from the area like Sam Snow, Will Durkee, Casey Gray and more visit regularly and give me awesome training.
Besides training at home I travel a few times a year to isolate myself and really become a student and focus on my own game.
For that I usually go to Miami with Master Cyborg. Most recently I spent 2 weeks training at Barbosa Jiu Jitsu in Sao Paulo which was incredible for my development.
Jiu-jitsu Times: As an active competitor how do you prepare for an event like the Abu Dahbi Pro or the Abu Dahbi trials?
What dies a typical day or week of training look like?
Conditioning / wrestling / diet etc.
Albert Hughes: Well I like to start by making sure I am in shape. Nothing gets me in better shape than good intense rounds.
I do supplement my training with bleacher sprints, and conditioning work to gain any edge I can, but mostly its rounds.
As I age I am getting smarter about drilling and positional training. These practices really help keep you sharp without breaking down the body as much.
A typical day for me looks like this:
Workout at 9am.
Teach class at 11:30am.
Train at 12:30pm.
Lunch and rest break.
Teach class at 6:30pm and train at 7:30pm.
I eat 90% of my meals at home and cook them myself. Getting into cooking has been great for my diet and my wallet. I typically make a veggie omelet for breakfast with a side of bacon and avocado.
Lunch is normally leftovers. Dinner is usually chicken, beef or fish with veggies and potatoes.
Jiu-jitsu Times: What is the difference between training for a local weekend tournament vs. training to compete against world class level black belts in a professional event?
How hardcore is the training? What is the difference in preparation that the top competitors have to go through to compete at that level?
Albert Hughes: Honestly at this point I expect at least one super tough guy to be in any bracket I am in. So I try to stay prepared.
I really think competing is just about showing up at gametime and performing.
Performing well takes confidence, which requires preparation.
Preparing in Jiu Jitsu means identifying your strong and weak positions and moves and working on those via drilling and positional training.
Battling with tough training partners to train your mind to stay focused among uncomfortable chaos and stress.
Eating and resting in a way that allows you to get the best recovery possible so you can do all the physical training.
Those are the 3 basic things I think are most important, then at the higher levels people do extra things to get any edge they can.
They may add conditioning or study film of their opponents, watch film of their training etc.
Jiu-jitsu Times: You just returned from competing at the Abu Dahbi Pro event in the Black Belt Pro division.
Tell us what it is like to compete at a high level event like that.
What was your experience like?
Man it was so cool. The talent at the event was incredible. So many great matchups to watch.
The production value was amazing. Jumbotrons, replays, professional lighting and sound systems…
They treated us like kings putting us in a nice hotel with every amenity an athlete could desire including high quality food 3 times a day.
To compete there was a dream and it felt amazing.
I won my first 2 matches before losing in the quarterfinals. I feel I performed well overall, but did make a mistake in the last minute of my last match costing me 2 points.
I wish the result was better but in the end I am happy with the trip and feel lucky to have experienced that.
I’ll be looking to qualify again next year for sure.
Jiu-jitsu Times: You travelled to train in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the world famous GF Team gym with Jake MacKenzie.
Can you talk about what that experience was like?
How long did you stay, where did you train, what was the training like?
Jake is the man. You need to do an interview with that guy! His story is so inspiring.
My experiences in Brazil have been incredible. I stayed in Rio for 17 days.
The first week I stayed in Barra de Tijuca with a couple friends of mine from Texas.
This gave me an opportunity to enjoy some of Rio’s nicest beaches and train with Terere in Ipanema.
That was like a top 10 experience for me. After they left my buddy Jaime Canuto took me to his hometown in Saquarema to train and enjoy the beaches.
This was probably my favorite part of the trip. The gym was so close to the beach you could hear the waves crashing in as you trained.
After training we would go to this restaurant on the beach and order fish with beans and rice and salad.
While the food was being prepared we would take a dip in the Atlantic.
They would wave at us to let us know the food was ready and we would return and stuff ourselves.
Hard life man.
After my stay in Saquarema I spent the last 5 days of my trip staying with Jake in Meier. The training at GFTeam is intense.
The level is the highest I have experienced. So many skilled, tough dudes to train with and learn from.
It’s inspiring to see and live around that level of dedication.
Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you give some advice for students of jiu-jitsu that worked for you in your training? (a principle or training practice, motivational quote, tips on attitude etc.)
Albert Hughes: Set goals. You will get more out of this journey if you know where you want to go.
Stay humble no matter what and don’t let anyone else determine your potential.
Jiu-jitsu Times: Can you talk about your philosophy of Brazilian jiu-jitsu – training and life?
What do you try to teach to your students about the role of jiu-jitsu in their lives?
How does your jiu-jitsu influence your life off of the mat?
Jiu Jitsu just makes me happy.
I see no downside to it. It keeps me in great shape, is a constant challenge, and allows me to make a living teaching, which I enjoy immensely.
Jiu Jitsu has taught me that there are many solutions to all problems.
As long as we are still alive we still have options to improve our position.
Jiu-jitsu Times: Are there any exciting projects that you are currently working on?
What is next for you and Genesis Jiu-jitsu?
Albert Hughes: Right now I’m really focused on competition. I have a match at the Fight 2 Win Pro event in Dallas June 17th which I expect to be a war.
I’ll be going for gold at Masters Worlds in August and competing for my first time in Brazil in Sept at the Sao Paulo Open.
Our team is looking to win the Europa tournament this summer which has been the biggest of our state for a few years now.
The energy at Genesis is awesome right now and I’m looking to channel the enthusiasm and motivation into team titles and personal achievements for our teammates.
Video: Albert Hughes Kimura sweep