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#37 Gustavo Gasperin

Gustavo Gasperin was an athlete and avid surfer, but couldn't always make it to the beach. So in 1997, he began looking for a way to work out when he wasn't hitting the waves. Around this same time, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu had made its way to his hometown in Brazil and Gustavo thought he would give it a shot. He figured it would be a good workout, he would learn to defend himself, and he could hang out with his friends that were already training BJJ.

At the age of twenty-one, Gustavo found himself training with the very competition-focused Carlson Gracie team. As time went by, Gustavo became what he now describes as "a pretty decent white belt". One day he was pulled aside by his instructor and informed that he would be receiving his blue belt in a couple of months. Feeling the pressures of competition, something up to this point he did not enjoy, and having to step up to the challenges that come with his new rank, Gustavo told his instructor he would be taking a break from training. Gustavo moved to his family's beachfront home and began to focus on surfing.

After six months Gustavo returned to his academy. He had missed BJJ and he missed his teammates. While gone, he had started to mentally prepare for the challenges that he would have to face on the mats, and shortly after returning, he was promoted to blue belt.

In 2005, now a purple belt, Gustavo moved to the United States. He arrived with a degree in Physical Education but did not speak English. Not speaking the language made it difficult for him to find a teaching position so he turned his focus to teaching BJJ. Back then, with so few black belts in the US, even a purple belt could find students willing to pay for BJJ lessons. Gustavo continued training, coaching, and with a newly found self-confidence, received his black belt in 2010 from BJJ legend Fabricio Werdum. Gustavo's gain in self-confidence also allowed him to truly begin to enjoy the competition. All along his competition experience, Gustavo had been winning major tournaments, but now he was enjoying himself while doing it.

A couple of years later Gustavo began creating BJJ training videos and putting them up online. Not being satisfied with the other instructional videos he saw being produced, Gustavo believed he could produce higher quality work with far better instruction. In 2012 he launched the BJJ instructional site MMA LEECH.

Just like during his early competition days, Gustavo's confidence wasn't great and he struggled to produce the quality videos he envisioned. But realizing he needed to be himself, and let his teaching style shine through, he transformed MMA LEECH into one of the longest-running and commercially successful online training platforms.

Professor Gustavo now resides in California where he continues to teach BJJ, produce amazing content for MMA LEECH, and most recently launched another online platform for viewers back in Brazil.


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