Unveiling the Journey: An Interview with Professor Paulo Santana

Paulo Santana

In the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), some individuals become not just practitioners, but champions, educators, and community builders. Professor Paulo Santana, the head instructor at Paulo Santana BJJ in Winston-Salem, NC, is a prime example of such an individual. His journey in the Gentle Art began at the age of 14, and over the years, he has emerged as not only a top talent on the mat but also a valued member of the Jiu-Jitsu community. 


For half of his life, Jiu Jitsu has played a major role in Santana’s story. A native of Goiânia, Brazil, he embarked on his journey into the world of BJJ at a young age. Over the years, Santana has not only won numerous national and international championships but also made significant contributions to the sport by creating “Gatas no tatami,” an all-women’s Jiu-Jitsu class in Brazil. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Universidade Salgado de Oliveira, Santana later immigrated to the United States with his wife. Today, he stands as the head instructor at Paulo Santana BJJ, an affiliate of Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Q1: Professor, please tell us about how you first heard about BJJ and why you decided to start.

Professor Paulo Santana: I started Jiu-Jitsu when I was 14 because I felt the need to learn how to defend myself. I had tried another martial art before, but it didn’t resonate with me. When I discovered Jiu-Jitsu, I was drawn to it because I saw smaller individuals effectively control larger and stronger opponents using these techniques.

Interviewer: It’s fascinating how practicality and effectiveness drew you to Jiu-Jitsu at such a young age. Your journey truly reflects the martial art’s core principles.

Q2: Who is your favorite grappler? And why?

Professor Paulo Santana: One of my favorite athletes is Marcelo Garcia. As I mentioned earlier, I saw him win many times against bigger opponents.

Interviewer: Marcelo Garcia’s ability to overcome size disadvantages is truly remarkable and an inspiration to many in the BJJ community.

Final Summary:

Professor Paulo Santana’s journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu reflects not only his personal dedication but also the transformative power of this martial art. From self-defense to becoming a top-level practitioner, Santana’s story is a testament to the effectiveness and inclusivity of BJJ. 

You can connect with Professor Paulo Santana here: 

As we conclude this interview, we extend our appreciation to Professor Paulo Santana for sharing his inspiring journey with us. If you’re ever in Winston-Salem, NC, be sure to check out Paulo Santana BJJ, where you can experience the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under his expert guidance.

Stay tuned for more interviews, celebrating the remarkable members of our BJJ community and their stories.

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