American Top Team’s Charles McCarthy
Charles, please tell our JiuJitsuMania audience about your background in BJJ and Grappling – for example, your current rank, number of years training, who you received rank from, major wins and Titles held, and when & where you started training.
I started training in May of 2000 under the Avellan Brothers, Marcos and David, in Miami. I have also spent time training with Efrain Ruiz and Michael Cardoso and Ricardo “Hellraiser” Texiera, who I earned my blue belt from. In 2005, I moved to American Top Team to train under Master Ricardo Liborio earning my Black Belt in 4 years and fighting in the UFC 4 times since 2006. I won Naga and Grapplers Quest along with the Kimura Classic Pro Absolute twice. I also placed third in the FILA Gi World Championships in 2010.
What have you noticed about the sport of BJJ and Grappling over the years?
Over the last 10 years I have seen BJJ evolve completely from half guard to rubber guard to new submission and new positions. I don’t think BJJ will ever stop growing expanding and evolving. I am proud to be a contributor both through my own technique and the great ideas of my students and training partners.
Like other BJJers, you had made the transition to MMA. What do you see as the major differences in making that transition? What are the challenges?
I always knew I wanted to fight in MMA so I always learned BJJ with the idea of strikes. I highly recommend this to everyone as the true intentions of BJJ is a fighting and self defense art. The biggest challenge is the level of attention you get for MMA and learning how to deal with it to grow in a positive direction. I recommend learning striking and wrestling at the same time you learn BJJ to be an effective MMA fighter.
What advice would you give to advanced belts who want to compete? What should they concentrate on?
Basics! Basics! Basics! Basics consistently work against the highest level of competition and you need to move away from techniques that might work and go toward techniques that always work. Be creative in the way you set up your basics and always look to finish. I love fancy techniques and have used them to win fights and BJ matches but only because they were set up with basic positioning!
What advice would you give to beginners, where should they spend most of their time in their training?
Those starting now are in a great position for success. There are so many great academies to learn at and so much more knowledge on how to prepare for competition. The best thing you can do for yourself if you are looking to compete is make sure your instructors have experience you can draw from and make sure you have training partners with the same goals and a good spirit of cooperation.
You also own a very successful school. Tell us a bit about your school: size, # of students, location, outstanding competitors, etc.
I am the proud owner of American Top Team Boynton Beach. We have a great student base of about 120 families working to improve each other. We have had several top amateurs and pros coming out of our location including Cole Miller, Micah Miller, Giovanni Brugnoni, Charles Rosa, Michael Tobias, Dieter Wolf, Matt Welch, Brian Eckstein and many more!
What are the good things about it? What are the challenges associated with it?
Owning a school is the best job in the world. I get to share what I love to the world and watch people better their lives everyday! The biggest challenge is the business side of running a small business but that is way overshadowed by the great life I have.
What was your most memorable BJJ or grappling match? Why?
My most memorable match was vs. Anthony Talone in NAGA. He had just beaten my instructor and was a brown belt and I had not gotten my blue belt yet. I was so nervous that I jumped for a flying abar that I learned a week before and I was lucky enough to hit it!
1. Add anything else you think that our fans would like to hear.
Some of the greats who I have molded my game from:
- Ricardo Liborio
- Marcelo Garcia
- Ricardo Almeida
- Matt Serra
- Travis Lutter