Fernando Terere: The Legend Returns for Polaris 4

Published on by Nico Ball

Photos are by Pierre Vicarini


Fernando Terere was one of the greatest competitors of his time. He had an explosive style that was unmatched by anyone else on the mats and a unique approach to teaching jiu-jitsu philosophy that helped shape champions like Andre Galvao , Charles “Cobrinha” Rubens, Jacare and Lucas Lepri.

Health issues eventually kept him from competitions at the prime of his career, but athletes like the Mendes brothers still consider him to be one of their biggest inspirations in the sport.

A New Era

He started off as an athlete under Gurgel and Paiva in the Alliance family but in 2002 he began his own academy and started teaching a new generation of athletes that compete under FT Jiu Jitsu.

His academy is located just a few blocks from Ipanema beach on the end of a quiet residential street that is located at the base of the Cantagalo favela where Terere was born and raised. The majority of the students are bolsistas, or students from the community that train for free or reduced prices, but every now and then there is an influx of students from abroad that come to train with the legend.

A few years ago, Terere paid for academy expenses from money that he earned giving seminars and teaching private lessons, but now thanks to the start of Terere Kids Project in 2013 the project started receiving international donations that help pay for student’s competitions fees, provide kimonos, and pay for the snack program. The added financial support from abroad has allowed Terere to focus more on his own competition career.

With over a decade in the sport, Terere manages to balance the responsibilities of his own training, the added challenges running a business, and taking care of the kids from the community that look up to him as a role model.

“Working here at the project is amazing because you’re working with students that you know really depend on you, they really need your help. You’re not just teaching them jiu-jitsu, you’re teaching them about life, and that’s an inspiration for my life as well.”

The Legend Returns

Terere hasn’t competed since the 2014 Europeans where he took gold in the Master's middle heavy division.  Since then he has been occupying his time taking care of his academy, giving seminars, and focusing on his student's progress, but the allure of competition is a powerful impetus.

“What made me come back was that feeling of adrenaline that you get before stepping onto the mats brings. I want to inspire my students to start competing and of course, I do it for myself, I’ve always been a competitor”.

Recently he has joined the roster for Polaris 4 that will take place October 29th in Poole, England.

He is set to fight Vitor Shaolin who recently won the 2016 IBJJF Master Worlds in Las Vegas.

After the super fight in England, Terere plans to continue training and possibly competing in the 2017 Europeans that will take place in Lisboa, Portugal January 17th-22nd, this time alongside Jhonathan “Moicano” Marques, one of the students from the project!