Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Never give up on your belief" - Diego Buchecha (Nockdown Brasil) Part 1

This is my Story

My name is Diego Buchecha. I started training in Muay Thai Kickboxing when I was 16 years old when I began to work and was able to pay the monthly fee to train.  was able to train because I was working to pay for the tuition  of the school. It was not easy because I had there was little opportunity to train in some martial arts and my parents didn't have the conditions to permit me to train in any sport, especially fighting sports.

I trained, fought and participated in many courses and seminars all that gave knowledge and wisdom about Muay Thai. I wanted this, to be the best in the world, but several times I almost stopped as it was difficult to organize training, work and school.  

One particular day as a strong blue belt in Muay Thai, which is a grade of intermediate rank and respected, my teacher called to me to suggest that I create a social project because he said in Muay Thai there was not a lot of money to be earned. With having a social project he explained that I could earn a living through teaching and fighting. At first I found it boring and didn't really want to do it. My life was already full with work, school and training. Why create another job that I didn't have time for? 

They convinced me that the only way I could be able to live, fight and have more time to train was to do this social project. My dream was to be the best in the world because in Rio, I was already one of the best in my weight category. Thinking about the possible opportunities I had began this project.

We were able to get this space with three other Muay Thai guys and we started classes for kids between the ages of 5 to 10 years old. Unfortunately things did not go as planned. After 2 months we received no help and no money and two Muay Thai guys that was with me, quit. After another month, the other guy quit. 

My teacher called me and said it was best to stop after the project could not receive aid to help run the classes. As its really hard to do a project without support, we had 60 children who were loving it. But out of respect and by my teachers orders, the next day, I did not go to the class. It was strange as at that time, I was the only one teaching the kids. When they realized that I didn't go to class, I was home asleep when somebody knocked on my door and something incredible happened. 

When I opened the door, I saw 60 children stuffed into this tight alleyway where I used to live and asking what happened and why they weren't training that day? I called all the kids in close and explained that I had received the order to stop the classes. At this moment I saw the faces of these children changing from smiling to sad and somber looks when one child spoke out and asked, "If its not going to continue, why did it start?" 

Wow! This gave me a shock but gave the courage to me to fight with this guy even at the moment that he taught me all I know in the middle of this fight (for these kids). This started the story of "Nockdown Brasil", and of Mestre Diego Buchecha. My teacher was pissed off that I didn't follow his orders to stop and would keep me out of competitions, courses and seminars. It was like he tried to black list me for not stopping the project. Eventually I was able to earn money that also transformed into love. I loved being there and see the happiness with the children and their mothers or fathers when they would come and congratulate me saying their children have improved not only in the sport but also in their behavior at home and at school, all because of my classes. I still wasn't satisfied, I began to accept older children as the project grew into children, youth and adults.

My "teacher" at this point called me to have another talk with him. Claiming that he was losing money because of my project, he ordered me to stop mine and threatened me that if I didn't that he would kick me of his Muay Thai fight team. 

He saw it as every student that trained with me, was one less paying student for him. Since I knew everyone who was there and knew they could not afford to pay for classes, if I stopped, the students would be without a sport, fun and a dream. Then again, I disobeyed his orders, I continued and he kicked me off his Fight Team.

I was saddened by this, what would I do? How would I continue as an instructor and I was not really a trained teacher. I lacked the degree yet to reach black belt and by the rules of Muay Thai, you need to get permission to teach from an master and you need to represent an existing team. So, I had to ask for help from a teacher who I knew and admired, the Mestre Shyriu de Mesquita. I explained the situation to him and asked him to help me. He registered me as his student and put his project in the name of his team. Mestre Mesquita knew my work and my fighting ability. There would be events where he would not take more students, just because he wanted to see me fight. He liked my fighting style and enjoyed having me on the team. But he would not accept my request of putting my project in his team. He encouraged me to register my own Muay Thai Team, and this is how Nockdown Brasil was born. I explained to the Carioca League of Muay Thai the whole situation as my old teacher tried spread lies and tell bad things about me but thank goodness, they all knew my nature. They knew I was a good teacher and saw it was not me who was wrong and then everyone began to help me.   

For one year I left Rocinha to train with Mestre Mesquita three times a week to prepare for my Black Belt grading as "Professor" (Certified Teacher). One of these days I left one of my older students to take care of our kids project. In the middle of my training I received a phone call from my student saying that my ex-teacher and his brother were there with sticks saying they were going to beat my student in front of the children and take over the project. I called the Muay Thai Federation and my mestre explaining the situation and to come to Rocinha to help resolve this. When we arrived the problem had already been resolved by the president of the Rua 2 Community Center where the project still exists today. After I still received threats from them until the day I decided to go up to them without fear about what could happen. 

After all this confusion passed it was time for our first time participating in a Muay Thai event. I took 10 students from my project that have never used boxing gloves before, they trained only with bare hands with students who did the same. And what a surprise out of my 10 students, 9 were champions and 7 were by knock out.

Looking forward, the project is growing day by day. Everyone wants to be champion and in the favelas whatever light at the end of the tunnel, whatever chance, for them to leave their situation to be able to have fame, money and glory, they embrace and do everything to not lose this opportunity!

In 2009 I realized my dream of becoming a black belt, my social project, my team and I began to get well known in Rio De Janeiro. Our team was feared in all the competitions we took part in. To endorse this growth in 2011, this project "Nockdown Brasil", with no money, no sponsorship, or help, was endorsed by the Carioca League of Muay Thai as the best team in Rio de Janeiro. 

Nockdown Brasil Fight Team, Coaches & Trainers (Diego Buchecha center)

 From this time forwards things have started to really improve. I have been called to give classes in various places, academies by the referral of Mestre Flavio Almendra, president of the Carioca League of Muay Thai, with whom I passed a lot of time learning how to give classes and accompanying him during his classes. And when he could not give classes, I would fill in. I started getting a lot of private students and I was finally able to live off of teaching Muay Thai. Many times I heard family member saying that I was using Muay Thai as an excuse not to work giving free classes to others children while starving at home and not even having money to pay the rent.

Everything had changed and I was recognized in the fighting world. In 2014 I had the opportunity to fight in Thailand. I went camping there and at the end of my trip, I had a professional fight . Where everything began, created the fighting style that I am so passionate about. I sold my moto bike that I had earned through savings from Muay Thai. I was there to realize this, one of the best dreams I have ever imagined, I trained, I fought, I won! 

I returned to Brasil with a great experience and classes were growing. Many famous and important people wanted to train with me and I started to gain a status as a legitimate trainer. This made all of those who tried to discourage me saying I everything I did was crazy, now they were congratulating me. 

Diego Buchecha & Anderson Silva 

Today, this project now has 5 teachers that were developed in this project, with diverse titles and team, several individual titles and team titles. Three with the core project being sustained by me and the guys that came out of here. Now giving Muay Thai classes and want others to participate. A lot of the youth are promising competitors in Muay Thai and MMA. Best of all we are arranging to take 3 athletes to Thailand to compete in the World Championships. They have fought enough to qualify and I have done my part fighting still to help pay for them to realize their dream to compete in Thailand. I am ready to reach to the top and going to Thailand for the second time to the place even in my most optimistic dreams, and this time as part as the coaching staff of Team Brazil Muay Thai. 

Never give up on your beliefs!