#Girldad and second degree BJJ black belt, Valdir Rodrigues, sits down for a chat with HoneyKids about being a dad to his daughter, Alice
Getting a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is no easy feat. It takes years of dedication and intense training to earn such a coveted rank. Just ask second degree black belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brazil Nationals Champion and BJJ instructor Valdir Rodrigues. He’s been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for over 17 years, teaching for almost a decade and competing against some of the greatest names in the sport. But none of this prepped him for the toughest challenge he’s ever faced: raising his six year-old daughter, Alice. HoneyKids recently had a chat with seriously cool dad, Valdir about bringing up Alice in Singapore and how he balances his home life with that as a full-time BJJ instructor…
Tell us about your daughter…what do you love most about her?
My daughter, Alice, is six years old. She is very loving and caring. Sometimes she makes a mess but I guess that’s normal for a child. Another thing that I really love about her is that she’s really helpful towards other children. But, just like any child, she’s also really cheeky! There was one time that she painted my toenails and put makeup on me. After a while, I forgot about it and went to the supermarket with all of it on!
What’s a typical day for you like as a dad?
I wake up early to get my daughter ready for school and take her on the school run. While she’s busy in the classroom, I sneak in some time to work out – this dad’s got to stay in shape for his job! I start my work in the afternoon, teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to both adults and children at Evolve MMA. On some days, my daughter comes to train at the kids’ classes, which is great because I’m able to spend more time with her and teach her what I’m passionate about.
What’s the best part of your day?
I’m always working, so I would say that the best part of my work day is being able to teach the kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes. I really believe that they’re going to be future world champions so it’s important for me to work with them. Another bonus is that my daughter attends these classes, which means extra quality time with her and also the chance to teach her myself.
What’s your secret to being a successful working dad?
Being able to balance my schedule and make the most of whatever time I have with her helps. My secret is showing my love for my daughter by being present in everything she does. Extra quality time really makes a difference!
What does being a dad mean to you?
Being a father is the most important thing in my life, and as cliche as it might sound, I think it’s the best gift that God has ever given me. It has also changed my life completely. Alice turned my whole world upside down and now influences everything I say and I do. Every decision I make, I think about how it might affect her. Being a dad also means that I need to do anything that I can to protect her and give her a good future. That’s why my daughter’s been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since she was really young. It’s helped her become more confident, focused and disciplined within herself.
Do you consider yourself a hands-on parent? How so?
Being a working dad means I need to be practical when it comes to time management. If she needs something or has a problem, I’ll find a way to deal with it quickly. You need to be practical! I also like being involved in her daily life, her school activities. I think it’s important that she knows I’m always there for her.
What do you think makes you a cool dad?
I love making her laugh, telling her jokes. It’s important to me that she’s having fun and enjoying life. I think being a BJJ instructor also makes me cool – how many kids can say they have a BJJ black belt as their dad?
Do you have any hobbies? How do you find time to do them?
For me it’s easy because as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor my hobby is my job, it’s the thing I love the most. So I’m lucky in that sense, that I get to do what I love every day.
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