Well, Readers … this is a bittersweet day. It’s a day of Farewell and Hello (Farelo, as I’ve come to know it). We are now on our third episode of our weekly BJJ News podcast called This Week in BJJ as you may or may not know (but should), and it’s been exciting to participate in it. Unfortunately, TWiBJJ makes the FWU somewhat redundant (and infinitely less compelling). After much soul searching (the time it took for me to drink a coconut water), I’ve decided to transition the Friday Wrap-Up to a TWiBJJ Wrap-Up. I’ll still add newsworthy items under the errata section as I see fit, but the FWU will cease to exist as it was – a standalone entity.
Getting to know the 2011 World Champ Rodolfo Vieira
What is your training regimen like?
I train three times a day. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I train jiu jitsu and [physical] preparation with more intensity. In the mornings, physical training, afternoons, a lot of jiu jitsu, and at night, judo. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, strength training in the mornings, technical training in the afternoon, and light training at night.
How do you divide your training time?
So, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we focus on agility and explosion training, plenty of exercising without too much weight, working on the cardio a lot. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, [I focus on] strength and power, all of that during the morning.
Stepping off the plane I feel a surprising sense of security. Despite being entirely alone since I hugged my mom goodbye at LAX, I have arrived in Lisbon, Portugal in one piece. I rush to get to my next checkpoint before I forget my list of things I need to do altogether. Arrive safely to Lisbon, check. A long layover in Amsterdam with snarling and impatient locals who have surely signed me off as a foreigner is finally a thing of the past and now I can worry about putting my slight knowledge of Portuguese to use. I make my way towards the exit of the airport ignoring the signs overhead due to the herd of miscellaneous jiu jitsu hoodies in front of me who look more accustomed to the territory than I. Next on my list is to arrive at the currency desk, check. My mother handed me a wad of cash before I left so I’d have money to exchange into euros for the cab ride. It’s something my mother would normally do although this time I believe she felt more inclined considering I had just totaled my car a week before– a dispute that is still in the beginning stages with my insurance company. If it weren’t for my quick craigslist find for a new ride I’d had never have made it here. I can accept a lending hand when it’s warranted.
After exchanging my money I get in line for a taxi, carefully looking over those outside of the airport assigned pick-up. Being kidnapped or even ripped off is not on my agenda. While on the short ride to the hotel I use the driver as my first victim. “Voce fala ingles?” He knows a tiny bit of English but overshoots his judgement for my level of understanding even though I told him I only knew a little Portuguese. He speaks fast and I attempt to process his slur in my head before I resign and settle with a “hmmm sim.” There’s a pause and we kind of agree to just give up and before I know it I’ve arrived at my safe haven where I will reside for the next five days.
I had two days to adjust before I competed. Female blue belt featherweight was set for Friday at 9am. I spend time with a friend exploring the city with the purpose of getting my mind off of the competition but its the night before and I can’t ignore it. I am here to compete. That’s the only reason. My first trip out of the country is more than I had hoped for but I must not forget my purpose. I will show off my hard work tomorrow and I will bring back the most prestigious gold I have earned yet. I will make Cobrinha proud. Now if only I could sleep.
Morning of and I calm my nerves with a scrumptous yet potentially hazardous breakfast at my hotel. Everything is going as routine. I’ve competed enough in the past to have a routine. Walking to the venue I plan my game in my head. Pull guard and sweep or submit. Attack. Entering the venue it’s a cozy yet monumental building with high ceilings and various places to sit. Copious amount of light finds its way through a variety of windows above our heads in what seemed like the perfect route for the morning sun. I follow the rays until my eyes meet the bullpen area. To no avail, I sip water hoping to settle down the burning sensation that has corrupted in my stomach. I hear my division called and I walk down to warm up. There’s no turning back.
I am a competitor. Or so I think. I try to remind myself why I’m here. Waiting in the bullpen I stress about not being warmed up enough. My muscles and hands are freezing but my heart is pumping like I’m being attacked from all sides. This happens to me every time I wait for my name to be called and my match to start but whatever I had felt before was nothing compared to this. Am I stretching enough? Are people staring at me? Are they sizing me up? I try to look like I know what I’m doing. I’ve only been at this for less than three years but I try to tell myself that this is what I do, that I belong. I have traveled all the way from Los Angeles to compete here in this melting pot of new and different opponents and I’ve been through hell just to get here. I don’t think I trained enough. I don’t think my recent hardships were good enough reasons to refrain from training. I should have done better.
My name is called and I’m walking towards the ring coordinator. He doesn’t bother looking at my I.D. and he tells me to wait. I never looked at the brackets online in fear that it would cripple me more than my existing anxiety is now. I must have had a bye considering all the girls in my division are going already on a couple different mats. Finally I’m called to enter. My gi is being checked and I’m wondering if the gi I had borrowed was a stupid choice. It’s decked out with patches that have nothing to do with me considering its previous owner is a world champion black belt from Brazil. This is the third time I’m borrowing it because my navy gi is no longer acceptable to compete in and I’m hoping it will give me the same luck it did when I competed in Vegas six months before.
I’m directed to mat 10 where I set my things down and pace. I listen to the same song over and over again– Lisztomania by Phoenix. It adds the perfect amount of bounce for me to do that jig where I hop to and fro, rotate my hips, toggle my weight between shifting feet, flail my limp hands around, scan my surroundings and attempt to look like I’m pumped, like I’ve done this a million times, like I’m so prepared that I can sustain a normal breathing pattern. It may add to my social anxiety if I realize how dumb I actually look but fortunately enough my audience is no longer my main worry. The match before me is coming to an end as a familiar American in my weight class has her hand raised. I make small talk with the ring coordinator as if I can afford the luxury of straying my attention from the six minute war I’m soon to willingly partake in. A glance at my opponent registers no emotion. I have never seen her before which is really a rarity. I don’t recognize the name of the academy or team on her patches. I don’t even know her name or where she even came from. It doesn’t matter. I take one last sip of my water because I can already feel my mouth drying up like a desert storm.
I’m forced to wiggle around the winner of the last match as she puts her shoes on but I don’t want to postpone so I end up rudely shoving past her as I bow and enter the mat to meet my opponent. We shake hands and the match starts. I pull guard slower than usual because she prompts no urgency. Immediately she’s working a pass. My match was a blur and all I can gather was my tired soul attempting to use what I know but not being able to. If I had a better understanding of what was going on I’d be able to better recount my actions but somewhere between fighting the double-under pass for the third time and getting mounted, I had lost the match. That’s really all I needed to know. As I stand up to the sound of the whistle, my thoughts are suddenly rushed back into my head as I realize what has happened. My hand isn’t raised and I even begin to pull away before the full showing is done. My hair is falling out of its bun and into my face, my gi is wide open with my belt barely holding on somewhere around my waist as I am scrounging for my belongings. My only thought, besides how much I want to puke and be able to breathe is that I must leave. I gather my things and walk back to the hotel before I’ve fully recovered. Briskly walking past the stares of onlookers, I feel no shame for the abrupt exit but rather for the embarrassing performance I had just given in what was my only chance to prove my worth as a competitor.
It took a little for my feelings to conjure their way into a valid, logical, rational thought process. Sometimes it’s hard to look at situations subjectively but outside sources tend to help entirely. In reality, I am a blue belt. I can fail at competition and I can be the best but when it comes to the grand scheme, anything I do at this belt level will not matter in later years. Watching the black belt matches and the emotions that are never revealed win or lose is what put everything into a concrete lesson. Here I am, two and a half years into this sport dealing with a loss that is really just a tiny bump in the road while my discouragement is a landmine. The only real problem is not my match but my lack of motivation because of it. I spent the remainder of my time feeling grateful that I had the experience. Perhaps losing is temporary and the true obstacle is my own mind. Jiu jitsu is a mental game. An individual sport despite the need for training partners and a mentor. There is no one there to compensate for your lack of skills or to hold your hand. Scary, but it makes winning even that much more special. The European Championships was a huge learning experience for me and I have grown a better understanding of the sport as well of myself. I can only hope to administer these newfound learnings into the following ten years of my competition future.
Friday Wrap-Up: Pre-Pre-Christmas Edition
Well, BudoBlog readers, this is shaping up to be a particularly promising end of the year. I’ve somehow managed to amass a brilliant pair of weeks that will be spent around people I admire and adore. Also, I understand that Christmas is fast approaching and apparently I have a few family events planned – whatever. The Mendes Brothers are coming to Los Angeles to deliver an early Christmas gift to me-ER … to the BJJ community of Southern California, and all I got them was this news round-up.
Welcome to a newest entrant to the BudoBlog recurring post roster, Tournament Results Monday (clever title, I know). This is where you’ll (wait for it) find the results of various gi or nogi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or submission grappling tournament results. I clearly went for a deceiving title on this one and we apologize for misleading you. I promise it’ll never happen again.
Ary Farias: The Young Man who had the Biggest Bed in the World
How did you get started? What gave you interest in the sport of jiu jitsu?
I started when I was 11 years old at the Asle-AM gym with Ronaldo Jacaré! He was one of my biggest supporters and he always believed in my success. I remember when I started, no one believed in me; Jacaré was the only one. He always said, “Ary will be better than me, you will see.” When I joined the team, I remember that it was filled with great, tough kids my age and they beat me a lot! That made Jacaré really sad when he saw me getting beat up (laughs). That was when he said, “Kid, now I will teach you everything I know. You will be better than me. From now on, you are my son!”
Confession of a Competitor: IBJJF NoGi World Championships 2011 Edition
Staff writer Dane Grace
The Road to Victory or Defeat
Four days before the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation’s NoGi World Championships, I am in one of the warehouses that comprises Budo Videos’ physical location. I’m dressed in what will be my competition uniform – a pair of black NoGi Industries board shorts and a black and blue (I am a blue belt) NoGi industries long-sleeved rash guard. At the time, I was trying to shoot single-leg tackles on Ryan, my friend and training partner, to limited success. I eventually took him down, but it was not going nearly as smoothly as I’d have liked at that point in my preparation.
I’ve known Tim for a few years now as he used to have a school just down the street from our office. There were a few things about him that impressed me. First, his humble manner. Second, his smooth technique. Third, the unique approach he has to his teaching. The warm ups for every class (that I went to) were totally different and they usually related to what the lesson of the class was. It was funny because he’s 50 years old and a lot of the 20 somethings were huffing and puffing as Tim carried on calmly through his routine.
We spent all day with Andre. It started with an early morning class full of energetic young dudes. I’ve trained with Andre a couple times before so I knew a little of what to expect. The drills were awesome. Very fast paced and designed to build muscle memory. I was training with a rooster weight brown belt world champ from Brazil who was super fast. I can see how training in this environment would be great for guys who like to compete.
How is training for ADCC going?
Training for ADCC is going great. In addition to some of the tough students at Fifty/50, I’ve got a couple of friends in town to help me prepare and get my weight on track before I head up to NYC next week to train with Marcelo Garcia and the rest of the team for the 6 weeks ahead of the tournament.
After 23 episodes I thought it was high time that we filmed with my teacher Marcio Feitosa. I started training with him when he moved here from Brazil in 2005. Although there are a number of black belts at the main Gracie Barra school in Irvine, most of my classes were taught by Marcio in the first few years. He has very strong fundamental techniques and is a very natural teacher. We filmed a few DVDs with him and I don’t think we ever had to film anything twice. He’s been teaching for so long that it seems to come naturally for him.
In 2008 you left your team of Gama Filho (now GFT) to join Fabio Gurgel at Alliance in Sao Paulo. Why did you choose to leave and what has been the biggest advantage?
I chose to leave because in addition to a few reasons, wanted to make this sport my life. I had already won my first World Championship in 2007 at black belt. I lost in 2008 but after the competition had a great opportunity to move to São Paulo and be a part of this family. The advantage is that today, as many others friends who live here in Sampa, I can fully dedicate my life because it’s what I chose for my future and what I love to do.
This interview was conducted by Budo staff writer Erin Herle.
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
We started training jiu jitsu in 2001. Our cousin used to train us in a small gym in the city. He used to give classes in a social project for children so we started training with him. We stayed training there for a few months however he needed to stop giving classes so we began to train with professor Ramon Lemos, who during that time was giving classes with Professor Leonardo Santos. They always encouraged us to compete a lot. We always knew what we wanted to become since we started training and we dedicated ourselves to training. It was never just for fun; we always had goals to train and be the best at what we do.
Caio Terra’s DVD set is THE most complete set on the half guard. Never have so many details been taught openly. These are the details that make or break the technique. With Caio’s stellar performance at the Pan last month he is becoming more and more well known as both a competitor and now as a world class instructor.
Check out the preview clip of his new DVD set that is on track to become a best seller:
If that’s not enough for ya, check out both episodes of “Rolled Up” featuring Caio:
Great work continuing the long history of martial arts in Japan!
Andre Galvao – Drill to Win
Anyone who’s been watching the BJJ scene for any length of time has probably already heard of Andre Galvao. One of the most innovative and dynamic practitioners of the sport today, Galvao has proved his mettle time and again by competing with the worlds best, walking away with the World’s and Pan Am championship titles numerous times.
Well the champ is back, this time with 290 pages of intense BJJ drill work designed to hypercharge your game. Galvao’s never been one to pull punches, gladly demonstrating competition-level techniques that he has used to secure his own championships, so if you’re expecting just another pictorial covering the vanilla arm-bar (which, coincidentally, sounds delicious), then expect again!