Friday, May 28, 2010

An Interview with Jacare


Romero Cavalcanti interview
27 MAY 2010 0

Interview by David Webb, 26th May 2010. Professor Cavalcanti, thank you so much for taking time out of Mundials preparations to talk to I know you are extremely busy right now so this means an awful lot to our readers and us.

I understand that you were recently awarded your 7th degree black belt (red and black belt) by the IBJJF in the US. That is pretty momentous. What does it mean to you personally to have been awarded such a grade and recognised alongside some of BJJ’s great champions and coaches alike?

Romero ‘Jacare’ Cavalcanti: For me it is a great honour to be recognized as a good coach but I have to share this prize with all my students that helped me over the years to get here, to be in the same level of some of the best instructors especially coming from the only reputable Federation in the world is a dream come true.

KC: How are preparations going for team Alliance ahead of next months Mundials event?

RC: The preparation here in Atlanta is going very well, I have a group of about 30 guys training very hard everyday since the last Pan am where we came home with eleven medals including 9 gold so we are ready to rock the Pyramid in Long Beach next week.

KC: For most people imagining such an array of talent on the mats, being so close to the World Championships is pretty awe-inspiring. Could you take a moment to talk us through a typical training session for a group of current and future world champions such as those training at Alliance headquarters?

RC: Well we start with a good warm up, techniques, situational training, etc. we work hard everyday with love dedication, science behind what we teach and a special sauce that you need to come here to know the secrets.

KC: How do preparations figure in the Alliance schedule for an event such as the Mundials? Do all team Alliance athletes travel to Atlanta to converge at Alliance headquarters or do some stay back in Sao Paulo, at Professor Gurgel’s academy, preferring just to travel a few days before the event?

RC: It depend last year the final stage was here in Atlanta this year Fabio is training the guys in Sao Paulo and I train the my guys here in Atlanta we always have some guests of course, but we all will be in CA. next week.

KC: Back in 2009 we all read of your health scare. How are things now and are you still able to train with the same vigour that you did before the incident occurred or are you forced to take on much more of a ‘coaching role’ off of the mats?

RC: 2009 is year to be forgotten by me, I was very sick and had a heart surgery when I implanted 4 bypasses, but well God gave me a second chance and I am grateful for that. Jiu Jitsu is my life but of course I am 57 now and I don’t train as hard as before when I was young, but I train almost everyday this way I can keep myself in decent shape for my age.

KC: Rubens Charles, Marcelo Garcia, Bernardo Faria, Gabriel Vella, Tarsis Humphreys, Bruno Malfacine, Michael Langhi and Sergio Moraes. Last year (apart from at Pesado and Pluma) Alliance had an athlete on every podium at every other weight category – that’s a pretty impressive feat by any standards. Apart from the ones named above, whom should we be looking out for from the Alliance stable of fighters at this year’s Mundials?

RC: Last year was fantastic the names that you mentioned and more, this year we have some guys in the lower belts that must do really well, our guys from Atlanta Ian, Alec, Jordan, Pedro, Jeff and a few others from Brazil Michel Langhi, Gabriel, Mateu, Bernardo, Dimitri and others. I am confident that they will do really good.

KC: How are the non-Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes from team Alliance shaping up for the [black belt] world stage? Especially as the gulf that once existed between Brazil and the rest of the world seems to be closing.

RC: In my opinion is still early to have some good black belts non-Brazilians but in a few years for sure we will produce some of the best fighters to represent the Alliance Team.

KC: In your opinion, whom should we be looking out for from the US over the next five years to make an impression on the world stage?

RC: It is hard to say but JT Torres is doing very well I think guys like Ian McPherson, Alec Baulding and a few others will do very well, I don’t have all the names on top of my mind because I usually pay attention to my guys but I am sure there will some awesome fighters.

KC: Simple question: Can Alliance take gold in 2010 and make it three years in a row as world team champions?

RC: I think so we have a very strong team but every year will harder, I am confident that we are the team to be beaten but very well prepared for one more challenge.

KC: I believe through injury, at least one of last year’s world champions in Braulio ‘Carcara’ Estima will be absent from this year’s event. A notable absentee from team Alliance is last year’s Pesadíssimo Champion – Gabriel Vella who now represents team Ryan Gracie. Would you care to share with our readers your thoughts on Vella’s decision to leave Alliance? Was it a shock for you?

RC: Not at all it is just life people come people go.

KC: Returning to BJJ from his recent MMA victory will be one Roger Gracie. Do you foresee anyone threatening Roger’s dominance of this year’s event?

RC: Yes of course Roger is the man but he will have to do really well to maintain his titles, there are a lot guys that can do really well against him this year.

KC: Not only are you head of the world best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team but also you have the distinct pleasure of being one of six (Marcio “Macarrão” Stambowsky, Mauricio “Motta” Gomes, Mario Claudio Tallarico, Nicin Azulay, Paulo Conde) Jiu Jitsoka to be awarded their black belt by Rolls Gracie – who was considered the best Jiu Jitsu fighter of the Gracie family. What does that mean to you personally and have you any recollections you would like to share with our readers?

RC: Getting my black belt from Rolls Gracie was a fantastic achievement, maybe the one that I am most proud, he was a phenomenal human being and that is why God called him earlier, he was too good to live in this crazy world where people don’t respect each other, mistreat the animals, burn the forests, pollute the oceans and do anything possible to take advantage on other people.

He also was a fantastic instructor much ahead of his time teaching new techniques, innovating drills and doing everything to get you better, he was responsible for what we are today. I was very lucky to have lived in this time and of course having such great training partners like the ones you mentioned above only made me better, everyday getting brushed on the mats by Mauricio, Macarrão and the others.

KC: You, yourself have awarded some very notable black belts in your time not least; Fabio Gurgel. How does your relationship work in developing such an array of quality grapplers for the world stage?

RC: Me Fabio, Alexandre and all the other Alliance instructors have a close relationship and work together in developing not only the fighters but the methodology and methods of teaching to give everybody the necessary support to build the team and the champions, it is a lot work, with periodic courses, exchanges, camps etc.

KC: In a recent interview on I spoke to Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes about early peers that no longer train Jiu Jitsu that he remembers being particularly great. Are there any guys you remember from your early days that are no longer training Jiu Jitsu (for whatever reason)? Which ones stood out for you as top-class players?

RC: Man I don’t really recall any really good competitors that don’t train anymore, I think if the guy really love Jiu Jitsu he will always be training a little bit at least once in while, Jiu Jitsu is like a drug is a life style, you never stop.

KC: Staying on the subject of people leaving Jiu Jitsu, and with your role as head of such a large Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ‘family’ would you say there is a large drop out rate in Jiu Jitsu or is student retention something that doesn’t really figure at many Jiu Jitsu academies?

RC: People start people stop, every school have to be prepared for the drop out of students, you have to be really good at what you do to keep people motivated to stay, there many things that you can do keep people in, each school have their one method to do it.

KC: From your experience is this different when comparing Jiu Jitsu schools in Brazil vs. the US?

RC: We have more structure here in the US in general, the middle class is much bigger and everybody can pay around 100 to 200 dollars a month to train, but I had a very good school in Brazil and Fabio is not complaining about his business there it depend on your capacity to be well succeed in life, some people win some people loose.

KC: Professor Jacare, once again, thank you very much for taking time out to talk to during what must be an extremely busy period for you and your team. Before we finish the interview is there anything you would like to add or anyone you would like to thank?

RC: Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you, I am honoured to share some of my experience and views with your readers, I am very busy everyday teaching and running my business of course and we are at the final stage of our Mundial Camp here in Atlanta, soon I will travel to Long Beach and God help us to win the third title in a row and our 5th all together.

KC: Many thanks Jacare, all the best for you and team Alliance at this years Mundials!

RC: Take care!

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