Plenty of things. I've been with him for 4 years now. In the beginning, it was more like strength because jiu-jitsu is not very athletic. He saw that I had a lot of weaknesses, as far as my legs. So, he got me strong first and then he started working me a little more on athleticism and basically, everything we do now is endurance. Once we had the foundation and he started understand about the fighting??because, he used to train me like a football player. It's an exchange of knowledge and now it's more about endurance. Through endurance, we shall conquer.
I like fighting in Japan . I fought in the UFC before and the biggest difference is the crowd. The US is very disrespectful. It seems like something obscure and underground but the people (in Japan ) understand more about the culture and to be a fighter, you don't have to be a bad boy. I've dedicated my whole life to studying martial arts and it has nothing to do with beating people up on the streets and getting into fights in bars.
I think it was a natural progression from jiu-jitsu to Abu Dhabi . It was natural to evolve towards MMA. Jiu-jitsu is what I love, though. This is something temporary. Jiu-jitsu is my life. Even when I get ready for fights, I still wear the gi and have so much fun. What I love to do is to be at the school and teaching martial arts. This is just something that I'm good at, like a hobby.
After your career is over, you're going to dedicate yourself to teaching?
Right. I think this is preparation to become the teacher that I should be. All of the lessons I learn inside of the ring and outside is just preparing me to become the teacher that I'm supposed to be. I want to give back a little.
When you teach full-time, will you train fighters or concentrate on sport jiu-jitsu?
At my school, I don't concentrate on the competitive aspects of martial arts at all. Although, I have a very strong competition team, I have no desire to train a champion. This is something I ended up doing and I support it because it puts the martial arts in the spotlight but I have no desire to become a coach. I just want to help people through the martial arts.
I try to have my school as a school, not a club or a gym where they come and work out. We have a code of ethics and all these things that I believe that are far more important that medals in the end. There's always the benefit of competing because life is about losing and overcoming yourself but not everyone can compete.
Being involved in martial arts and a code of ethics, a lot of people turned from traditional martial arts and wanted to get in the ring and fight when the UFC appeared. Has fighting produced more bad attitudes or good attitudes?
I think it's two different kind of things. Different people with different goals. In the end, it might be hypocritical for me to say these things while I'm still a fighter but it's just a direction that I want to go. At my school, I think if you create the environment you are going to attract the kind of people that are interested in the deeper lessons, truly studying the martial arts and overcoming their troubles. If you have a school where everything is geared towards MMA and everyone respects whoever is the toughest guy in the room, soon enough there won't be a school. I try to gear towards the traditional martial arts. Some people see it as a religious thing but it's not that. It's about overcoming yourself and being better each day than you were the day before.
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