Rodolfo Vieira the steamroller returned to the mats at Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca Tennis Club last weekend for the Brazilian Team Nationals. The world champion from GFTeam won both his matches by submission and helped his team secure their second heavyweight title in a row. Rodolfo had a chat with GRACIEMAG.com before heading off for Chile, where he’ll be doing some seminars.
GRACIEMAG: What’s the coolest move you’ve ever pulled off?
RODOLFO VIEIRA: At the Brazilian Team Nationals? It was that omoplata to armbar. That was sweet. Now the coolest one I’ve ever pulled off in my career was an ippon seoi nage. That was the first seoi I ever got in my life. It went like this: I was at the European Championship, and I’d worked on that takedown a lot until I got the timing right but, as I had an injured knee, I couldn’t do any leg takedowns. So later, at the Brazilian Nationals, I thought to myself, “I’ll try the seoi and see what happens. It came out perfect, the best of all.
What do you make of your performance at the championship?
I feel everything worked out great. I fought well and got the tapout in both my matches. And it was great to win the tournament a second time for my family. The team is really united and strong. We’re on the right track. It was the title I was missing. Now all that’s missing is the individual Brazilian Nationals, which I’ve never competed at as a black belt. Next year I’ll be going for that title, God willing.
You came off as being anxious when your teacher Júlio Cesar wasn’t around to orient you. How important is having Júlio in your corner to you?
There’s nothing better than to have him in my corner. I might manage to fight without him but his voice gives me all kinds of confidence; it’s all I listen to when I’m on the mat. He knows everything I do and am capable of doing. Sometimes he shouts out to do something just as I’m thinking about doing it. “How can he know I was thinking about doing that?” I think to myself in amazement. It’s funny. Júlio is the most perfect guy I know. He’s like a dad not just to me, but to all his students, regardless of if their black belts or white belts. From the little kid who won some little trophy all the way to the world absolute champion, he loves everyone and treats them well. He treats everyone the same, and sometimes I find myself forgetting to thank God for having put this angel in my life.
Rodolfo, you’ve been dominant in your division for a long time now. What’s the secret to keeping the level up? Do you feel you train more than the others?
If I train more or not I don’t know. But I do train hard. I don’t think there’s any secret to it; it’s all about always evolving and going for it every day in training. And believing anything is possible.
Have you got any matches lined up for this year? Or is the next one the January Copa Pódio?
No, I’ll be fighting to win a car this year yet! I’m going to Chile now—I have some seminars set for Friday and Sunday there. After that I return and go back to training. On October 6, a Saturday, I have a seminar to teach in Araras, São Paulo, and on the next weekend I have the Rockstrike Jiu-Jitsu championship in Brasilia, where the winner of the absolute black belt division gets a brand new car. On October 20 there’s a seminar in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, and in November I’ll be accompanying Júlio to Australia for a seminar tour. We’ll stick around there for a month. Thank God we’ve got plenty of work lined up.