Hannette skirts absolute in Irvine, but wants Gabi in Abu Dhabi

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Hannette celebrates seventh World Championship win, in 2011. Photo: Ivan Trindade.

Seven-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion Hannette Staack is ready for the 2012 Pan, set to begin this Thursday in Irvine, California. We spoke with the black belt from Brazil 021, a team based in both Rio and Chicago, and the fighter already let on that she won’t be wading into the absolute waters this weekend, adding that she is looking forward to a possible encounter with Gabi Garcia in Abu Dhabi. Check out what she had to say:

How did your training for the 2012 Pan go?

Training was grueling, and we brought down the rhythm during the final stretch. The routine prepared by André Terêncio along with physical conditioning coach Erik Salum was comprised of three phases. Phase one was the adaptation stage, phase two was all about pace and intensity, and phase three was for maintenance. The three were divided into three daily parts, with physical conditioning (strength, endurance and stretching), technical and tactical Jiu-Jitsu training, and the “real deal.” The third stage was cardio, which I do every day following the whole training session. All that and my usual Jiu-Jitsu work that I do every day except Sunday.


How many hours of training per day?

I’d say I do three or four hours from Monday to Sunday. Sunday I rest my body and replenish my energy.

What did you work on most?

It’s hard to say exactly what we’re working on most, but I can say we do a bit of everything, improving my strengths and tweaking what needs adjustment. But there’s always that special technique that we consider the “card up the sleeve,” which sets our training apart, but I’m not at liberty to say what it is yet.


Did you derive any lessons from this training routine you’ve been doing, anything special that could benefit our Jiu-Jitsu-practitioner reader?

I always put my training under the microscope, deriving some lesson that I can apply to my life. This time was no different. The greatest lesson I got out of it had to do with training and work. Reconciling everyday training and work, “forgetting” the rest. You know what the problem was? With all this technology, you end up trying to pay more attention to what the others are doing than what you’re doing yourself. In my case that caused me a great deal of anxiety, because in the end you end up thinking you didn’t do enough, and you even go so far as to overtrain. That’s why it’s important to remember that we have to use the internet in our favor but with caution. And now and again you have to even forget it in order to focus on the objective, which is to train properly to have the perfect competition.

How are things going at your academy in Chicago?

The academy is going well. Every day there are more people interested in learning the real Jiu-Jitsu. At our school we prize discipline and a family atmosphere a great deal, but we don’t leave out the competition side; that’s why we say we go from the ancient to the modern. We have a competition group on Wednesdays, and the guys who like competing are always there. For this Pan-American Championship, we have five athletes from Chicago who will be there; one of them is a student of mine who just got her purple belt after winning the Chicago Open. She has been training with me for four years and has a knack for the sport. Like her, I have other girls who are a handful at blue belt, and you’ll soon be hearing about them. I’m really pleased to see so many girls, especially at my academy, wanting to learn and practice Jiu-Jitsu.

Comment on your performance at the last Pan, when you faced Luanna. What has changed in this year?

My performance was good. I had good matches. The final result was not what I expected; I lost by two advantage points, but I know it was a tough match, where the one who made the least mistakes won, and in this case that was Luanna Alzuguir. But I wasn’t sad about it. I know that if I’d had the right strategy I could have won the match. It’s hard to get over a win, imagine a loss. But overall, I learned a lot at last year’s Pan. This year I’m venturing into a different division from what I’m used to; I’ll be at medium heavyweight, and it looks like everyone decided to pull out (laughs). I think it would be cool to compete against people who aren’t the ones I always face in my division, to have a new experience that will build on my career as a fighter. I hope I come up with good results.

What’s your expectation for the absolute and a possible encounter with Gabi Garcia?

Well, I can’t answer that just yet, but I won’t likely be in the absolute at this year’s Pan. It happens that I’m waiting on a response from the World Pro, as for health reasons I was unable to compete at the qualifiers here in the United States. The competitions took place on the same weekend that I had a serious fever and flu; I was completely incapacitated. But who knows? Maybe I’ll get an invite so we can meet each other in the final again. I hope I can make it.

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