The winner of his weight division last weekend at the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and runner-up in the prestigious absolute class, Andre Galvao is spending another week here in Abu Dhabi, teaching His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed. Thus I had the opportunity to get to know him a bit better, and pass on to you, loyal GRACIEMAG reader, four characteristics you may identify with:
1) Be confident, trust yourself
Rodolfo Vieira is unquestionably the man to be beat in Jiu-Jitsu these days. Galvao lost to him in the absolute final by 2-4 but he is not convinced that it will happen again. Every day he recalls exactly what happened during the fight, move by move, and points to where his mistakes came and what needs to be done. He says he’s ready for the next meeting, potentially at the Worlds in early June.
2) Faith drives you through difficult times
Andre is a very religious man. He even leads a Bible study class in San Diego, where he lives, and really believes there’s an invisible hand helping him no matter what:
“There was a point in my life that I was full-time dedicated to MMA, and so I invested in my training to such an extent that all my money was gone. I remember opening my freezer and all there was was an onion,” he remembers. “Then I decided to move to the United States and suddenly I got my own school, was able to have to structure my training better, and won the ADCC absolute title, the most important championship a grappler may conquer. God knows what He is doing.”
3) Continuously practice to better your Jiu-Jitsu
It’s no news that Andre loves to drill. He even published a book and released a DVD about it. This week, he not only taught but learned some new moves, and he will practice them the way he’s been doing since he put on a gi for the first time, as a kid, to help his friend Claudio Calasans perfect his takedowns.
“He was very young but already a judo brown belt. We used to play soccer in his backyard, and then, every day after the game, we would go to his dojo to execute a thousand takedowns each,” Andre says. And then, the other day, when he learned a new choke with Renzo Gracie, he affirmed, “I will practice it every day until I have it sharp for the Worlds.” “How many times, a thousand?” I asked. He answered: “For each side”.
4) Be nice, but not a fool
Andre is always smiling, and laughing, even during the training sessions. That doesn’t mean he is too nice. There was one day last week that Braulio Estima was also on the mats. Braulio is the current ADCC superfight title holder, and Galvao is the challenger. Their bout is scheduled for 2013. Braulio invited him to train. “After the tournament,” he said. Braulio pondered: “Yes, indeed. You are going to compete this week and don’t want to risk getting hurt, that makes sense.” Braulio was referring to the WPJJC event. Andre wasn’t. “No, I was meaning after our fight next year”, he said, laughing, probably with a game plan in mind for usurping Estima’s belt.
What do you like the most about Galvao? Comment below.