Marcelo Polatto is a speed bike racer in superbike 1,000 cc superbike championships, as well as being the manager of engineering and projects at a multinational. His involvement in Jiu-Jitsu began in the nineties, but, in recent years, the pilot and engineer adopted the gentle art as part of his daily life.
“I started to practice under Carlos Liberi, who was a referential person in the Campinas region in 1993. After a few years I entered engineering school and, with a heavy heart, I had to stop training. I returned to it two years ago at the insistence of my friend, black belt Fernando Nogueira Rodrigues, better known as Kabide, and, incredibly, my life changed a lot. Jiu-Jitsu again provided me the balance I craved and to this day I regret having gone so long without training,” he says.
But what does Jiu-Jitsu have to do with his performance on the track? Palotto explains:
“For example, on the Interlagos circuit, at the boxes stretch, we reach 300 km/h in speed and the aerodynamic pressure on the body and mainly the head of the racer, at certain moments, is enormous. The neck has to withstand up to 20 kg of pressure. Jiu-Jitsu helped make my neck, abdomen, arms and legs stronger, as well as providing the flexibility needed for positioning in the pendulum, pulling the motorcycle towards the ground in the curves,” says Palotto, who, with Kabide by his side on Team for Speed, has placed at the top in important competitions like the Interlagos 500 miles and races that last as long as six hours.
But, according to Polatto, the benefits don’t end there.
“It reduces day-to-day stress; I feel more vigorous; it helps with mental balance, reducing anxiety and even with making important decisions; not to mention discipline and concentration,” he says.
And his love for the gentle art is so great that he carries it with him while on the track.
“As a tribute to Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu, I always wear a GB shirt under my overalls when I race, and we have a team sticker stuck on the bikes,” he says in closing.