Soar, Hannette!

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Hannette picture-perfect finish in photo by Ivan Trindade

Hannette Staack is approaching legendary status if she isn’t there already. She is now an eight-time world champion, winning seven times at the Gi and once at the No-Gi Worlds. Staack, who is a popular athlete on the Jiu-Jitsu circuit for her kind and humble demeanor, won in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, and now she’s clinched gold again at the 2011 World Championship.

Staack said it was unusual, but she only had two fights in her middleweight division and her first didn’t happen because her opponent suffered a shoulder injury and had to pull out of the match. She was sent straight to the finals, which she won with a flying armbar. “I’ve been training that move a lot,” she says, “I always use the fundamentals, but I make sure I have one or two advanced moves that I train, too. I always have to have a card up my sleeve… a secret weapon I can use.”

Staack started training Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 18, when most girls started much younger. Now, at 32, she’s shown that she still has what it takes to continue to be a champion. She could compete in the master’s division, but she doesn’t. She continues to fight as an adult. How long she will continue to press on is questionable… Staack wants to start a family and that will change a lot for her. “Women were born to have kids and a family, and I’m ready for that,” she says.

She says it’s twice as hard for women to train and compete in Jiu-Jitsu as it is for men. “I told someone the other day, ‘we spend four hours training in the gym, but then we have to go home, cook dinner and clean the house,’” she says, “I teach the women’s classes as well, but even with all the obstacles I face, I keep pushing myself. The results are worth it.”

Staack believes that regardless of what life brings her way, she will always come back, train, compete, and put on a show for the fans. “It’s great to see all the women competing,” she says, “Even with all the troubles in the way, we keep pushing forward. The show wouldn’t be as exciting without us.”

Staack wants to thank her Professor and husband, Andre’ Terencio. “He’s my mentor. He made me believe I could do this.”

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