Hannette unafraid of Gabi: “I like playing guard against heavier girls”

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Hannette at ADCC 2007, in New Jersey / Photo: Luca Atalla

Hannette Staack is one of the greatest medal collectors there is in female Jiu-Jitsu, but she’s still pursuing further challenges. She’s now readying her guns for another major battle, at ADCC 2011 in England.

The two-time winner of the over-60kg division and 2007’s champion of the absolute at the ADCC is already training twice a day plus doing physical conditioning work. After all, she knows her opposition will be keeping the same pace, even though we’re still two months away from the submission wrestling tournament.

In store for her in the over-60kg weight class, female fighting leviathans Cris Cyborg and Gabi Garcia; but the Brazil 021 teacher fears no one – and she also reveals why fans didn’t get to see her take on Gabi at the 2011 Worlds. Check out what she has to teach, in this exclusive telephone interview with her in Rio de Janeiro.

At ADCC 2011, will a showdown between you and Gabi Garcia materialize?

God willing! I have great respect for her and the other opponents, but it would be an interesting match – we’ve faced each other before, at the 2008 Worlds, but she’s come a long way since. Truth is, I wanted to face her in the absolute at the 2011 Worlds but André Negão is not only my coach but my husband, and he took my name off the open weight lineup. I really hadn’t trained enough; we were going through a move, remodeling the academy and I didn’t have the time; but I truly wanted to fight for the gold in the female absolute. But he made the decision and I accepted it, if just to keep from us fighting at home (laughs).

You’ll be at around 70kg when you arrive in Nottingham for ADCC 2011. Can you hold your own against athletes like Cris Cyborg the purple belt or Gabi, who besides everything else are tearing up the competition?

Sure, I’m training hard just for that reason. You can’t go picking your opponents, because there will be eight really, really tough girls, but I’m going in there to impose my style. I’ve got my eye on each of their games and strong positions, I know where I can’t mess up against each of them; but I’m not big on strategy. We’re going to be fighting to be number one, whether on top or on bottom, against opponents like Cris Cyborg or Gabi. I’m going to try and stay comfortable and win. I like playing guard against heavier opponents; I feel fine there, but we’ll only know what the best tactic will be when the time comes, if it comes. It’ll be a jungle out there, but I’m excited.

Are you already sharpening up your flying armbar, the one you used on Rosângela Conceição in the absolute final at ADCC 2007 and against Ida Hansson at this last Worlds?

To tell you the truth, I started trying that armbar at a tournament in Buzios, but I only got it just right at ADCC 2007 against Gilda, who is now a wrestler. Then it worked again in New Jersey in that final (below) and now at the Worlds. It’s the result of lots of repetitions; I do about ten minutes of that type of armbar per week, which comes to like a thousand armbars per month!

How is your training program for the championship going?

I’m training here in Rio, got some questions answered by my physical conditioning coach, and in August I’ll head back to Chicago, where I’ll finish up my preparations until heading to England. I’m going to train with the whole gang, with men and women, and intensify my training doing interval circuits; something I often do. It’s a number of basic positions repeated at high intensity, which sharpens up my technique and improves my endurance.

*Check out the athletes who’ll be competing at ADCC 2011:

FEMALE -60kg
1. Luanna Alzuguir. Brazil (ADCC 2009 champion)
2. Lara Jayne Ng. Australia (South Pacific champion)
3. Hashi Takayo. Japan (Asian champion)
4. Cathilee Albert. USA (North American champion 2011)
5. Michelle Nicolini. Brazil (South American champion 2011)
6. Sara Svensson. Sweden (European champion)
7. Kyra Gracie. Brazil

FEMALE +60kg
1. Hannette Staack. Brazil (ADCC 2009 champion)
2. Fiona Muxlow. Australia (South Pacific champion)
3. Penny Thomas. South Africa (North American champion 2011)
4. Talita Nogueira. Brazil (South American champion 2011)
5. Devi Ahuja. Noruega (European champion)
6. Gabrielle Garcia. Brazil
7. Cris Cyborg. Brazil


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