The winner of the medium heavyweight division and runner-up at absolute at the Brazilian National Championship, Fernanda Mazelli of Striker academy upheld the solid run from the WPJJC in Abu Dhabi last month.
“I’d had a great campaign in Abu Dhabi, and at the Brazilian Nationals I repeated the performance. I won my weight division and had three fights in the absolute, losing in the final by 7-2 to Michelle Nicolini,” said the native of Espirito Santo state, who derived a worthwhile lesson from the CBJJ championship. “I learned that no one’s invincible; when you’re prepared and focused anything can happen—even victory.”
In a chat with GRACIEMAG.com, Fernanda remembered the path she took ever since blue belt. (Below, check out Fernanda Mazelli against Talita Treta at the WPJJC tryouts in Gramado, Brazil, last March.)
1. Former ballerina, swimmer, and now Jiu-Jitsu champion—what was this trajectory like for you?
I always liked doing sports. I started with swimming, even competed at state level, and then went into ballet, but just for a day. I ended up really getting into Jiu-Jitsu because my sister and cousins did it. I didn’t have a clue what Jiu-Jitsu was but went in anyways, and I ended up liking it. I didn’t take it seriously until I started competing. Little by little I got to liking it and dedicating myself to it. My cousins and sister stopped, and I continued. I started when I was 11. I’m from Guarapari, Espirito Santo, and have trained with Thiago Oliveira since the beginning. My team is Striker JJ. It’s a new team but we’re a force in our state. We have lots of affiliates and new competitors coming into the scene. We’re the only Capixabas [natives of Espirito Santo State] to compete in Abu Dhabi—me and Pedro Paulo Agrizzi, who won at purple belt.
2. WHEN DID YOU START TO SEE RESULTS ON THE MAT?
I started coming up with good results when I was a blue belt. I won the Brazilian Nationals and the Worlds. Today I hold six Brazilian titles at weight and three at absolute, from blue to black belt. I never lost a fight at blue belt—I won them all. But my big moment is now that I’m a black belt, the apex of Jiu-Jitsu. I’m training a lot—morning, afternoon and night. My Jiu-Jitsu is coming along; I’m more dedicated, and you can see the results. I’m beating girls I’d lost to for a long time, and now I’m getting back on my feet.
3. HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR GAME COMING ALONG?
My favorite technique is the guard; but I’m changing my game. I’ve been training better on top lately, but even so I love the triangle; it combines with my game because I have long legs, and that makes the move easier for me, besides how it makes it harder for the opponent to defend.
4. HAVE YOU ANY TIPS FOR READERS WHO WANT TO GET GOOD AT THE TRIANGLE?
The trick is to always practice the basics, the Jiu-Jitsu fundamentals. I don’t feel that it’s tedious. I do them many times every day. Repeat them a lot; it’s worth the effort.
5. WHAT’S YOUR GOAL FOR THE 2012 JIU-JITSU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP?
I’m going all out. Right now it’s about ironing out some of the positions I got wrong at the Brazilian Nationals and trying to do better in California.