Once again, Team Alliance decided to go all out and try to dominate the European Jiu-Jitsu Championship. With Rubens Cobrinha, Michael Langhi and perhaps Léo Nogueira all lined up to go, Bernardo Faria, 25, too has his bags packed to try his luck at the tournament in Lisbon, for which sign-ups end this Wednesday, Jan. 16.
Speaking from Finland, the two-time champion of Europe spoke to GRACIEMAG.com about his expectations for the Jan. 24-27 tournament in Portugal and let us in on what he’s planning to get accomplished over the rest of the season: to beat the steamroller Rodolfo Vieira.
GRACIEMAG: It’s the beginning of the season. How are you feeling for the 2013 European Championship?
BERNARDO FARIA: I’m fine, but we still have two weeks to go, and I plan to train a lot during this final stretch so I’m really confident when I get there. I was in the United States training until halfway through December. I did a seminar tour over there. As soon as I got back I went to see my family in Juiz de Fora, where I trained a lot too. Ever since January I’ve been preparing with Léo Nogueira, and now I’m in Finland for a ten-day camp at our best branch in Europe, Alliance Helsinki.
Your goal is certainly the absolute, the title you haven’t won yet, right?
That’s what my mind’s on. I’ve won the absolute at the Brazilian Nationals, the Pan, the South American Championship, and I took runner-up twice at the Europeans and the Worlds, so I’m training a lot to try and win the two that have eluded me.
Besides the titles, what’s your main motivation for competing?
To make the most of this opportunity I’ve got of making a living in Jiu-Jitsu, of having the time to train all the time. These days I travel the world teaching seminars and training. I know that in the future I’ll be more of a teacher than an athlete and won’t have the time to train and compete, so I feel the time is now for me to win as much as I can. I have to make the most of this phase.
How would you define your game, Bernardo?
I have a relentless game. I have strong positions—I believe in and persist with them. I’ve won a lot of titles. I feel that little by little I’m carving out a place for myself in Jiu-Jitsu history… And there’s plenty left in me; I’m 25 years old. I hope to keep this pace up and win more titles for me and for Alliance.
Lately, every season features a battle between you and Rodolfo Vieira… What do you expect for 2013?
He’s been my toughest adversary. The other day I was thinking, and practically all the athletes who have ever beaten me… when I faced them again I beat them at least once. Rodolfo may very well be the only one I’ve never beaten (laughs)! He’s been a tough one, but I do hope to beat him soon.
Who are your greatest influences in Jiu-Jitsu?
I’ve had many influences. But certainly the ones I learned the most from are my former instructor Ricardo Marques and my instructor Fabio Gurgel. Ricardo taught me the Jiu-Jitsu I know, and Fabio refined my Jiu-Jitsu, so thank God I’ve been lucky in always having great teachers on my side.
What do you say, gentle reader, could this be Bernardo’s year to outgun Rodolfo Vieira?