Four-time No-Gi world champion Roberto “Tussa” Alencar is all set to take on the challenges 2013 has in store for him. And the first is coming up Jan. 26 and 27 in San Diego, California, where tryouts for the World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Cup will be held. In the following exclusive GRACIEMAG.com interview, the leader of Gracie Barra New Mexico addresses his preparations, reviews 2013 and announces his plans for the fledgling year.
Before we get into it, though, take this chance to sign up for the WPJJC Trials in San Diego, Hawaii and Miami. The three events are open to athletes of all ages and levels of experience. Click here to visit prosportsbjj.com to sign up.
How are your preparations for the WPJJC Trials in San Diego coming?
My physical preparation and training are intense. I’m doing physical conditioning three to four times a week, and I train every day. I’m feeling really good for these tryouts in San Diego.
How important is getting a berth at the Abu Dhabi World Pro to you?
I fought at the 2012 one, and it was a great experience for me. I made great friendships, learned Jiu-Jitsu, toured Dubai, etc. The WPJJC is a big-name tournament where the best from the tryouts go on to fight for the title in Abu Dhabi. At the last event I took second. By earning a place there, I’ll get another shot at the gold.
What’s your breakdown on the 2012 campaign, and what do you dream of achieving in 2013?
Last year was really productive. I had plenty of opportunities to travel and compete, won some titles that I was missing, like the No-Gi Pan, Master & Senior Worlds, a fourth No-Gi Worlds title and the IBJJ Pro League. The one I dream of winning every year is the World Championship. I’ve come close, winning two silvers and five bronzes.
Who’s helping you in training?
I have a strong team here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. I’ve been working with our team for more than six years and have the help of Professors Rafael Barata, Don Ortega and Gustavo Alencar, as well as the other instructors. Together we’re a strong and tightly knit family. During competition training we’ve had 10 black belts on the mat.
After this win at the IBJJ Pro League, are you feeling more confident about winning the tryouts? Are you in competition rhythm?
I’ve been at a good competition rhythm ever since November, as I’ve been in five top-tier championships and won gold in four of them. I’m confident about winning the tryouts, as I’m really well trained and at a good competition rhythm.
With so much training going on, who’s taking care of your academy?
That’s the big challenge that I’ve been able to meet, thanks to my team and students, who help me out with these tasks. I’ve been managing my academy in my free time, so I don’t have vacations. I’m at work 24/7.
Do you have any diet secrets?
Nothing has changed in my diet. I try keeping a healthy lifestyle, and my fiancée helps me because not only does she cook well, she’s very knowledgeable about sport nutrition. As last year was a really productive year, I’m focusing my training on my bottom game.
What can your opponents expect from Roberto Tussa in 2013?
This year they can expect a more experienced, strong and determined Roberto Tussa. This year I’m really focused on competition. I’m upping the ante in 2013.
Want to leave a message for the Jiu-Jitsu community around the world?
This message goes out to all the gentle-art lovers. We’re going to spread the seed in a positive way. Jiu-Jitsu changed my life for the better. I believe it has changed yours too. And it will change the lives of the people you influence to practice Jiu-Jitsu. Wherever you are, bring a family member, friend, neighbor, or just anybody with you to get to know the art of happiness.