Setting out a training routine and avoiding bad habits are essential in the routine of a high-level BJJ fighter. This is the vision that guides black belt Cássio Francis, our GMI at the head of Gracie Barra Fort Bend in Texas. “Nobody is born an athlete, you choose to be an athlete. So you need to avoid bad habits and know how to train with the teacher’s guidance to achieve expressive results in Jiu-Jitsu,” said the teacher.
Cassão has excelled in the competitive circuit in the United States and has won many gold medals in IBJJF tournaments since last September. The black belt’s stunning performance guaranteed him the leadership of the IBJJF gi and no-gi ranking in master 2.
In a chat with the GRACIEMAG.com team, Cássio told how he deals with nervousness before fighting and listed advice for you to improve your performance in championships.
GRACIEMAG: What factors have boosted your great performance in the championships?
CÁSSIO FRANCIS: I believe that example is the only way to teach. So I try to do my best in competitions to serve as an example to my students, so that they understand that it is possible to achieve the goals as long as we have willpower, resilience and faith. I don’t want them to focus only on competitions, but I hope they will use these weapons to win on a daily basis, as the values of Jiu-Jitsu can be applied in many areas.
What is your differential in relation to the other competitors in the division?
I think the flexibility and the level of my guard, because it is not so common for a heavy guy to guard. Generally, heavier guys tend to exchange takedowns and pass guard. I like to pass, but I prefer to guard.
What motivates you when training for tournaments?
I grew up in this environment, so I’m used to competing, dieting, and dedicating myself to training. These aspects are part of my lifestyle, I can’t have any other. I like to compete because it helps me maintain a regular life and have an athlete’s behavior.
Which tips would you give to our reader to achieve expressive results in Jiu-Jitsu?
The first step is to choose an academy that will direct you. It is also important to know the history of the teacher because, as I said before, example is the only way to teach. The teacher needs to have a history in BJJ so that the student feels more confidence. Then, this practically must do its part. Nobody is born an athlete, you choose to be an athlete. So he needs to avoid bad habits and know how to train with the teacher’s direction.
How do you deal with pre-competition nervousness?
As I have been fighting since blue belt and have always kept myself in the middle, I got used to this somewhat hostile territory. What makes me calm is that I do everything I can in preparation for the championship. I don’t make mistakes in diet or training, and so I arrive with the certainty that I have done my utmost to be prepared in the best possible shape.
What are your next goals?
I want to conquer the main IBJJF tournaments in the United States. Today I am the leader in the gi and no-gi ranking and I intend to keep the first position. God willing I will fight to get there because I know it is not easy. I give my best daily to make it possible.