Andre Galvao wins the gold medal at the 2008 BJJ World Championship after submitting Braulio Estima.
Andre Galvao‘s combination of charisma and Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizardry has made him one of the most popular characters in the world of BJJ. Although he is now focusing on mixed martial arts and has a fight coming up in DREAM against Jason High next month, the jiu-jitsu world is still abuzz about Atos Jiu-Jitsu, the team Galvao created with Ramon Lemos which performed very, very well at the recent 2009 BJJ World Championship.
In this episode of our humble BJJ internet radio show, we were able to sit down with Andre Galvao here in San Diego as he prepares for his upcoming MMA fight and learn more about Atos. We were also able to ask Andre many of the questions that we received for him on our Twitter page from the Mighty 600,000. If you have ever wondered about how Andre Galvao feels about diet, drilling, his upcoming book and DVD, or who he thinks is the best jiu-jitsu practioner he has ever rolled with, this is the episode for you!
The Atos Jiu-Jitsu logo, modeled here on Andre Galvao’s brother Gustavo Galvao.
TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW WITH ANDRE GALVAO
The FightWorks Podcast: Ok family, we are here in San Diego with Andre Galvao. Andre, how are you?
Andre Galvao: I’m good, I’m great.
The FightWorks Podcast: We just watched you doing another training session for your next MMA fight here in San Diego, so I know you’re very tired. I hope you don’t mind these questions from our listeners?
Andre Galvao: Yeah, I train hard everyday, also, I feel tired everyday. It’s kind of the training, but, the day of the fight, I will be very very nice, in shape.
The FightWorks Podcast: I have a couple questions of my own, then I have many questions… well, a decent number of questions from our listeners. Our show is all Brazilian jiu jitsu, so the first thing a lot of people would like to know more about is about Atos jiu jitsu. Can you talk about where Atos came from and its performance at the Mundials?
Andre Galvao: The performance, yeah, I think is very very good performance for the first Worlds, because we put like three guys in the final and we got one gold medal in the black belt. We have a lot of blue belts, purple blets, brown belts, but they are in Brazil, so it’s hard to bring everyone here. Maybe if the Worlds is right there, the results is going to be better. But…we going to open this school, me and my friend Ramon Lemos. We looking for a place to open Atos school here in the United States. I think it’s going to be great, so I’m happy with the team, and the name of the team is Atos because the book, the Bible – we are Christian, me and Ramon, and we think about that. I think in the coming years, the team is going to be a very very great team, top three in the world.
The FightWorks Podcast: So how did Atos begin, where did it come from? I know you and Ramon started it, but can you tell our listeners a little more detail?
Andre Galvao: Ramon, he helps me a lot, in my training. When Terere finished the training with me and he did’t teach me anymore, then I had to leave to Leo’s Viera’s school and we started together there, and we trained with him. Some things happen, and we left the team, Brasa. So we thought about opening a team together, because we are always together always, we train together, me and Ramon , my students, his students, so we thought about that. And then we started that, because Ramon is a great coach, he makes a lot of champions, he’s so good… but he never shows his job, for the world, because he is always behind others, some schools like Nova Uniao, Brasa… but right now he is showing his thing, like Raphael Mendes, Gilberto Alexander, Bruno Frazzato, all these students are from him, and I think that’s good for him too. I’m with him because I believe in his work. He always works hard, and I think we gonna be world champions some day, together. That’s it.
The FightWorks Podcast: Well Andre, I have a list of questions from listeners to the show. So, here’s the first one, actually this is a question from a couple of guys. John sent me this email, and Baran sent me the same question. They want to know, how do you approach diet, and physical preparation: what is your belief system about diet?
Andre Galvao: For diet? For cutting weight?
The FightWorks Podcast: No, in general, being prepared for competition.
Andre Galvao: Ok. I like to do the diet like two months, eight weeks before the tournament. Is a good deal to do the diet. Also, I eat a lot in the morning, fruits, cereal, whole wheat bread with olive oil, I eat a lot of olive oil – not frying with it! – a lot of protein shakes in the morning and after my training. Glutamine, a good amino and supplements, that is very important for the athletes, amino acids. And in my diet I don’t mix carbs with protein. I eat just protein, or I eat just carbs, or just fruits: I never mix everything together. Like if I eat pasta, I eat first the carb, the pasta, and then after 30 minutes or 1 hour, I eat the fruit juice, the protein, the salad at the end. So, I learn with a nutritionist, Marcelo Feio from Brazil, and that diet works very good for me, and I feel so good when I do that diet. I don’t cut the carbs at night, because when I cut the carbs at night, I feel my body system metabolises slowly. I also eat like roots, before sleep, and then before sleep I eat just protein, like cashews, or nuts.
The FightWorks Podcast: It sounds like very simple foods.
Andre Galvao: Yeah, simple foods. So when I cut weight, I cut the carbs at night. I don’t like to do that, but I need to!
The FightWorks Podcast: So, Jay from North Carolina wants to know about you half guard game. He says “do you consider half your favourite place to play, when attacking, and why”?
Andre Galvao: I like to work a lot of different kinds of guard. I like hooks guard, I like spider guard, in the gi, but is he asking about MMA, or jiu jitsu?
The FightWorks Podcast: Jiu jitsu.
Andre Galvao: Ok. Yeah, I like to do the half guard because, you can hold a little bit, and think about the game, and you prepare yourself to attack his back, or sweep the guy and go on top in good position. So I like to work with the guard, I like to pull half guard. You need to do drills. You start on the half guard, and then the guy on the top tries to pass your guard, and you try to sweep the guy. That’s gonna make your half guard better and better, every day, if you works like that. Every position I like to do like special training, so we start in the position and make some rules, like if the guy escapes, or if the guy passes your guard, or if you sweep, then you do it again. Or you try to attack his back. So, you put rules on your training, and then you make up your mind to do it. You need to think more about developing your jiu jitsu.
The FightWorks Podcast: So Ian asks about the devotion of your time between jiu jitsu and MMA. He wants to know if you even put the gi on now.
Andre Galvao: I put the gi on, but not as much as before, because now I need to learn a lot of different kinds of martial arts, like boxing, like muay thai, like you know my striking game, because MMA starts standing up. So I train more in no gi, then I put on the gi one time a week or two times a week, just for recreation, to recover my mind, my body, to make me happy, because I love train with the gi. So I don’t put it on as much as before.
The FightWorks Podcast: Ok, so we have some questions from some gentlemen in the United Kingdom. Matt, his question: what motivational advice do you have for people who are never going to be world champions, they’re average jiu jitsu people. What motivational advice do you have for guys like that, which is the majority of people?
Andre Galvao: Jiu jitsu is great, you can do a lot of things with jiu jitsu, you can refresh your mind, you can get rid of stress. So just go happy, training happy, try something with your opponent, try to improve your game, try to be flexible, try to correct all your mistakes, try learn more and more. Don’t close your mind, believe in yourself. I think jiu jitsu…you can do every position, I believe in every position. If the guy shows me something like, looping position, something crazy, I try to do it too, because jiu jitsu doesn’t have a limit. I think jiu jitsu is the most fun fight to do, because it motivates you. So, even though you are stressing, you forget about everything, you just think about the fight, the positions, the locks, the submissions. I have a friend, he’s a scientist, he told me that he studies a lot, all the way, he tries running run, he tries boxing, he tries to do a lot of things. But he’s always thinking about science. He runs, but he thinks of the formulas, he’s thinking about a lot of things. So he says to me, only jiu jitsu makes him forget about everything. So, that is the jiu jitsu. Because that jiu jitsu, everybody wants to know, what jiu jitsu is. I think jiu jitsu is the most important martial art for MMA, because it is very very complete, and it is so complex. That makes you happy to train, and excited to train. Just open your mind and go train, and you make yourself happy.
The FightWorks Podcast: So this is from Slidey, and he’s also in the United Kingdom. He asks, “What advantages do you think the team aspect of jiu jitsu brings, say, compared to judo?”
Andre Galvao: Yeah, so in jiu jitsu we have teams. Sometimes I think this inhibits jiu jitsu from developing. Because in judo, wrestling, boxing, taekwondo, everybody fights for their national team, everybody fights for some country. Only in jiu jitsu do you fight for your team. That’s good, that’s very very interesting, but I think that inhibits jiu jitsu from developing the way it could. I think we could start a United States team, a Brazilian team, French team, for example. We can keep with the regular teams, like Alliance, Atos, Gracie Barra, but once a year or twice a year, we need a competition where the countries compete against each other. Like in Abu Dhabi, you fight for your country, but you represent your team. I don’t think that’s good for jiu jitsu.
The FightWorks Podcast: So, Adam in the UK asks, “What is the piece of equipment that you find the most effective for jiu jitsu, like the ball – everyone has seen the videos of you on the ball – kettle bells, like what is your favourite thing to do that helps your jiu jitsu?”
Andre Galvao: I think drills are most important, and flexibility. So, the kettle bells, the balls, every kind of that physical training helps you a lot, to get the balance, explosive power, but in jiu jitsu you need to do your positions very smoothly, and then you need to repeat a lot the position. If you do like 100 armbars a day, 100 armbars a day on the left side, just on the left side…man, you’re gonna get everybody like that. So, jiu jitsu is like that – if you repeat the position a lot, you will get better and better and better, you make yourself perfect at the move. And then you don’t need to think about that. So, in your wrestling, if you watch the training of wrestling, 80% of the training is a drill. Drill, drill, drill, 20% is like sparring. So the physical training is important, because in the black belt, you fight for 10 minutes, in the brown belt for eight minutes, the purple belt for seven, the blue belt for six, the white belt for five. So this time makes you more explosive or more slow. In all the black belt fights, the guys don’t fight fast, they fight slow, because the time is long, you know, so when you do sparring, the time is long. So it is hard for you explode, to make yourself explosive for like ten minutes. And this is hard to do too, because a lot of guys from brown belt, they got in trouble when they got a black belt, because the game is more isometric, and they didn’t feel that before, so when they start to feel it, and they are advancing in jiu-jitsu, they start to understand how the black belt fight is. So I believe in the drills, I think if you repeat more and more and more the position, you can catch anybody, any person, if you are a blue belt you can catch a black belt easy if you repeat the position a lot.
The FightWorks Podcast: The last question from the United Kingdom is from Adam, and he asks: “Who is the best person you have ever rolled with?”
Andre Galvao: The best? Man, for me, it’s Terere. He’s awesome, he knows a lot of jiu jitsu. He’s a nice guy, he’s cool, I never saw anybody else like him. He plays a lot of positions. In his last years of fighting, he fought a lot with the spider guard, hooks guard, half guard, you know, many kinds of position. And he is nice too. I like to train with Leo Viera too. He’s crazy, and Ricardo Viera too. He’s so good. So for me, those are the three guys, very very nice to train, very funny.
The FightWorks Podcast: So I have the same question from three guys. Jason, David and Bruce, all want to know about your book. They enjoyed the DVD – the first question is, “Did you enjoy making the book and the DVD?”
Andre Galvao: I think the book is fun, is nicer. On my DVD I show a lot of my game too, but a lot of guys and a lot of people talked to me, told me about the positions… They liked it because I show a lot of details . But I don’t like the editing of my DVD too much. I think they can do better. So my book is gonna be ready this year, for sure, they just fixed the cover and all the things like that, and the pictures inside the book, but I think the book is gonna be great, because I did a book about drills. I love to do those. I show my best things about drills, and I think after this book, a lot of teachers, coaches, they are gonna learn a lot about drills, because the drills as I told you before, for me, are the key for you gotta be better jiu jitsu.
The FightWorks Podcast: Ok, well you know we don’t have a whole lot more questions, André. One of the questions was if somebody wants to have you for a seminar, how do they contact you?
Andre Galvao: Oh man, yeah. I will open my page, my web page…my sponsor, Vulkan, they will open the page, andregalvao.com. And you guys can send me email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You guys can send me email for private lessons, of for seminars. Right now, til July, I’m very busy for my training, but after that, I am free, and then I will do seminars in Canada, after my fight, some in the United States, like Washington DC. So, if you guys want to do a seminar with me, just send me mail, and check out the website. The site is gonna be ready pretty soon.
The FightWorks Podcast: My last question for you Andre, is Michael Jackson just died. What are your thoughts?
Andre Galvao: Man, I think Michael Jackson is a unique guy. He’s awesome. We have Pele in soccer, we have Jordan in basketball, we have Tiger Woods in golf, and we have Michael Jackson in pop music. So, he’s awesome. I’m sad about that, because we know he had a lot of problems, like, his mind, but he’s a great, great professional guy. He’s awesome. Nobody danced like him, nobody sang like him. I talked with Anderson Silva. He loves Michael Jackson, he said he cried, he was depressed for two days because of that. Michael Jackson is unique. He started so young…I’m sad about that, and I hope God blesses his family, and they keep their focus on life, and they don’t forget about Jesus.
The FightWorks Podcast: Ok, Andre, anything that you want to say to all of our listeners before we say goodbye?
Andre Galvao: Yeah, for sure. I just thank you guys, thank the podcast, for doing another interview with me, and thank you all my fans, thank for the questions, and I will fight in Dream pretty soon. I hope you guys enjoy my fight, and I hope to get the belt. That belt is gonna make me so happy, and I will start in my career for sure, in MMA. I just thank my lord Jesus Christ to give me health, will, and support my life and my family, that’s it. Thank you.
The FightWorks Podcast: Thank you Andre.