Itallo Vilardo, on common mentality among Jiu-Jitsu competitors: “They forget to invest in what will provide the basis”

From beginner to advanced athlete, the first step is to organize and recognize the importance of each stage of training

Itallo Vilardo comments on culturally acquired habits in Jiu-Jitsu that, despite still being present, are beginning to undergo positive changes. Image: Personal Archive

Jiu-Jitsu training has always been surrounded by a series of controversies, mainly due to a cultural conception shaped over the years. However, with the professionalization of the sport and the increasing participation of different practitioners, it has become necessary to take a more careful and responsible look at the specificities of Jiu-Jitsu training, which includes, in addition to training by itself, physical preparation and nutrition. Itallo Vilardo, an authority on the physical preparation of high-performance athletes, talks about interesting and controversial topics, still present in the routine of athletes who invest in competitions.

Read the full interview below!

VF COMUNICA: Itallo, Jiu-Jitsu training over the years has always been controversial, with many different warm-up methods, even in relation to Jiu-Jitsu training itself. How do you work within this culture of understanding?

ITALLO VILARDO: What hinders Jiu-Jitsu the most is the culture in which it was developed. Many people are satisfied with just doing what the professor did when they were still a student, just reproducing knowledge, without knowing why it happened or how it could evolve, it was like this: my professor did it with me, I do it with my student, without breaking this chain. Training methods have evolved a lot and training at the academy, together with years of experience on the mat, helps a lot. Based on this, we will talk to students and professors to change this view and apply a more modern and efficient methodology.

VF COMUNICA: Still within the context of the previous question, it is common to stretch and warm up with running, for example, before putting the positions into practice. What would you point out as harmful about this type of method?

ITALLO VILARDO: One more thing that has not evolved. Isolated stretching is not a warm-up and can even contribute to injury. The purpose of warming up is precisely to warm up! And not get tired. The more specific and targeted your warm-up is, the better the rest of the training will go. Use the warm-up to prepare the body for the intended activity, with movements from the sport itself. Even for a competition, many athletes claim that they cannot warm up during competition and end up doing so in the first fight; what if they lose? The athletes leave without having actually fought. And this is because we mistakenly created such a strong warm-up pattern in training that we were unable to replicate in competition. The right thing to do is for our warm-up to be somewhat standardized, to keep it as close as possible to the way we might warm up in competition.

VF COMUNICA: How would you define the importance of physical preparation, apart from specific fight training, for high-performance athletes?

ITALLO VILARDO: It is a fundamental complement for any practitioner, and will be required according to the level (professional or amateur, competitor or not). Many people think they need to compete to be physically prepared, and that’s not the case. Physical preparation, above all, prepares and protects your body for training, giving you more bases for fight training, preventing injuries, controlling weight. A very common mistake made by athletes is that, when they get injured, they interrupt their physical preparation. That’s when he needs her most.

VF COMUNICA: 20-minute sparring for a maximum 10-minute fight. How do you see this practice?

ITALLO VILARDO: Waste of time! You don’t condition yourself to fight for 10 minutes by training for 20 minutes. Training for 20 minutes prepares you for a fight that long. The rhythm is totally different, the intensity is different. All the athletes I prepared for a superfight, we based their training exactly on the time of the fight. With control of action and rest times. Causing him to establish a physiological pattern to explode and recover for as long as the fight lasts. Same thing for a competition. Many athletes do 8 to 10 rounds in training and feel good, but arrive at a competition and die in the second fight, precisely because they trained one thing to compete in another. The rhythm is different, the intensity is different. If you are going to have four fights in a competition, your fight training should consist of three to five rounds, with varying intensities and controlling the interval time, as we only generate intensity by taking breaks.

VF COMUNICA: For beginners who want to perform more in competitions, what is the first step?

ITALLO VILARDO: Sign up to a academy that has the same profile as he wants and organize everything that can add to your results, such as physical preparation and nutrition. Jiu-Jitsu, like every sport, is an investment. Athletes sometimes think about fighting everything they see in front of them and forget to invest in what will give them the basis. With the amount he spends on a competition (including travel, accommodation, food, etc.), he pays for three or four months of physical preparation and nutrition, which will bring him much more benefits.

VF COMUNICA: How do you work Jiu-Jitsu in lifting?

ITALLO VILARDO: Specificity comes from controlling the physical skills that the sport demands and what the athlete needs for the way he fights. From then on, care is taken to work on the synergistic pattern (movement) of the fight, where Jiu-Jitsu is characterized by having a unique synergism. In addition, of course, to specific functional training, aimed at the athlete’s way of fighting. Rope swing, spin the wheel and box jumping are definitely not functional exercises.

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Written by Emmanuela Oliveira

Emmanuela Oliveira é faixa-marrom de Jiu-Jitsu e formada em Comunicação Social. Dentro do tatame, aprendeu que é possível conjugar Jiu-Jitsu, escrita e o gosto pelas artes visuais em um só pacote.

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