Eduardo Telles, a Protege of Carlos Valente, Is Steamrolling Over His Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Opponents, and His Eyes Are Set On Vale Tudo
Interview by Doug Jeffrey
It may be a cliche to say it, But the Sky Really IS THE LIMIT for Eduardo Telles. Check this Out. Not only is he a gold medallist in the CBJJO championships, he is a three-time ALL-Brazil team champion and a gold medalist in the Brazil vs USA World Cup Challenge. This guy is good, and he’s only going to get better. And once he’s done conquering Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he’s got his Brazilian eyes set on vale todo. He’s definitely a fighter to be reckoned with. -Editor
Q:You’ve been practicing jiu-jitsu for more than 10 years, and you’ve won a slew of medals. What mental preparation do you do before a match?
A: I meditate the day before every tournament because it helps my concentration and confidence. Not only that, but it helps me relax, sleep and it gives me energy. When I do meditate, I lie on my back, breathe real slowly and think about good things, my skills and techniques. I try to get good vibes, and these release my negative vibes. when the bad ones go away , I fill myself with good energy. I also try to feel all of the different parts of my body. I need to relax. You have to feel the things around you with your eyes closed.
Q: Why is it important to breathe slowly?
A: Slow breathing lets you control your emotions. Otherwise you’d panic…..like a fish out of water.
Q: Do you only meditate the day before a match?
A: I always do this on the day before the fight. On some occasions. I’ll do it several days before an event or before I go to sleep.
Q: You won’t do this on the day of the tournament though. Why?
A: To meditate, I have to be calm. On the day of the fight, I have to be aware, ready and focused.
Q: When you meditate, you don’t actually “see” the fight?
A: No. I just get calm. I figure my moves, but not in a fight. I am really just looking over them [techniques] in my mind.
Q: So what do you do on the day of the fight?
A: I stretch a little bit and eat well. I don’t eat a “full American breakfast” Normally, it’s fruit or sports nutrition bars. If I eat too much on the day of an event, I won’t be able to produce at 100 percent.
Q: Do you ever have negative emotions, especially if you’re facing a particular tough opponent?
A: You can’t go in with this type of mindset. You have to be confident, focused and go with the flow. That is why I meditate the day before and that makes me confident. Sometimes crap happens, but it’s OK. The most important thing is to control and be calm. You need to be in control and be calm. You have to think of it as just a regular day. When we train, we fight 10 guys or more for an hour. In the contest, you might have three fights and it’s fast.
Q: What do you take away from a loss?
A: To me, it does not matter if you win. You have to be prepared for defeat. Defeat is how you get better. The more you tap, the more you get better. You have to challenge yourself to be better. If you have a problem, you should face that problem.
Q: Describe your strategy.
A: when I start to fight, I feel the guy. If he’s good at stand up, I will pull him to the guard. I have to see his weakness. If I am facing a judo guy, I will pull him straight to the guard and start to play.
Q: What if the opponent doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses?
A: Many [opponents] are complete. They are good everywhere, but I have a different style and can adapt. For example, I can do something new, and that will break his whole strategy, which puts him on the defensive. It’s all action and reaction. You create an action and take the reaction. This is jim-jitsu. When you compete at a high level, you always go for that. I see what he gives me and see his mistakes.
Q: Do you set goals?
A: I am always learning. It’s important to improve, but I don’t look at the calendar and say that I have to know or learn something just because it’s a new year.
Q: What is your nutritional program like?
A: I eat lots of fruits and generally all healthy stuff. Most importantly I do not eat large quantities for my three meals. Instead, I eat a lot of times throughout the day.. These are small, healthy portions. In addition to fruit, I eat a lot of Japanese food for lunch and dinner. Of course , I also follow the Gracie Diet because it provides for a quick and light digestion. Fruit also gives me tremendous energy.
Q: Explain your cross-training program.
A: It changes from one day to the next, and it has to or your body will not adapt or improve. If you always do the same thing, you will always be the same. If you change , you will change and get better. Watch and pay attention [to your body]. If you lift a lot of weight and your body is stiff, you have to swim and relax, do yoga, run, do push-ups or surf to distract your mind. It’s important to do something different every. You always have to review what you teach and what you put in your “computer.’
Q: Give us some specifics of your cross-training.
A: When I swim , I might go for 1,000 meters in a pool.When I do weights, I also change it up. I’ll do both heavy weights and light weights. When I get close to a tournament , I practice light weights and do high reps to create resistance. So, I’ll start with heavy weights and go lighter [as the tournament approaches]. weights make your muscles stronger, so you have fewer injuries.
Q: Does the extra bulk from weight training help in jiu-jitsu?
A: In jiujitsu, it is not about size. Weights in your program prevent injury. It’s not important to look good or get big. In addition to that, each person has his own weight. A natural weight that is bone structure and joints. This is perfect. Nature is perfect, so you don’t want to get to big from lifting weights.
Q: Do you have any ambition to go into mixed martial arts?
A: I might get into vale todo, but it depends. First, I want to go to Abu Dhabi. If I do well in that competition , then I would think about mixed martial arts.
A:Royce [Gracie]. I learned a lot from him. Royce was great at mixed martial arts, and he is really different from the guys of today. He practiced real techniques. He punched guys and I think that surprised some of the opponents. When you have a different style and people do not know what you are going to do, that gives you an advantage.
Q:How do you personally stay ahead of the competition?
A: I keep an open mind. Everyone needs to do this. You have to be open to change in case your concepts are wrong. If someone has a different concept and it is right, you should be willing to look at it and incorporate it into your style.
Q: What advice can you give to someone when he is trying to select an instructor?
A: To start, it’s not only about teaching . You have to find somebody who gives you a [positive] state of mind. What I am saying is that you need to someone who goes beyond his duties as an instructor. You want someone who is a personal counselor. If you have a bad day, this person can be a mentor and provide some friendship. Of course, you have that professional relationship, but he should also ask you what you think and what you feel. Some guys , like Mike Tyson, have no mentor. He could have been the best, but he had no direction. So , I would tell a new student to find a guy [instructor] who has good qualities. You know a good person. Someone who is like a father teaching his children. Find someone who treats others the sam wayne wants to be treated. You should also have fun while you train. You have to feel good with your instructor. If things aren’t working out, you should be willing to change. Of course, there are going to be times when you disagree, but that is simply a disagreement over different opinions. Overall, you have to feel good with your master.
A: They need to remember that they are beginners, and they should not worry about defeats. I’m a beginner, too. I keep this thought in my mind. If I think I am a master already or a professor, I will not learn.
Q:So you are continuing to learn?
A: Yes, I do jiujitsu almost daily. If I teach, I also learn. When I explain a position, I visualize every detail and that is important. I can see what they are doing wrong, and it helps me.