Alan “FinFou” Nascimento Interview

ALAN NASCIMENTO Height: 1,80cm Weight: 74kg Date of Birth: March, 12th – 1982 City of Birth: Niteroi

DM- How was your life before you enter in Jiu Jitsu?

Finfou- I lived in another slum named Jardim Catarina; and it wasa very dangerous favela. So my mother told me to go to Cantagalo where my grandmother lived. Here at Cantagalo, I liked to study and I wanted to be asoccer player. I had a normal life and I found out about Jiu Jitsu when I turned 14 years old.

DM- Didn’t you problems with the drug dealers of the favela?

Finfou- We had plenty of opportunities to work in drugs, but I don’t live in the ‘favela’ because I am like this; I live because I don’t have the means to live in another place. In the favela you need to know how to live. But thanks to GOD I never had any kind of relationship with the drug dealers. I lost a lot of friends my age that were murdered or went to jail.

DM- How did you meet Jiu Jitsu?

Finfou- It was through Fernando Augusto ‘Terere’. I was playing flipper, I didn’t know he was a fighter. So he said, “hey let’s go to my academy to train” and I asked him “academy? Academy of what?” (laughs) So I went to train and I didn’t have a gi, I put on pants and a jacket to train. I liked Jiu Jitsu so my grandmother brought a gi for me. But a lot of times I had to stop training because I had to work and study, so I didn’t have time for Jiu Jitsu. From the age of 14 until 18 I would all day and then study all night, but nowadays I just train Jiu Jitsu. Since I finished my studies and I don’t work anymore, I just train and fight Jiu Jitsu.

DM- You have a different nickname, Finfou. What does it mean?

Finfou- We have a kids’ game in ‘the favela where when all kids we were together, when someone screamed ‘finfou!’ and all the kids would stop, without any movement. Whoever moved should be punished by slaps on the back. I’m a guy who loves smiles and joking with people, so I was always slapped on the back. Even after this kids game; I kept on smiling.

DM- Before Terere ask you to train in his academy did you know anything about Martial Arts?

FinFou- I liked Van Damme and Karate Kid movies. Everybody talks about Martial Arts, but I didn’t know about it.

DM- When you went to the academy, did you think that Jiu Jitsu had punches and kicks?

FinFou Yes, I did. But it wasn’t a problem, because some of my friends already trained and we had a nice rivalry between us.

DM- How so a “nice” rivalry?

FinFou- Well, we started training at the same time, After each Jiu Jitsu class that we finished, we kept ourselves at the academy to train each with each other. It was the reason to joke too, since if you submitted your friend, you’d tell him, ‘hey I submitted you, you’re weak fighter!’ (laughs) It was good to develop my jiu jitsu, because some youngest kids got to submit me and I didn’t relax while I submitted them too.

DM- You’ve a similar game to Terere’s one. Do you agree?

FinFou- I’ve a good game, and I have my instructor Ricardo Vieira. I think nobody will be the next Terere, he was one of the best Jiu Jitsu fighters and instructors. I’ve my own responsibility on training and fighting my own way.

DM- How’s your way of vision over the success and theproblems in Terere’s career?

Finfou- I think people harvest what they planted. Something wrong he had in his beginning and it reflected now in his career. He was one of the best and I expect he’ll return to the game.

DM- How much time have you trained under Terere?

FinFou- I stayed with him until purple belt, 1997-2003.

DM- Did you way of training changed a lot since you moved to Ricardo’s school?

FinFou- I didn’t change much, they’re different. They train and fight by looking for submissions, so I didn’t feel the difference.

DM- You’re not working. So do you get to keep yourself just with Jiu Jitsu?

FinFou- I support Ricardinho in the social project Cantagalo, where we just train people from the ‘favela’ and I teach private classes. I give seminars and I’m competing in tournaments with prize money. And I manage it well since I became a religious guy.

DM- What does Ricardinho represent to your career?

FinFou- A lot of things. When I didn’t have motivation to train, he went to my job to ask me to come back to train. I’m grateful to him because I things I have conquered I owe to him. I never saw myself on an airplane, and I already spent 3 months on Sweden for teaching Jiu Jitsu. Ricardinho doesn’t teach us just to be a fighter, he teaches us to be a correct citizen. We know how to have respect and to stay close to our family.

DM- When did you go and how many time did you spend in Sweden?

FinFou- December 7th until March 3rd 2005. It was in last year in International Master & Senior in Jiu Jitsu and a Swedish guy named Stephen was here training. He enjoyed my methods and asked me if I’d like to go to Sweden, and I answered him, “can we go tomorrow?”(laughs) So we managed the passport and visas and I went to there to teach Jiu Jitsu. The cold was the hardest thing, because they were on the winter period. I expect to return to there still in 2005. I made good friends there and they adored my methods of teaching Jiu Jitsu

DM- Did your family support you in the beginning?

Finfou- They didn’t believe in Jiu Jitsu because it’s not an Olympic sport. They just believed when I put some money to help them. My mother lives in another city, so she just told that she preferred to see me training Jiu Jitsu than a G3 rifle and drugs. My father always supported me, but he lived in another city and he never saw me with a gi. He passed away last year before American Gold Cup, and I’m so sad because a lot of things are happening in my career and I can’t tell him.

DM- Did you always want to be a Jiu Jitsu competitor?

Finfou- Well, I always was a competitor by that case I told you in rivalry between the guys who started jiu jitsu with me, But I didn’t know what a competition was. I have a funny story about it. Terere graduated 5 fighters to yellow belt(including myself). So he told us, “we’ll fight a competition next weekend.” I ask him “compete? What that hell is that?” (laughs) I had no idea what a competition was. So my 4 teammates were champions, less myself. I didn’t believe that I couldn’t win that tournament. I had the same methods of training than my teammates. So due to this first competition, I put in my mind that I wanted to be a champion too. I loved the adrenaline of the competition. I trained a lot and in next competition I won and I knew that I wanted to be a competitor.

DM- You’re a tall guy, but you’re light. Do you like being a lightweight fighter?

Finfou- I fight well on this category. But I’ll work to gain some weight; because I always need to lose 1kg prior my fights. I think I’ll go to medio next year.

DM -You were submitted by Flavio Maia in Brasileiro 2005 and were injured. How much time did you spend healing up?

Finfou- Maia popped my arm. I went to the hospital and I thought about if it was good to resist any sunk submission like that, because I could break my arm. I had a big problem in my arm where I couldn`t move my arm for 28 days. I did physiotherapy, but I arrived in both competitions with 90% of my condition. I didn’t believe I could fight both World Championships, because I suffered a lot during the physiotherapy sessions.

DM- Which was your hardest fight in Copa do Mundo 2005?

Finfou- I had three tough fights on this event. It was against Davi from Top Brothers, I tore my finger fighting against him. Michael Lang from TT JJ was hard too. I swept him on the final when we had just 15 seconds on the clock; I beat him 4 times but they were always hard fights. And Reginaldo Rocha from Nova Uniao was tough too. My fight against Lang was the hardest and my best performance.

DM- One week later you fought Mundial 2005. How were you feeling for this competition?

FinFou- I was very well trained prior both competitions, because I stayed in Sao Paulo with Leonardo Vieira. So when I won Copa do Mundo, I felt that I had accomplished one of my goals. I didn’t believe I could fight, and even so I won. So I went to Mundial more relaxed and I performed well, I felt I little tired, but it was just after the finals. The only things worried were my finger, that I injured inCopa do Mundo and a probable fight against Maia, because he knew that my arm wasn’t 100%. I beat Flavio n the finals and I beat Lapela from TT JJ in SaoPaulo, who took me down. These were two good fights.

DM- You were graduated brown-belt., did you expect it?FinFou- Well, I didn’t fight both events thinking on it. The people put some pressure after both World Championships and I got the brown. I climb more of degree and I’m very happy because I’m close to my deal, the black-belt.

DM- Which are you goals in brown-belt?

FinFou- I’ll keep myself training hard, and under Ricardinho`s supervision I want to win all tournaments possible.

DM- Any last words?

FinFou- I want to thank GOD, when I didn’t have faith, everything worked stranger. And now it’s okay. I want to thanks Ricardinho who gave opportunity oftraining with him, Pedrao of Ebel who sponsor me, crew from 2N Academy, the kids from our ‘favela’ project and the physiotherapies who supported me when I was injured, Juliana, Cleide and Amuary, and my family, which is all.

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Denis Martins