BJJ Interviews: Interview With Ivan Tomasetti

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There has been a lot of requests from our readers to do more interviews, so here you go, interview with Ivan Tomasetti.

1. How did you get started in BJJ?

I started thanks to a friend who introduce me this sport, at the beginning I started just for fun, then I realized it can be helpful for improve my ground game for my professional judo career, then in few months I decided to stop with judo and start training full time in BJJ.

2. What is your current belt/rank?

Judo Black belt 4° dan
Bjj black belt (jun 2015)

3. What is your academy/team?

Aeterna Jiu Jitsu (Rome Italy)

4. Are you a full time athlete or you have a job apart?

I can say both… I work for the Carabinieri (Italian military police) and also train around 4h per day.

5. How many times a week/day are you training?

ivan2Around 12 times x week

6. Do you do No Gi/Judo/Wrestling as well?

Yes, I love NOGI the same as GI, and I was training judo since I was 4. I was training some wrestling but just for improve my nogi game. I’m actually part of the Italian National team of sambo and I won the bronze medal at European Championships on 2013

7. What is your attitude to Crossfit or circuit training? Have you ever include it in your training?

Yes, Crossfit is a new “sport” for old metodologyes of trainings used since ages for judo and wrestling preparation. I workout on in circuits but is not like crossfit, is more functional for fighting.

8. New School vs Old School Jiu Jitsu, any thoughts?

Old School jiu jitsu lifetime!! Personally I see this new bjj tecniques a kind of avoiding the real fight and transforming bjj in a kind of ability game than a martial art.

9. What is your personal style in jiu jitsu?

My personal style of bjj I think is unique because mostly I was adapting what I have from judo to bjj and using the leglocks from sambo. My style is really basic and old styled takedowns pass and submit.

10. If you could choose one super ability for jiu jitsu, what it was?(lol)

To get never tired!

11. Are you following any special dieting? Do you use any sport supplements? If yes, give us an example of your favourite?

On tournament time I follow a diet provided to me by my dietologyst Diego Fortuna that is a mix between paleo diet and zone diet.

Actually I don’t use supplements, I still didn’t find nothing that makes the difference

12. Do you have something special in your training program?

No nothing special just hours and hours of sparring

13. What do you prefer – rolls over drills or drills over rolls?

I prefer roll over roll, I don’t consider drilling a proper training, it’s good when you are just starting bjj to get confident with the techniques or when you see something new but once you did totally 100 times after you have to put it into the real fight. So in my training there isn’t any drill.

14. What do you like most and least about BJJ?

Mostly I like the relaxed environment around bjj, in gyms and competitions you will find friendly people who shares a common passion… is not much marked the difference between competitors, coaches and referees like in other martial arts like judo (that I was practicing before).

I like also the open mind that bjj players have, every bjj player is ready to learn whatever can be useful from everybody and from every sport, this don’t happen as example in judo or wrestling where mostly of the people is convinced they are playing the best and most effective sport. Personally I think there are thing that can be useful and can be exchanged between all the “wrestling” sports.

15. Where do you see yourself/your gym in the next 5 years?

In 5 years I will finish my duty in India and I’m looking for a place where to stay, I would like to move to some hot place, at the moment I’m evaluating between Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, where to teach in a Gym or open one by myself.
I’m also working hard on my brand Extreme Fightwear and I would like to move to a place where I can handle well the production of quality materials.

16. What would you say to someone who was thinking about joining BJJ gym?

The only thing I can say is: Try it! The only way to know bjj is trying it… when you watch it without know it can look a little boring and lack of action… but when you try you will find yourself that is not what it looks 

Another good thing of BJJ is that you will find out really soon if you like it, because there are no middle ways, or you love it or you hate it!

17. What are your thoughts on BJJ tournaments? Do they need some reformation or rules are good as they are?

As they are is pretty good, but everything can be better. Personally I think that pulling the guard should be avoided, should be awarded points for attempting submissions, should be considered sweep every inversion of position even if the guard is already passed, and the pass the guard points should be awarded by the position of side control and not for the guard pass.

18. What is your bread-and-butter move/submission?

My best attack is the ankle lock, I was developing this after I learn it from a really good sambo teacher during a training camp of the Italian national team of sambo, and after I was adapting what I learned to bjj seen that starting positions for attack are very different from bjj and sambo. With this submission I was winning mostly of the matches in the last 3 years included the final match of the European Championship open weight in just 20 seconds.

I love this submission because allow me to submit my opponents without having a dominant position so it make it very fast and unexpected.

19. Have you ever done isolated grip training?

Yes during my judo career I was doing a lot of it, I think this work is underestimated in bjj, same ad breaking grips techniques, as I see lot of bjj players have problems for grip breaking either standing and on the ground.

20. You are 8x European Champion, do you have any tips for competing athletes?

ivanYes…sure the first and most important is: guys compete! In a tournament you can learn thing that you will never learn in the gym, one tournament, doesn’t matter how it goes, will teach you more than 100 training!

As per researches done on judo for have a technique that come instinctively (that is what you need for compete at high levels) you should repeat it 10000 times (I mean 10000 times in a real situation not drilling with a non-fighting opponent), or is just do it one time in a high stress situation.

That0s why once you handle to do a submission in a tournament you will have this submission lifetime.

21. Do you have any fear before tournaments?

Everybody has fears before the tournaments, it’s human! The difference between a champion and who is not is that a champion can handle the fear and get more power from that.

My trick is to concentrate on what I want and not on what I fear, all my thoughts goes on how to win the fight, fight by fight until the end.

22. What do you think about female BJJ?

Personally I don’t like to watch females in wrestling sports but I have to say that the level of women bjj is growing up really fast.

23. What jiu jitsu lifestyle means for you?

BJJ lifestyle means healthy, active and free life.

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