Kyra Gracie stepped through the door at Roger Gracie Academy this Tuesday with a worried look on her face, contrasting with her cousin’s toothy grin.
It has nothing to do with her having to make the 60kg weight limit this Friday, for the first weight-in of ADCC 2011, or with the battle with the slew of stalwart grapplers she has waiting for her in Nottingham on Saturday.
“I can’t get my hair dryer to work. Has anyone here got one?” she asks, getting saved at the last minute by Valeria Rodrigues, Lúcio Lagarto’s wife.
Roger greets everyone, calmly and straightforwardly discussing his defeat to King Mo at Strikeforce on the 10th. “I got distracted at the end of the round and it did me in. I’ve watched it over again a number of times, if just to understand what happened, since I couldn’t remember a thing. I only got my wits about me once I was back in the dressing room,” smiled the Gracie, to whom not even the knockout will hinder the natural course of his career: fighting under the UFC banner. The way things have been lately, could even be for his next fight. “It would be a lot better if I’d won,” he laughs, “but I think it’ll happen anyway. I have a running contract with Strikeforce and if everything goes the way it seems it will, I’ll end up in the UFC.”
No longer concerned with her hair and the chance of catching a cold, Kyra reappears sporting multi-colored shorts and dives into training, attempting to pass the guard of brown belt Danny, who’s also set to compete at ADCC 2011, in the under-77kg division.
Roger’s understanding is that in submission grappling the best attack is defense, and he goes over that with his cousin and Professor José Henrique “Zé Beleza”, demonstrating a number of ways to escape choke holds and delivering valuable tips on passing and sweeping.
It’s practically a return to training for Roger, who spent three days doing Thai boxing and two days doing MMA sparring a week when preparing to face King Mo. That’s why Roger won’t be on the mats in Nottingham; he feels he’s out of rhythm.
But what about the itch to compete at the ADCC, Roger? Won’t it be too great to bear? “Ah, for sure I’ll be aching to get in there. Especially once I’m in the gymnasium. But I know I’m not well prepared. So there’s no point, competing for competing sake is not going to happen,” says the man who won the 2005 ADCC absolute division and 2007 supermatch (even ill prepared).
“So who’ll win the absolute?” we ask. Rodolfo? Rafael Mendes? Lovato? “Rodolfo’s tough but he lost to Lovato in Abu Dhabi, so there’s a good chance he won’t win it. Rafael Mendes’s game of getting all balled up under his opponents can make things tricky but, because of his weight, I don’t put much faith in him taking it,” he says, leaving his prediction up in the air.
Might our readers enjoy a more-detailed account of Roger’s tips and lessons? What do you think? Comment below, once you’ve taken a good look at the photos taken at the training session. And don’t forget to check out the GRACIEMAG at the ADCC Blog for the latest and greatest on ADCC 2011.