By Gláucia Arakaki
Photo personal archive
Directly from Little Rock, US, the brown-belted Hillary Williams, who has come to Brazil several times and even stealing all the attention for the prizes she got, is now preparing herself to the Pan Jiu Jitsu Championship that Will occur between the 8th and 11th of April. Being the current champion in the categories weight and absolute without kimono and with a bronze medal in her hands from ADCC, the athlete has been working hard on her preparation. In an exclusive interview to TATAME, Hillary talked about the beginning of her career and how did she fell in love with the softer genre as well as her training with the biggest names in Jiu Jitsu, the growing process of fighting between women, hers expectations to Abu Dhabi and a lot more.
How did you meet Jiu Jitsu?
When I went to a lot of punk concerts I had a friend called Mark. He was kind of chubby at the time and then he but disappeared for a year and returned all strong, healthy, had told me he has lost 40kg. I always liked sports, but he got me interested in Jiu-Jitsu. I never watch TV so I didn’t know anything about Jiu Jitsu or MMA. I went there and it was something completely different, new, and something really hard. I loved the difficulty faced and ended up getting addicted to it.
You are from a small city in Arkansas and go around the world looking for new kind of training and have been to Brazil a few times and says that you love our culture. How did this love grow?
No one, not even Americans, knows a lot about my state, here on the countryside. It is not that big and it’s really countrified. The nature here is amazing and I really like it, but there’s only one kind of people living here. The people are cold and distant, so everyone just go around in their cars, no one walks. In Rio I’ve seen people from everywhere around the world and a lot of mixed people altogether. I learned Portuguese so that I could get the culture, the behaviors and all. It was really worth it. I can say I have expanded my horizons. If you don’t have a reason to be happy, don’t you worry, Brazilians invent it for you. If there’s no party or friends around you, Brazilians make it happens. It’s a really different culture than the one I faced back home, but I would never change it.
How many cities have you been to?
Wow, now you are making me count it (laughs). Jiu Jitsu brought me to over 25 cities and 63 gyms. But I’m really, really lucky. Everyone opened their doors for me and treated me even better than I deserve, crushed me and reminded me why our sport is the best.
With only 21 years and already with a brown belt in your hands, in your search for Jiu Jitsu you have trained with big names such as Marcelinho Garcia, Ronaldo Jacaré, Bruno Bastos, Ricardinho Vieira, Cobrinha, Hermes França, Cyborg, and others. How do you think Jiu Jitsu changed your life?
I can’t imagine how my life would be without Jiu-Jitsu. Training with these teachers pushing me all the time is an incredible opportunity, but it is also a lesson of humility. They are the tops on Jiu Jitsu, professional fighters. Even still they always have a good smile in their faces and always find time to dedicate to their pupils and Jiu Jitsu learners, like me.That does not exist in other sports. You'll never see a famous football player using his time to teach the beginners. But these fighters make the sport grow because they are always showing their techniques to others, always helping and always humble.
My best friends are in Jiu Jitsu. When I’m back home I keep studying in my room or on the mat and that’s all. I know a few people from here, but that doesn’t make me as happy as I get when all my friends are gathered in a championship and we can catch up and noticed that, even though our particular world is huge, it’s also really selective. And finally, as you said, I’m pretty young. Here in the US, people from my age usually go out a lot just to grab some food and lose focus. Jiu Jitsu is a body and mind activity. The discipline I learned from the sport made me go on with my medicine studies and gave me the will to keep learning and growing.
The female Jiu Jitsu is growing a lot and big names has been leading this spot, as Luanna Alzuguir, Beatriz Mesquita, Kyra Gracie, Hannette Staack. Do you try to make a pattern of them?
Yes, a little, but not alway. They are all excellent in what they do, in Love with the sport and great representatives of female Jiu Jitsu. But what differentiates us is that Jiu Jitsu is my passion, but not my career. I don’t have to train two or three times a day, I study medicine in between eight in the morning until five in the afternoon, then practice as much as I can, study a little more and it’s already bedtime. I love Jiu-Jitsu from the bottom of my heart, but I love medicine and I dream of being a surgeon. That does not change the fact I want to be a world champion. I want it very much. But my focus is on learning and keep the friendships I made in the sport for life more than the medals.
How are you physical preparation going? Is there any training that you're focusing more?
I'm the only woman in my gym, so for me most of the physical preparation is to train hard and tough with these guys. I practice directly with my teachers and every day after school I do three to five rounds of explosion. I hate to do (laughs), but it's something I need to. I always think I'm the least trained, the least prepared, and so they send me to train more and more.
What are your expectations for the Abu Dhabi Pro World Jiu Jitsu 2010?
Since there are two weight categories, it will have more girls in lighter weights. I know that Luanna will be there, just as Bia. They are slightly smaller and so, much faster. Will also have more experienced girls, so I really have to focus on my game. I cannot let one do whatever it want, otherwise I will lose.
Who do you think it will be the toughest girl you’ll have to face there?
They are all tough. In fact, I don’t even know who will fight in my category since the website takes forever to be updated... It's so many people! But I never enter a fight thinking that one will be tougher than the other. Nobody has a name on the mat. Any time, any day, anyone can win. But at the same time, you can lose. I go into every fight as if it was to be the most difficult, and I have to stay focused.
Hillary vai “suar sangue” pelo título no Pan
Por Gláucia Arakaki
Foto arquivo pessoal
Diretamente de Little Rock, Estados Unidos, a faixa-marrom Hillary Williams, que já esteve várias vezes no Brasil, inclusive roubando a cena e passando o carro nos campeonatos por aqui, se prepara rumo ao Pan-Americano de Jiu-Jitsu, que acontece entre os dias 8 e 11 de abril. Atual campeã mundial peso e absoluto sem quimono e medalha de bronze no ADCC, a atleta vem se preparando forte.
"Estou esperando só fera lá. Não são mais pessoas que fazem Jiu-Jitsu como hobby ou estão no caminho para o melhor nível... Têm meninas que estão na faixa-preta mais tempo do que estou treinando, e com certeza não existe luta fácil. Mas é por causa disso que amo Jiu-Jitsu. Uma medalha vale muito mais se você precisa suar e sangrar pra pegar", disse a atleta.
Numa entrevista exclusiva à TATAME, Hillary falou sobre o começo da carreira e como se apaixonou pela arte suave, os treinos que fez com alguns dos maiores nomes do Jiu-Jitsu, o crescimento da luta entre as mulheres, a expectativa para o Mundial Profissional de Abu Dhabi e muito mais. Clique aqui e confira o bate-papo exclusivo com a gringa casca-grossa.
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