Posted on 12 Mar 2014
1 min read
We were recently invited to interview four time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion Leo Negao.
This was just about the most exciting news ever to fall into our inbox – after all, we normally just receive a torrent of emails about sunglasses, steroids and tits.
So, brimming visibly with excitement, we bundled into the GymTalk minibus and drove on down to Leo’s dojo in Vauxhall, London.
In addition to dominating the sport of BJJ in the late 90s, Leo Negao has also trained with some of the biggest names in Martial Arts, such as Anderson Silva and Carlson Gracie, and is a leading proponent of ‘Vale Tudo’, or ‘no holds barred’ fighting.
Leo’s moves are so deadly that he was even banned from competing in the UK’s ‘Cage Rage’ championship!
This guy is so tough he makes Chuck Norris look like Mary Poppins.
In the video below, Leo talks about how he got started with BJJ and MMA, his approach to training and fitness, and how he snapped a Russian fighter’s arm…
Hello guys, I’m Leo. I’m from Brazil. I’m a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion, MMA champion. I live in London – for around something like four and a half years – and I teach in Vauxhall, BJJ and MMA, and I invite everyone to come on over.
When I started to do Martial Arts it was more to defend myself than something else, ‘cos I was very scared on the street, right? About the big guys in Brazil, people carrying knives, guns, whatever. So I said to myself, OK, hold on, I’m going to try and do something to defend myself.
And then I found the Carlson Gracie gym near where I was living, but I didn’t have any money to get in the gym. And then one day he invited me to go to the gym, to see what Jiu Jitsu is. And I said, “Ah, what is Jiu Jitsu?” I didn’t know about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu back in those days.
And then I get in there down the gym and I see a few guys start to mash each other, and they were on the ground, things were going on on the ground. And I said, “Man… what kind of shit is that?”
And then the teacher told me, yeah, “Put on the gloves and try and strike that guy there on the ground.” And I said, “OK, let me have a go.” And then I put on the gloves and when I started to strike him – his name was Murillo Bustamante – he put me in an arm bar and almost broke my arm!
And I said, “Shit! Wh… what the fuck is that?” And then he told me, “Oh, it was an arm bar.” And then I said, “Arm bar? Alright, that’s nice.”
And then he said, “Try again. Now, from stand-up, you strike me. And then I’m just going to pull you down and control you on the ground.”
And then after that I started to get in there more and train every day. And this was helping me too to calm down because I was a very aggressive person too. So this was helping me a lot.
We say, alright, that your body is the most important thing in your life, even if you don’t like your body, but that’s where you live, alright?
So what I try to do, I always try to work my cardio in the morning, jogging in the morning, very light jogging. And afternoon’s I come down here, we train strength and conditioning, like the guy saw here. When we train, it’s to improve more my cardio and strength at the same time.
When people say “a fight is a fight”, well once you just get in that ring you fight. That’s easy. But you need to train before stepping in there. When you step in the ring, most of the guys that step in the ring are already champions, from my point of view.
My best fight was against a Russian guy when I broke his arm. Because, you know, he was talking a lot about, oh, you know, “I’m a Vale Tudo fighter!” That was my background anyway, so I didn’t care. And then he asked me, “For the elbows? For the knees? On the ground?” I said, “No problem, you can do anything you want.” And then in the end I ended up breaking his arm.
Alright guys, so you can find me at leonegao.com. So get in there it has the timetable, all the things about the gym here, and we have a few clothes to sell too. So make yourself welcome, no problem!
Details about his MMA classes – public and private – can be found by clicking here.
Eat Clean Train Dirty shirt available from the Gymtalk Shop.