In this BJJ interview with Angel Cicero, we go through the shocking benefits of grounding for both everyday wellness as well as how it can be helpful for martial artists. Angel is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt and Judo black belt (Shodan). This article goes into the perspective of a martial artist with over a decade of experience.
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Full Name: Angel Cicero
Belt Color: BJJ Black Belt & Judo Black Belt (Shodan)
Professor: John Carlquist (@1eyeswift)
Short Term Goals: To be World Champion
In Jiu Jitsu it doesn't matter if you... Angel Cicero's BJJ Story
Grounding is a unique and cost-effective way to support your BJJ training. With the added experience and knowledge that Angel brings, this article is one you don't want to miss. Make sure to read the full article to gain some interesting perspectives and view the links at the bottom of this interview for more helpful martial arts articles.
How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?
I started Judo when I was 4 in 1985 and BJJ in 2007.
Where do you train out of?
Unified BJJ in Utah. Although, I travel so much that I have a couple of other "family schools" as I call them.
Do you prefer gi or no-gi?
I definitely prefer gi. I feel somewhat naked without it...although I enjoy no-gi as well.
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
I would say mentally but in relation to Jiu-Jitsu. I haven't had the need to be helped otherwise by any professor. Mathias Ribeiro (@mathiasribeirobjj) has helped me overcome my mental limitations more than any other one.
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that apply to everyday life?
Although I'm not affiliated to any religious institution I'm a very religious person, and Jiu-Jitsu has shown me that just like with God, the more effort you put into it, the closer you get to your goal, and things that at first might have seemed impossible, all of a sudden they become real. Strait is the Gate and narrow is the way...
How often do you train?
Usually 6 days a week and about 3 hours a day. When getting ready for a big tournament I might add up some more.
What made you want to start training?
I've done judo all my life but in 2007 I was doing a lot of Muay-Thai and was training at "The Boxing Club" in Carlsbad, CA when my class was cancelled. They told me I could try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu if I wanted. I didn't know what it was, so I accepted. The class kicked my butt and I loved it.
The professor was Johnny Faria (@johnnysd) and amazingly our paths have crossed ever since and his school is one that I visit pretty often. I felt in love with Jiu-Jitsu thanks to Johnny.
So grateful to have @johnnysd as a friend! One of the best professors I’ve ever met, keeping his team as a true family!!
Do you plan on training your whole life?
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
It's a combination of things. It's the best martial art in my opinion (I've tried many), the most fun, family environment pretty much everywhere you go, and you can do it even if you are 500 years old!
What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?
At competition level, it might take a toll on you because of the injuries, but overall it keeps you in the best shape, elasticity, strength, balance, etc. I would say it has greatly improved my health being.
Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?
Definitely. Jiu Jitsu keeps you grounded and stress-free. Most of your problems go away when you step into the mats. But also it forces you to develop your mind. You need to be smart if you wanna be successful.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything differently?
Nah. I don't have any regrets. Everything that has happened has brought me where I am...and I am happy. I only wished I could have started sooner, that's all.
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
Do it! Stick to it for a while before giving up. Try different places.
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
World Champion. Your goal should always be the highest. Only you can put limits on yourself.
What’s your favourite move?
CT triangle...I've been doing it for many years now with a lot of success. I can't explain why it's called that... 😉
If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?
It was meant to be...I can't imagine myself without Jiu-Jitsu...
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
I think it has a steady progression and that is better than a momentary high. At this pace, BJJ will be the most practiced Martial Art in the World soon.
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
Of course! So many of them! Too many to mention them all, but for sure, my best friend and the one who has helped me the most and has been along the way is Mani Tavanaei (@bjjmani), European Champion and multiple medalists in plenty of big Competitions.
Great seminar by @splurgeo at Mathias Ribeiro Team!
Really unique stuff, the way I like it!
When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
It was easy coming from Judo since Jiu-Jitsu actually comes from Judo. But I would say Judo has somewhat a limit in creation. You can get better at established judo techniques but Jiu-Jitsu is pretty much limitless. You can create anything you want, as long as it works. Also, judo has too many limiting rules...
If you could roll with any practitioner, dead or alive, who would it be?
If you had to describe Jiu-Jitsu to someone that's never heard of it before in under 5 words, what would those words be?
What has been the most memorable moment you've had on the mats so far?
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.
What got you interested in researching health and striving to achieve the highest physical potential?
What are some simple things people can begin doing to reverse ageing and live optimally?
What health practices do you do on a regular basis and what are the benefits that you have found?
What is "grounding" and how can martial artists and fighters benefit from this practice?
How important is the power of belief when it comes to health?
If a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, MMA Fighter or martial artist recently got injured, what should they do to recover better and faster?
What would you like to say to everyone that has supported you on your journey?
When the journey is over, how would you like to be remembered?
The journey is never over, even when you die here...but I aspire to be like Jesus. If I have any resemblance to what He is, I'll be happy.
If you enjoyed this article, I highly suggest you check out this strength & conditioning coach's functional training for injury prevention & recovery for more effective BJJ exercises.
On top of grounding, you should also consider implementing strategies for creating structure as an athlete as explained by Nattie Boss, a BJJ brown belt or learn more about healthy living in our athletic performance, nutrition, recovery, and wellness articles. Looking to learn more from another Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt? Check out Frank Ungaro's story as he explains how BJJ benefits our communities.