In Jiu Jitsu it doesn't matter if you... Angel Cicero's BJJ Story

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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Angel Cicero

Full Name: Angel Cicero

Age: 39

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 Academy

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.

Boxing Gloves

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.

Angel Cicero BJJ Professor

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?

No doubt

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?

Angel Cicero BJJ Training In a Gi

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. 

Mathias Ribeiro Team!

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?

I've rolled with so many great ones already! And I've actually rolled with my favourite one of all times, which is Rafa Mendes (@mendesbros). One that I admire a lot now but I haven't rolled with yet is Mikey Musumeci (@mikeymusumeci).
 

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?

Angel Cicero BJJ Training Partners

Try to make me tap...
 

What has been the most memorable moment you've had on the mats so far?

When you submit or put to sleep a World Champion is great (it's happened to me more than once...hehe), but most memorable I would say when I got bronze in Pan Ams as a brown belt adult.
 
My semifinal was tied in points and advantages and last ten seconds I did something that should have taken me to the final but the referee got it wrong. I could have felt disappointed (which I did), but also opened up my mind to the realization that there were 3 people in the World at my level, no more. It helped me stop putting limits on what I could accomplish.
 

What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?

Angel Cicero Inspiring Purple Belts in BJJ

I've been inspired and motivated by many people, which has greatly helped me in my life, so why not give of myself? Karma babe!
 

Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.

Life is hard! I've gone through plenty of hard times, and Jiu-Jitsu is a constant in my life that keeps me grounded. In Jiu-Jitsu it doesn't matter if you are black or white, rich or poor, man or woman, old or young.
 
Angel Cicero Training BJJ
 
Nothing matters because we are a great family, and you can leave all your troubles outside of the mat and be happy. Heck, it doesn't even matter if you are in jail!
 
Where Would You Be Right Now If You Didn't Discover Jiu Jitsu? Dead or in Jail... | Alex Baker's Story
 

What got you interested in researching health and striving to achieve the highest physical potential?

About 10 years ago I was in a lot of pain on my joints, taking a lot of ibuprofen and my health was deteriorating. I wasn't eating well either. I said "no more" and just started to gain knowledge.
 
Knowledge is the key to everything. In health, there is a lot of misinformation coming from everywhere, and the only cure for that is research and knowledge. Don't ever stop learning more. Our limit comes when we stop learning. 
 

What are some simple things people can begin doing to reverse ageing and live optimally?

Stop putting toxins inside of you, eat things that are alive and clean, and do #grounding (#earthing). And of course, don't put limits in your mind. If you think you're gonna live to 80 or 90 years old, you're probably gonna do that or less. What if you think you're gonna live 200 years, or 300, or 1000?
 

What health practices do you do on a regular basis and what are the benefits that you have found?

Besides eating as healthy as possible I would say getting grounded is one of the most unknown secrets to most people. Go watch "The Earthing Movie" on Youtube and you'll understand a little bit more...
 
 

What is "grounding" and how can martial artists and fighters benefit from this practice?

The basic concept is that our bodies produce free-radicals to bond with injured tissue (which happens more often than we realize) to flush it away. But because of the way we live nowadays (insulated) the free-radicals keep working when they should not. Free-radicals are positively charged particles, and unless they are neutralized the will keep on bonding with healthy tissue, which brings about chronic inflammation, the source of most health problems.
Training BJJ on The Grass
 
Grounding is putting yourself in contact with a steady flow of electrons that happens on the surface of the Earth at any time, which are negatively charged particles, and which neutralize all excess free-radicals. That's the simple explanation. "The Earthing Movie" goes deeper in showing all benefits, research, etc. 
 

How important is the power of belief when it comes to health?

I would say the most important thing. Nothing is possible without faith, and faith comes from belief. One important detail is the jump from belief to faith.
 

If a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, MMA Fighter or martial artist recently got injured, what should they do to recover better and faster?

It depends on the injury of course. But I would say, find the best person to treat your injury, eat healthily and get grounded!
 

What would you like to say to everyone that has supported you on your journey?

I am extremely grateful to God for putting in front of me all people who have had an influence in my life, both the good and the bad. Those who have supported me, have done their job for me to praise God because of them.
 
Angel Cicero Sunshine
 

When the journey is over, how would you like to be remembered?

Journey's End (Road)

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.


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