Roberto "Gordo" Correa is known as the creator of the half-guard. Here he tells us of his posture leading up to tournaments and remembers one of the last fights he fought professionally. He also remembers the day he faced one of Helio Gracie's grandsons. Injured and over 30, he fought Renner Gracie, who was debuting at black belt.
On competition mindset:
“In my mind it's always been like this, and a wrestling teacher friend of mine reminded me of that not long ago. To me, competition day is a happy day, it was a day where I was gonna practice what I like and externalize what I've been training. But this friend put my thought into words. He said that competition day is a day of celebration. Sometimes people get nervous before a competition, but it is a day of celebration; you go there to celebrate. Of course everybody wants the win, but, regardless, you are there because you want to be -- no one is forcing you to compete. So you go to the competition to celebrate what you did throughout your training.”
On fighting Amaury and Renner:
“I did fights I remember that left a big impression, regardless of the result. There was the fight with Amaury; I was a 22-year-old boy, had just gotten the black belt. I went to fight with Amaury in a special match; it was 30 minutes long. This fight left a big impression. I had several fights with Wallid; I had a historic fight with Zé Mario, some fights with Saulo. But there is one fight a lot of people ask me about, maybe my last fight at a professional level. It was at the 2003 Pan; I was the heavyweight adult champion. And after that my knees got much worse and I slowed the pace; I only fought in one more adults' championship afterwards, and then I began fighting in the masters'. This fight was with Renner Gracie.
“We had rolled prior, but training is training, and fighting is fighting. When the fight started, he choked me; I defended, and he got an advantage. He came to choke me again; he has a very strong guard, and to defend against the choke I put my hand on his arm, and he closed a triangle. He has long legs -- he's maybe 6-foot-5. Two minutes in, he closed the triangle; I went six minutes with the triangle locked in. I remember the people yelling, and the packed gymnasium. No problem, but I thought about losing to an up-and-coming boy -- it was Renner's first black belt competition. With a minute and a half to go, I managed to open the triangle, come out and land in the open guard. Then I stopped for 20 to 25 seconds to take a breath, but in a good passing position that I have. When someone yelled there was one minute to go, I said, now's the time to pass! So I sank his leg, passed the guard, got to the side; the ref gave the three points -- I remember going to the head and wrapping the arm. A strong position of mine is the kimura from the north-south. Then they yelled 20 seconds, 15 seconds, and I said, if the fight is won, then I won't sabotage it. So I stayed in the position; the ref gave me the win.”
#jiujitsu #bjj #brazilianjiujitsu