Hello Alessandro, can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Alessandro Tomei and I am 35 years old. I’ve been living in Brazil for 15 years and now I am staying in Italy, maybe for a few months.
When did your Jiu-Jitsu journey begin? How did you find out about BJJ?
I started Jiu-Jitsu in 1998 when I was 14 years old. I found out about Jiu-Jitsu from television, UFC and Royce Gracie, like many people.
You are one of the pioneers in Jiu Jitsu in Italy. Can you compare the Jiu-Jitsu now and then? Where do you see Jiu-Jitsu in the next 10 years?
I am not a pioneer of Jiu-Jitsu in Italy. I started Jiu-Jitsu with Federico Tisi, who is the actual pioneer of Jiu-Jitsu in Italy. When I started BJJ, martial arts were very poor in techniques in Italy. This influenced me to decide to go to Brazil to train and become a professional Jiu-Jitsu fighter. Now, Jiu-Jitsu in Italy is very good compared to 10 years ago. The level is very high, there are a lot of good Jiu-Jitsu fighters in Italy, like Simone Franceschini, Luca Anacoreta, Marco Bancone, Luca Caracho, and other good fighters. I think that Jiu-Jitsu in Italy will continue growing in the next 10 years.
Who influenced you the most in developing your game?
The person who influenced me the most in developing my game was my teacher Ricardo Vieira. I stayed in Brazil for 16 years and trained with him. He taught me my game and a lot of concepts and different kinds of Jiu-Jitsu, not techniques. Ricardo and Leo Vieira have a different kind of Jiu-Jitsu and they don’t focus on the techniques but the concepts.
Who are other BJJ players that you admire, and why?
A BJJ player that I admire is Ricardo Vieira, who is the best for me. And Leo Vieira his brother. Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro has also influenced me a lot and Leonardo Santos, from the same academy as Vitor Shaolin. These four have influenced me. Now, in modern Jiu-Jitsu, Rodolfo Vieira has influenced me to put more pressure on my game. For me, Fernando “Terere” is the best competitor of Jiu-Jitsu of all time.
What do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies outside of Jiu-Jitsu?
When I don’t train Jiu-Jitsu, I do weight lifting and bodybuilding. So, my hobby outside Jiu-Jitsu is bodybuilding.
What is your favorite position? What about submission?
My favorite position in Jiu-Jitsu is butterfly guard and knee cut pass. When it comes to submissions, I like the guillotine, which is one of the best positions of my teacher, Ricardo Vieira. I also like the rear-naked choke.
Tell us more about your daily routines which help you maintain your condition. Do you have a diet?
I usually wake up, make breakfast, and go to the gym. I do my conditioning and afterward Jiu Jitsu, which is usually a competition class. I have one or two hours of sparring and drills. In the afternoon, I do some drills. In the evening, but not every day, I have a light training session. I have started a diet with Pierpaolo Barbieri, who lives in Sardinia and he is my nutritionist. I started with the diet because I want to get ready for the European Championships where I want to compete. Last year I competed in only one tournament because I had a lot of injuries. Last year in Brazil I fought in many championships, but this year I fought only in Master Europe in IBJJF.
What is your advice for the people who practice BJJ nowadays? Any tip that can help people on the mat or real life.
My advice for everyone who trains Jiu-Jitsu is to focus on training and only on the training. Don’t worry about your development or that you might not be good. If you train every day, your Jiu-Jitsu will develop by itself. You need a lot of passion for Jiu-Jitsu. When on the mat, train and respect your partner and teacher. In real life, my advice is the same: respect everyone and don’t use Jiu-Jitsu for fights in the street. Train and be a good person.