Hello Fernando, can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello, my name is Fernando Mera Gijon. I’m 29 years old and I am from Badajoz, a city in the west of Spain. I have been training Jiu Jitsu since I was 18 years old. I belong to Crazy Team and I run a training group for the team in my city. I also practice other martial arts such as Judo, Boxing and MMA.
Is it your first time participating in Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship?
Yes it is. This is my first time due to economic reasons, it’s expensive to come here but I always wanted to fight here. I have been competing over the years in national and international competitions, but until now I have not had the opportunity to come to World Pro.
How is your training going leading up to the championship?
I train Jiu Jitsu and Grappling every day. I try to travel to Seville several times a month to the team headquarters, led by my teacher Alberto Gonzalez Otiz, where sparring is stronger and I have the opportunity to fight with other very experienced competitors. In the mornings I train strength and conditioning. I have a personalized training routine which complements competition; in my opinion this is of vital importance, today’s fighters are very well prepared, great athletes, so I always try to complement my Jiu Jitsu with all I can.
How did the sport of Jiu Jitsu impact you on a personal level? Why do you recommend youth to practice the sport?
I remember perfectly the day I started training Jiu Jitsu because I wasn’t interested, I just wanted to practice something like striking combat sports but I tried a class and it immediately caught my attention because of the difficulty of the sport. It seemed so complex to me and there was so much to learn; I decided to invest my time in it and learn everything I could.
Jiu Jitsu is for everyone, it is not only for competitors, it is not only a combat sport, it is personal defense, it is a way to exercise your body in so many ways and improve your health. That is why I recommend the practice of this sport; come to the mat, disconnect, learn, enjoy, increase your confidence, have fun with a healthy group of people and a good atmosphere. I can assure you that it is worth it.
How is your training going leading up to the ADWPJJC?
I focus my training for each competition, coordinating the physical preparation with the technical and sparring training taking into consideration fatigue and breaks based on the date of my fight. It will not be the last time I go to World Pro, I will win now at brown belt and when I get my black belt I will do the same. I still have a long way to go and the best is yet to come.
How do you see Abu Dhabi hosting global jiu-jitsu championships and giving the chance for athletes to compete against the best in the world?
They are doing an excellent job. The Covid-19 situation has been very difficult for everyone, but they have started to work in a very safe way and already are back to organizing competitions around the world.
What I like the most about this federation, and I think is making a big difference, are the cash prizes that they are giving. We are athletes trying to become professional athletes and it is very difficult to find the way to make it possible. It is very motivating for a fighter to know that there is more than a medal, an award for all the effort. At the end of the day, the easiest thing is to go out and fight, but there is a lot of work leading up to it and cash prizes are a very good way for recognize it.
Who influenced you the most in developing your BJJ game?
I could not tell you anyone in particular because I have learnt and I learn from many people. Not only from great masters but also from several colleagues and friends that I have met thanks to competition. It is true that I pay close attention to my current teacher Alberto González because of the great experience he has in competition and because he lives by and for Jiu Jitsu. He is an encyclopedia of Jiu Jitsu , and it does an excellent job day after day. He is an example to follow for me also as a person, I admire and respect him a lot.
Would you like to give any advice to our readers that would help them either on the mat or in their lives?
To train and train! The secret is easy: just spend hours on the mat. Get out of your comfort zone, train in other academies, fight against other people who have a different game than you, put yourself in difficult positions that nobody wants to be in. Be humble, you can learn from everyone and perhaps the most difficult thing, be disciplined! You have to train even when you don’t want to. It is very easy to say that you are tired but you have to be mentally strong, take your gi and your backpack and go to your academy, that’s the only and true secret.