Interview with Alejandro Iglesias, head of Shoot Union Academy, Spain conducted at ADCC
Carl Fisher : What is your position in your organisation?
Alejandro Iglesias : I have five academies in Spain; now I starting to open five more with the possibility of another two. I have one central academy in Valencia and we only have Vale Tudo on offer here nothing else. In Spain we have two instructors for Muay Thai recognised by the Thailand government and I am one of them.
Who are your best fighters at the Academy?
Alejandro Iglesias : Alejandro Aspas for one, he is world champion in Pankration and I have six world champions in kick boxing and full contact. We sent a fighter to Birmingham to fight Kash Gill, the kickboxer and my fighter beat him for the world title. I have Chinto who is three times WKA champion and was the first Spanish fighter to knock out a Thai fighter. I have a fighter Boro, who is 131 kilos and 64" and a powerful and courageous fighter. My number one objective in my academies is to create a good vibe and atmosphere and have no bad faces when they train.
How did you get to know about the sheikh?
Alejandro Iglesias : My true opinion about the sheikh is that he is a very technical fighter himself. People think he is good because he is the sheikh and they say so out of politeness. Not so - if you see him train then you can see he is very technical in his own right and he has an open mind and trains in all disciplines.
Where did Alejandro become champion?
Alejandro Iglesias : In the Pankration championships which is an Olympic recognised sport by the Greek government. In the ancient Olympics there were three recognised sports, pale, pugilato and pankration; pale is now the freestlye wrestling, pugilato is the boxing and are both Olympic sports and the Greek government now want the pankration recognised as such once more as the pankration is a combination of the pale and pugilato and they want Pankration to become the exhibition for the 2004 Olympics.
What is your training background?
Alejandro Iglesias : Brazilian Ju Jitsu; I am also a black belt in Japanese Ju Jitsu and after I travelled to the States after UFC in 93 I trained with Reylson Gracie and that was my first contact with Gracie Ju Jitsu. After that I returned to Spain and went on to Sao Paulo and trained with Pedro Hemeterio who is a legend over there. He is 78 years old and has trained Gracie Ju Jitsu with Helio for 59 years and has had over 60 vale tudo fights without loss. Together with Carlson Gracie they challenged everybody to fight them while they had one hand behind their backs and still they had no takers. He teaches form morning til night to this day - Pedro then gave me Helios number and I called him and I went to his house in Rio and he invited me to live in house and it was a big honour in my life and he has the most impact on my life in training. I trained and lived with them and read all the books and saw all the photos and videos about the Gracies. I was then introduced to Robin Gracie who told me he wanted to come to Europe, so he came to my house and taught at my Academy and after he went to Barcelona and now has an Academy and hopefully a bright future as well.
Well I will leave it there for now - I can see you are very busy. Thanks for your time.
Alejandro Iglesias : A pleasure Carl
Carl Fisher - "The European voice of MMA News "
posted 26 April 2001
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