Have at it, grapplers. Here's Part II of our interview of Hannette Staack in collaboration with BJJ Heroes.
A while has passed since we last spoke. At the time, you were one of the favorites to win the World Championships in the first edition of the women’s “black belts only” category at the IBJJF, which unfortunately you had to miss due to injury. How was it watching the tournament from the stands?
I liked a lot! I thought this time would have less women competing, because of this split, but the weight division that I should be in was even bigger than the last edition. I think because a lot of black belts didn’t want to compete because they fear losing to a brown belt. But, with the change, I think it motivates more people to compete, not only at the black belt level, but at the brown belt as well. I loved it! It was a great show with a lot of surprises. Motivated me for the next one.
What did you think of the women’s black belts only division?
Very high level, with more women than I expected. I could watch carefully very good matches. Something that doesn’t happen when I am competing, because I have to be focused on my matches. I think the level is going up every year, people are improving their techniques and, in my opinion, the women competing sometimes are even more fun than the guys ... because they move more and use some different techniques.
And, for those who are not familiar with the events that led to your absence, tell us what happened and what sort of injury you suffered?
I have a torn ACL since 2005, and right after the Panamerican this year, during a warm up in class, I felt my knee popping. Right away, I started icing and taking care of it. But, you know, as a professional athlete, you have to know the time to stop, recover and come back stronger. That’s what
I did. I decided not go to the tournament on my 80% knee, because everybody there is 100%. I didn’t want to take the risk. This is the best way to continue training and competing on a high level and with my 33 years old still being able to train everyday without any major injuries.
You were inducted to IBJJF’s Hall of Fame this year. How did you feel about your incredible achievement and how important do you think it is for the sport to have a Hall of Fame?
It is was an honor to me to be on the top of the list. All this years of training and dedication finally has payed off. When I competed at my first Worlds I was a purple belt competing against purple, brown and black belts all together in one division. They didn’t even have a female open class
division. Sponsorships were rare... Nowadays women in general they have much more exposure and media. With this Hall of Fame, at least people could see the pioneers of our sport like me, Bianca Andrade and others, so we are not aside anymore. People have short memory and things like this are
good to make people remember who we are and how much we dedicate ourselves to the sport growth.
Do you plan on competing at the main tournaments next year?
Yes, my goal is compete at least all the biggest tournaments of the year, like: European, Panamerican, Worlds and, if I receive an invitation, ADCC. Looking forward to competing again. I just love it!!!!
What are your plans for the near future? I hear you have a tour of seminars lined up. Where are you going, are you fully booked yet?
I am focused on my business now. Our projects in Brazil, my students here in Chicago, the schools I am managing here and other projects I am involved with. I have some seminars booked already and some camps as well. I still have a few spots, so if anybody is interested, please contact me as
soon as possible. The e-mail to reach me is: firstname.lastname@example.org
This year you had another Brazil 021 Camp. How did that go, and what changed from last year’s camp?
The Camp was a great success! The was the second year and was even better than the last one. Every year is getting better, because we have the feedback from the people who went to the camp. This way we can improve, adjust the details and make it better every time. We had more activities and more medals as well! So, be ready because next year will be even better and more fun.
And that is all. Thank you for your time once again. Do you have any sponsors you would like to thank?
Thank you guys from BJJ Heroes, my Professor Andre Terencio, my personal trainer Erik Salum, my teammates from Brazil and Chicago, Brazil Combat, Bronx, Shidokan Academy and The trainers Gym (Symmetry).