By TXMMA Staff (Felix Rodriguez and Nathan Stolzer)
Alvarez BJJ’s Daniel Alvarez talks in depth about what they do that makes them successful
ARLINGTON, TX, January 9, 2014 – Today we continue our interview series with Arlington-based black belt competitor and coach Daniel Alvarez. As the owner of his academy Alvarez BJJ, Mr. Alvarez has lit a path for others to follow in the last few years both individually and with his team success. He and his crew continue to travel the world competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as proud representatives of the lone star state on the medal podiums.
In the first part of our interview with Daniel Alvarez he spoke about his own competition attitudes, thoughts and goals. Now in part two he talks about what it’s like coaching one of the busiest and most well-traveled teams in the state of Texas, some of the things they do that makes them successful, and what he sees as the future for his team.
TXMMA Interview – Daniel Alvarez (Alvarez BJJ)
TXMMA – What sets your school apart from your competitors, what makes Alvarez BJJ stand out?
Daniel Alvarez – I would say the goal setting in my academy. I’m a very, very organized person. I’m really heavy on the eating and the taking care of your body. I just feel like it goes along with jiu-jitsu and I feel like every jiu-jitsu practitioner should do that even though they don’t. For example in my kids program I have six and seven year old kids eating egg whites and oatmeal for breakfast, compared to if they were eating hash browns and sausage links or something like that. I like to tell the adults the same thing. Most academies have weight-loss success stories but I feel like we have a tremendous amount of those. Right now I have two guys who were 330 pounds and now they’re down to about 230. One guy has been with us for a few years and the other guy has been with us for a year. It’s just about how I set about the goals and keep persistent with it. It’s not like I say “Hey guys let’s set a goal for a year” and we all forget about it by March. You have to be there, not just relay that information, as well. I think that’s what sets our academy apart from the others. Whether it’s jiu-jitsu focused or fitness related.
TXMMA – You and your students seem to be placing at all the major tournaments. We covered some of your success in the first part of the interview. Now who are some of the students you’ve trained that we should be looking out for in the future and why?
Daniel Alvarez – My kids, I would say my teens. I have some teenagers who are getting ready to breakthrough and be more on the adult circuit instead of the juvenile circuit, Such as, Austin Kells, Tristan Sanchez, Justin Rebolloso, Shawn Coughlan, those are a few of the teens that are actively competing. Those are a few of the teens. I have a few kids that are teenagers such as John Gloria – he is about to 16 come next year and will be able to compete in IBJFF, which he has been wanting to for a while. So I’m looking forward to him making some noise in the juvenile division. Of course I have my usual ones, like my daughter Danielle, and Miriam Villar, who got her blue belt this summer. I expect them all to keep doing what they’re doing. Rob Crossley and Vin Abadie too. They just won NOGI worlds. Rob Crossley just won Gi worlds. He had five matches and finished everyone one by submission. I don’t just have one or two, I have so many I know I didn’t list them all, those were just the ones off the top of my head.
TXMMA – What do you have planned for 2014 as far as your career as a grappler and coach goes?
Daniel Alvarez – For my career, this year is going to be hard to beat, but I thought that last year was going to be hard to beat, so I’ll give it another run. We haven’t purchased our tickets yet but we’re trying to see if we can make it to the European circuit and start the year of with that and go to the cities I missed last year, like Atlanta. My body still feels good, I got a slight injury that is keeping me just rolling on the mat but I feel good and my team is traveling, so I’ll probably get out and go do what I did this year. As far my team, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, I think as a team we won eight team titles this year, I expect to keep that type of thing to going in 2014, I expect my team to win the first tournament next year.
TXMMA – What advice would you give a white belt student who is not doing so well in training to motivate them to continue?
Daniel Alvarez – With the white belts, we have a lot just like other academies. I look for the body language. We have a beginner classes where we watch the new guys and if we see someone getting caught a lot, or their facial expression or their body language says something we’ll go up to them and let them know we’ll answer any question they have and make sure they know that it’s just part of the process of jiu-jitsu. Like that’s the beauty of jiu-jitsu, it’s not just something that is easy, you’re going to have to pay your dues. Especially in the beginning it’s rough. So most important thing is to ask questions. You have to not be afraid to ask questions, so you can understand why certain things are happening. If you ask questions and get the help you need, the easier your progression will be in jiu-jitsu. Ask your instructor, and even higher-ranking guys. If you need more in-depth instruction look at private lessons. I’m always sticking around after class answering questions, it’s just something we do.
TXMMA – In your opinion should BJJ students train in gi and no-gi right away or should they first advance in rank with the gi and then train without it?
Daniel Alvarez – I think both, I have my students start out in both, we’re a primarily gi school, we only have one day out of the week no-gi. Thursday morning and Thursday nights are no-gi. I think it’s good to train both, if something was ever to happen in a confrontation, new guys won’t be out of their elements. Most people in the summer walk around with a t-shirt and shorts on, this relates to no-gi, now that it’s winter your jeans and a light sweater that represents the gi. I think that a five step armbar and a sit up sweep , certain sweeps and certain submissions are the same no-gi and gi. It’s good to be exposed to the nogi as well
TXMMA – What is your favorite thing about your life as a bjj coach and your least favorite?
Daniel Alvarez – My favorite thing, like I said earlier is all the people I meet and places I get to go. I love traveling and meeting new guys. Going to the places I’ve never been, like Abu Dhabi, Europe and Brazil, Tokyo and Rome, but my biggest accomplishment by far is watching my kids reach their goals like watching a kid win a NAGA world, seeing their face light up, it’s pretty cool to be able to see that happen. Seeing guys in their forties putting in work against the twenty year olds, there is no better feeling than watching people reach their goals. It’s priceless. My least favorite thing is seeing people where they just try to take what you got just because they want to but they don’t want to work for it. People trying to undercut you; it’s life though. When people come to your academy and they’re not really good people. It kind of sucks when you train with someone and make friends with someone and you want to keep that, and it doesn’t work out. It’s life though, it’s a different thing in martial arts…. In Jiu-Jitsu you have to be as the instructor and give everything you got. Some guys feel like it’s “I am paying you for a service thing.”
TXMMA – Do you have anything else you would like to share with our readers or thank a sponsor?
Daniel Alvarez – I don’t have any sponsors anything like that. I appreciate all the students all the students at the academy. They make Alvarez BJJ what it is. I have a great staff, office staff and coaching staff. I have hands down the best coaches in the area, and they are great with the kids and the adults. They know the technique and they’re just a great help. I’ve been able to do the things I did this year and travel as much as I did because of my staff that helps me. It’s definitely something I’m grateful for. Big shout to them and the TXMMA crew for getting all the information out there for us to have.
For more information on Alvarez BJJ check out their face book page or their main website, www.alvarezbjj.com.