Q: Why did you
begin to be a teacher of Muay Thai?
started Muay Thai when I had 13 years old. At that time I
suffered an accident while riding my bike. My leg was run over
by a car. I started Muay Thai to rehabilitate my leg.
Q: Muay Thai
for rehabilitation? The cure seemed like worse than the injury!
Fedrigo: Ha Ha
ha, I guess so. After that I started to really like Muay Thai
training and have continued doing it since then. Muay Thai was
first introduced into Brasil, in the city of Curitiba, by a man
named Nerio Boruges de Souza [spelling may be
incorrect--impossible to tell from the Japanese katakana].
He was a guy who went to Thailand to learn Muay Thai and then
came back to Brasil. At first he spread it to Curitiba. When
Nerio retired, I took over and began teaching.
Muay Thai getting popular now in Brasil?
Cuurently, there is a Brasil-Muay Thai federation, and it is
recognized as a legal sport.
Q: No fooling?
Are Muay Thai competitions held frequently in Brasil now?
almost nothing. But in Curitiba we hold a competition
named the Storm Muay Thai World from time to time. A new
talent enters the scene and can test his technique. The new
talent is discovered there.
Q: I see.
Please tell me about the Chute Boxe Academy. When was it
When I was 17, I began teaching in an open space of the town. At
that time is was a tough period. First I taught my friends from
school. Then their friends came and then my students were
increasing. So I started teaching in a sports club. In 1980 I
opened my own academy.
"Chute Boxe" means "Muay Thai" in Brasil,
that's right. It doesn't denote a special school or style.
Q: In the
beginning you were teaching only Muay Thai?
Q: When did
your athletes begin competing in Vale Tudos?
Fedrigo: . Our
athletes had been entering Muay Thai competitions in Brasil and
also entered the competition in America in 1988. They won the
titles in a lot of competitions. Around that time in Brasil,
Vale Tudos began to get popular. I thought it was a good
battlefield for our fighters. But for those fights, we need to
have techniques for the ground too. So our fighters started
training jiu-jitsu. Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu is the perfect
Q: What was the
first Vale Tudos competition your students participated in
1991, there was a big confrontation between chute boxe and
capoeira fighters here in Curitiba. So we decided to do a
tournament. We won all the fights.
Q: Was it
Fedrigo: No. It
was held in a gymnasium. It was the first Vale Tudo in Curitiba,
so it attracted a tremendous amount of attention. The tickets
were sold out.
Q: When did
Chute Boxe fighters begin winning in international competitions?
1996 there was an event held in Sao Paulo. Pelé vs.
Macaco. Vanderlei made his Vale Tudo debut in that event. Only
one week before the fight, he was asked to enter the fight.
Nevertheless, he entered to Absolute [no weight limit] division.
His weight was only 85kg, though. It was surprising. Moreover
his opponent had 102 kgs. It was terrifically exciting
fight with blood gushing everywhere. The fans really enjoyed it.
I think it was Vanderlei's most violent fight. Vanderlei won but
his finger bone was broken and his eyelid was cut and couldn't
continue in the tournament. His opponent got his head bone
broken, and rushed directly to the hospital.
Q: That sounds
like Vanderlei, for sure. What a great event it was! Did
you recommend him to enter that fight, or was it his own
came to me and said, "teacher, I want to enter this
tournament....". I said "no way, Vanderlei,
you haven't trained enough". He said, "no
that's wrong. I'm confident. Enter me into the no weight limit
division". "Ok then", I said "it's you
who will be fighting. Do what you want". But we were
surprised by Vanderlei's wonderful fight. I didn't notice that
he was such an explosive fierce dog until that fight (laugh).
Q: ha ha ha...
a fierce dog! But then, what is the secret of Chute Boxe's
success in the Vale Tudo world? A special way of training, or a
Fedrigo: I am a
Muay Thai coach, and I also have a purple belt in Jiu-jitsu.
I have a long experience bringing up fighters for Vale Tudo. I
work with my fighters six days a week, from Monday to Saturday,
from 10 in the morning until 12. And at night we do
weights, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. The key to our team's success
is that the team has a strong team cohesion. We have been doing
it together for 12 years, and we ball trust one another. It's
like a family. That is an important point, I think.. The
fighters only have to think about training and fighting. I
support them in every way so that they can concentrate
exclusively on their fights.
Q: .It is a
nice environment for the fighters, isn't it?
Yeah. We take kakutogi very seriously. When Chute Boxe fighters
go into fights, they aim absolutely to win and don't ignore
any preparations for that. Of course, no one is unbeatable, but
we always step forward to get victory in our hands.
many of your fighters are now capable of successfully fighting?
we have ten guys who would who would perform a good fight in any
contests. But now I am working on to increase the number
of members on our real fighting unit. There are eight Chute Boxe
academies, and about 2,000 guys training. So we have a full
of "reserve army" of Chute Boxe fighters.
Q: In Japan
there is a kind of kakutogi with a similar name to Chute Boxe,
called "shoot boxing", a kind of kickboxing where
joint-locks from stand-up, and throwing are permitted. Have you
heard about it?
This is the first I've heard about it. Japan is a place where a
lot of kakutogi were born. It is interesting to see that
there are a lot of competitions that we don't know about.
Q: Are you
thinking about sending any of your fighters to shoot boxing?
sounds tremendously interesting. I am waiting for an offer.
Q: How about
Fedrigo: K-1 is
also a fantastic event. Vanderlei might be in K-1 in the near
future. He has contract exclusively with Pride now, and also he
wants to climb up further to the top of the Vale Tudo world.
But K-1 isn't a dream that can't be realized [jitsugen fukano
yumei ja nai]
Q: But the K-1
fighters are all big. Some are super heavyweights who have has
much as 120 kgs. [264 lbs.] Do you think Vanderlei can
beat fighters like that?
Fedrigo: If we
go into K-1, we'll do some special training. Vanderlei can put
on weight up to about 98 kg [215.6 lbs.] while he keeps the
condition he has now. At this weight, I believe he can
fight with the super heavyweights.
Q: Really? I'd
like to see him fight [Jerome] Le Banner or [Peter] Aerts.
By the way, I heard that the Chute Boxe team will go to Thailand
Fedrigo: We are
thinking about going to Bangkok to train for one week, after
Pride 14. We got an invitation from one of the famous gyms in
Q: Getting back
to the previous subject, did you put Vanderlei through any
special training before the Sakuraba fight?
Always the same training for every opponent. However, we started
wrestling training several months before the fight, with a coach
named "Hayman" [Raimon?]. He was living in America and
learned a lot of techniques but returned to Curitiba. Thanks to
that, the wrestling skills of our fighters has improved and
become stronger. As for vale tudo, we are far from
perfection in technique. But thanks to wrestling drills
Vanderlei's ground technique has shot through the roof.
Really. When Sakuraba started firing at Vanderlei on standing,
did that surprise you?
Fedrigo: I was
very surprised. And he caught Vanderlei a few times. But
Vanderlei has a strong chin. It was amazing because Sakuraba is
never overpowered by any opponent. But for me, I thought
Vanderlei would win by quick KO. Vanderlei was in super good
condition and I knew that Sakuraba probably couldn't withstand
Q: Well, you
were predicting a victory by KO weren't you?
Fedrigo: I was
sure of it.
Q: How about a
Fedrigo: If a
rematch happens, without a doubt, Vanderlei will KO Sakuraba one
more time. Sakuraba will never be able to defeat Vanderlei. [GTR
note: The rematch has now been scheduled for the next Pride
event in July.]
Q: Is Vanderlei
expected to make an appearance in Pride 14?
don't know yet. But it seems that Pelé will be making his
Pride debut in the next Pride. Pelé is a fantastic
fighter. I think he will put on a great show.