(English) Nuno Dias about martial arts and mental training during the corona crises

Martial arts are more than sport, fighting, or self-defense, the martial arts are first and foremost about life. About finding what is at the essence of your own being and expressing that essence. Mindset is the key for success.

Nuno Dias

Nuno Dias is one of Portugal’s best fighters in Karate, BJJ, Jujutsu and Judo. In 2019, he won a gold medal in the BJJ European Championships, and he was named Athlete of the Year in Portugal. In 2018, he won the World Championship in Shukokai Karate, a style in which he has an impressive 11 previous titles. Diaz is the only portugese who has participated in three WKF finals: Paris Open, Rabat Open and Germany Open. Aside from BJJ and Karate, he has won gold medals in the Portugal National Championships in Jujutsu Fighting System och Newaza. Alongside his fighting career, he coaches Karate and Judo, and during the coronavirus pandemic he has been teaching online classes through the video communicating platform Zoom. Find out more in the interview below.

Can you tell us a little about the Corona-situation in Portugal?

– Here in Portugal everything is closed including gyms and dojos. Only the shops that sell essential products are open (Supermarket or Pharmacies). At the moment, compared with other countries, we do not have many people sick and the death rate is not high. For exercise we are allowed to use an area of 1 km near our house. We are only allowed to go out for groceries or exercise one person at the time.

How is it affecting clubs, practitioners and the martial arts community in Portugal?

– The clubs are closed and no one is training. All the martial arts gyms stopped their activity. Activities like Karate, Kickboxing and Judo the coaches are teaching online classes. We all know that for striking arts it’s easier to teach online. As for grappling arts it’s hard, but most people give physical exercises instead of technical ones. I think that the instructors are reinvented themselves.

Can you tell us a little about the ”online training” you’ve started via Zoom?

– Well, some people asked me if I can teach online classes in order to keep in touch with the students and motivate them to do exercise in these new circumstances. Some international clubs from Israel also ask me to teach some online karate competition classes. It has been an amazing experience with almost 100 athletes per session. I like to be connected with the athletes and their coaches in order to promote the art. For me it’s a pleasure to help people to have better physical and mental health through sport and specifically through martial arts in these defying times.

In Sweden a lot of Martial Arts clubs have been forced to shut down their businesses, and some athletes have started training in isolation. Do you have tips on how and what martial artists can train in isolation and still work on their game?

– I teach Karate, Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. Martial arts are more than sport, fighting, or self-defense, the martial arts are first and foremost about life. About finding what is at the essence of your own being and expressing that essence. Mindset is the key for success. Besides the physical aspects I think the athletes have the opportunity now to work there mental strength more than ever. I suggest that they analyze their previous fights or bouts and try to understand what their flaws were. Study the game of the adversaries in order to improve the tactic game. Make yourself stronger by improving your confidence, mental strength and tactic. Being isolated, it is hard to improve your technique without partners. But you can train the physical and mental aspects of your sport or art. Know yourself, know your opponents and know the game.

Most Martial Arts competitions around the world are closed. Do you have any tips on how fighters can keep their motivation up?

– Normally people who love and practice martial arts are somewhat familiar with training by themselves. In every art you can do shadow drills or solo drills. So when you feel down, set a goal and work towards that goal. Imagine something you really want to achieve. As for me I just want to keep my physical form so when I get back to the gym I don’t feel lazy.

Hopefully, this situation will soon be over and clubs and dojos can open back up. What is the first thing you want to do when dojos can be reopened and things are back to normal?

– I really miss sparring. I will do some rounds in the sports that I practice. I will roll in BJJ, throw in Judo and strike in some karate dojo fights.

In Sweden, a lot of people in isolation are watching Netflix and Youtube. Do you have any favorite martial arts movies or Youtube-clips?

– When I was kid I saw all martial arts movies. Van Damme, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and Mr. Miyagi were my favorite movie stars. Now I like to see epic movies or series such as Vikings or Gladiators. Nevertheless I think martial arts movies are very inspiring for those who want to start martial arts. As for clips I follow MMA, BJJ, Judo and Karate around the world. I always try to keep up to date so I follow the best in each area.

Do you want to read more about  Martial arts in the times of the coronavirus? Read our article about Mike Wall (Jujutsu, BJJ). You can read all the Swedish articles about the corona crises here.

Håkan Gustafsson

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