Interview: Arilson Nunes, MMA Fighter

Arilson Nunes started his fighting career as a capoeirista in his hometown Gojão in the state of Paraíba in Brazil. At the age of 16 he made his way to Rio de Janeiro and started Muay Thai. After a work related pause he continued to train with the MMA Team of Nova União, which produced fighters of such dimension as UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. Since then he did not stop training. He lately returned to his homestate to inspire more people for the benefits of martial arts.

CK: How did you get into contact with martial arts?

I always liked to move and was searching for something to do, until I found a capoeira project which the prefecture of my town had installed. I liked Capoeira a lot, but when I had to move to Rio de Janeiro for work, I had to stop after a while. Instead I started training Muay Thai. I always wanted to do something with more contact, something more competitive. Today I train and fight MMA and hopefully I will get to the point to start at a major event like those of Shooto Brazil.

CK: What did martial arts change in your life?

It changed everything! My life is completely different today: I go to training, return to my home, I try to eat good and try to live a life … let’s put it this way … a healthier life. I try to be a better person. Not only in the academy, but outside of it as well, on the streets, you know.

CK: What do you differently now?

When you train martial arts you start to treat people in a different way. That’s what you can learn in martial arts fights. You learn to stay calm, you won’t search for a fight on the streets, but stay relaxed. Thank god, I never got in a difficult situation, no the least because of my training. I recommend everybody to engange in martial arts, it will have an impact in your life, concerning your work, your health your physical level, you will live a healthier and more active life.

CK: What happens to you, when you fight?

I like what what happens in the ring. When you get there the adrenaline consumes you, but you end up liking it! You want to go there again, you know. I think this is the most awesome thing. There also is a point where you feel nothing at all, you don’t have any emotion, you only feel the adrenaline.

CK: But you still have to adapt to the situation?

Because of the adrenaline, there is no way, you end up not doing what you trained, you know? You are prepared for this! In MMA you train everything: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, which both are the basis, and you train other martial arts depending on your background, be it Tae Kwon Do, capoeira or else. Capoeira helped me a lot for example. When I started training Muay Thai, I already could throw good kicks and when I had my first fight, I didn’t forget the Capoeira. I escaped the kicks of my opponent with an esquiva [a defensive move of the Capoeira Regional], you know.

CK: What about the other fighters in that moment?

They are very well prepared for this as well, but this is the way. You have to prepared for everything, you have to have to test yourself and try to get better. You have to get out of your comfort zone to get professional.

CK: What are your plans there for the future?

I already had fights in Muay Thai and MMA, unfortunately I lost my last fight, but that does not disencourage me. I’ve trained four years at Nova União now. It was more like a family to me than just a club. Everybody was helping each other, it was my second home as I like to say. I would like to start a professional career with in martial arts.

I want to return to my hometown to give lessons there. There is nothing there except Capoeira and I think it would be good to have some Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu there. When I was living there when I was smaller there was martial arts in television but not a place to train for me. I want to change that for the better!