Controlling body and mind
November 19, 2010
Alvaro Romano has trained some of the most famous people in the world. what he does exactly is a mystery to many, but a revelation to those who revel in his tutelage.
The master and inventor of Ginastica Natural, a form of jiu jitsu ground movements, has made his way to Park City this week to certify Mike Diaz of Park City Jiu Jitsu as part of Romano’s training program that is growing rapidly worldwide. Romano has about 20 certified understudies in the United States.
A 54-year-old Brazilian native, Romano is no stranger to the spotlight.
He’s trained the likes of UFC star Royce Gracie and his brother Rickson. He’s trained current welterweight UFC title holder George St. Pierre. He’s trained the Brazilian national soccer team.
And on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, Romano will be hosting an open public seminar at Park City Jiu Jitsu (2750 S. Rasmussen Rd. No. 104) for anyone interested in his teachings.
Ginastica Natural started as part of Romano’s education. He has a post-graduate degree in physical education and recreation and taught physical therapy classes at the Estacio de Sa University in Rio de Janeiro.
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So what is it exactly that Romano specializes in that is becoming a worldwide phenomenon?
"This is natural exercise," Romano said. "It’s the needed different forms to train for everything."
Ginastica Natural is a combination of ground movements that include different techniques in stretching, flexibility and, most importantly, breathing. It’s about constant movement, according to Romano; about the ability to channel strength through one’s own body and improving your basic physical condition.
"Everybody loves it," Romano said. "It’s all about mobility and control of the body."
How Romano made his way to Park City is a story in itself.
Romano and Diaz share a personal friend in Pedro Sauer, a famous Brazilian jiu jitsu master and one of Diaz’s teachers. Romano and Diaz were able to connect and, before Romano heads out to San Diego, Calif., next week for a seminar, he decided to make a pit stop in Utah.
Romano lives off and on in Rio de Janeiro and San Diego when he’s not flying around the world certifying folks in Ginastica Natural, giving speeches or training some of the world’s most famous athletes.
His son, Raphael, is currently spreading the word in Europe, where Ginastica is growing by leaps and bounds.
Putting a finger on what exactly Romano teaches is difficult for the common person. But to Romano, it’s simple.
"When I started, I thought to myself, what’s the best way to protect myself and my body?" he said. "I just started my research; I’d go to one place alone and just train."
After 25 years of hard work, things have panned out for the Brazilian.
"I put this name out in Brazil. I created this name a long time ago," said a smiling Romano. He looks at himself as someone who can improve the physical well-being of people who take his classes.
To the surprise of yoga experts and gym rats, Ginastica is a whole different game when it comes to physical activity.
"I have a lot of combinations of exercise," Romano said. "But every day is the same. It’s not easy."
An avid surfer and tri-athlete, Romano is able to do things with his body that many can’t dream of doing. According to Ramona Stark, who helps run Park City Jiu Jitsu, anywhere he goes people try and come in and best the master in jiu jitsu.
"A lot of people try," laughed Stark. "I don’t know if any succeed."
Romano’s goal in using the body to people’s advantages is straightforward.
"I want to improve the quality of life," he said.