Meet Sensei Fabio
- Stoke Newington News
Our Portuguese Sensei has not been with us very long, but already he is an integral part of TMAP. Let's find out a little more about him.
- How long have you been an instructor at TMAP Swiss Cottage?
- Why did you start Martial Arts?
Sports have always been a big part of my life. In Portugal, I used to play football professionally and do the traditional Jiu-Jitsu. When I moved to the UK, I was searching for a new form of martial arts to do, but as I was working two jobs - a waiter in the morning and a hospitality manager in the afternoon, I never had the time. I decided to stop this way of life (for my sanity) and find a new path, which is when I found TMAP. For the first time in the UK, I am finally doing something I love.
- Why do you love kickboxing?
Kickboxing is good for stress, for your sanity (!), discipline. It is a sport and I love all sports.
- What classes do you teach?
All of them!
- What is your favourite class to teach and what do you love best about teaching?
i. Little Monkeys 5-7 year-olds. I was a football goalkeeper in Portugal and I used to teach the youngest teams as well and really enjoyed it.
ii. Adult Beginners. You can push the beginners and sometimes you can introduce them to advanced senior techniques and you can use this to excite and motivate them.
- How would you describe your teaching style and what do you think you do really well as a Sensei?
I can and I want to be a better teacher. As part of that I am trying to improve my English, but generally, I just try to be myself. Sometimes I am serious, sometimes I am a clown. I do not want the kids to feel like coming to the Dojo is like being at school where their Sensei is being too strict. On the other hand, I do not want the parents and kids to think that coming to the Dojo is like playing in the park where they can do as they please. I want them to have that balance that if they do well, at the same time, they can have fun. I try to make sure that they go home with something new, even if it is one movement. I want to make sure that what they are learning here, they can use it for the rest of their lives.
- Do you have a favourite teaching moment?
In each class, I love the warm up. I try to do different things. Even if I am teaching adults, I sometimes get them to warm up the way the Little Monkeys would. I try to teach them that, yes we are here to work, but warm up can be fun too.
My favourite memory happened around Christmas time. I was new and learning to teach at that time and I led a Little Monkeys 5-7 class. After the class, a father of one of the Little Monkeys (Daniel) came up to me and asked me if I would mind taking a photo with Daniel. The father said that Daniel really liked me but was too shy to ask. I was very happy to do so and it felt great.
- Do you have a favourite kickboxing tip you would like to share?
Technique is important. Power (strength) is good to have, but you are going to get older and that type of power is going to go. I try to teach the kids that whether 5 or 50 years old if you have good technique then you will develop the right type of power that will last. There is always going to be someone stronger than you, but it may be difficult to have someone as technical as you.
- What is your favourite kickboxing move?
Counter Roundhouse kick.
- Who do you like sparring with the most?
I do not have a regular sparring partner, but I started kickboxing at TMAP Swiss and when I attended my first sparring class, I did not know anything and I was so scared. I saw Sensei Tommy and Sensei Aaron with their blue belts, and Sensei Owrang with his black belt - I thought that they were going to smash me! However, Sensei Owrang and Sensei Tommy really took care of me. They told me to move and gave me tips. They really guided me and it was a great introduction to sparring.
- Outside of kickboxing, what gives you confidence?
My family. Some people say that I am so strong, and I have been through hard times moving to the UK, but my family is my everything.
- Who is your favourite kickboxing or sporting hero?
Muhammad Ali. I used to play football and even if you were really good, it was hard to stand out and it depended on the effort of the other teammates. I look up to individuals who fight to get where they are on their own talent.
- What is one fact about you that may surprise people?
Sensei Aaron says that I may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but I do not think that this fact will surprise many people who know me. :)
(After a long pause...)
I do not think that many people know what my tattoos mean. On my arm, this tattoo has my date of birth and represents my family (points out his father, mother and brother) and my wish to be close to them. On my calf, the number 13 is for my brother's date of birth and in memory of my grandfather. He passed away at 85 and the digits combined (8+5) add up to 13. This tattoo is for both of them.