How Alan Finfou came back from being almost paralysed to winning major Jiu Jitsu world titles

Alan “Finfou” do Nascimento is one of the most decorated Jiu Jitsu black belts in Scandinavia. Originally from the favela of Cantagalo in Rio de Janeiro (Brasil), where he started his Jiu Jitsu career with Fernando “Terere”, Finfou settled down permanently in Sweden in 2010 and started a family with his girlfriend in Nykvarn, in a small town outside of Stockholm. Prior to 2014, Finfou held many prestigious titles including 2 x IBJJF World Champion, 3 x IBJJF European Champion, 2x European IBJJF NOGI Champion, 2x Brazilian National Champion. Finfou was in his prime and had a great Jiu Jitsu future ahead of his until that day in June 2014.

Rewind back 3 years, its the 2014 IBJJF world championship in California, Alan “Finfou” is facing Octavio Souza From Gracie Barra. The match between the two black belts starts at a rapid pace as expected. Octavio is able to get a nice sweep early on in the game, but Finfou manages to scramble and get the double under. Octavio pulls Finfou’s arm out into his guard, Finfou stands and Octavio secure an omoplata. Octavio then uses the omoplata sweep and finished with a quick armbar. Souza and Gracie barra fans exult while Finfou goes back on his knees to tie his belt. A few moments later, Finfou is lying on his back and medics arrive. Although the sweep does not look catastrophic, the torque on the arm and the pressure of the sweep while holding the leg (which does not allow finfou to roll) causes a serious spinal injury and Finfou is rushed to the hospital. Watch the video of the match.

From what could have been a life changing injury, Finfou managed to recover and get back into training few months after the accident. Since then Finfou has managed to go back fully to training, teaching and competing and has secured several major titles including 2x AbuDhabi World Professional JiuJitsu World Champion, 2x European NOGi Champion and more. BJJScandinavia.com met with Alan to ask him a few questions about that day in June 2014, his journey back, his current training, mindset and plans for the future. Best of luck to Alan and we hope to see him win many more titles in the future!

What were your thoughts right after the accident with Octavio Souza? did you think you would remain paralysed or unable to compete for the rest of your life?
Right there at the moment when I start to understand the situation all I was thinking about was my Family and how I would do to take care of them, specially my kids if that’s was how I was suppose to be for the rest of my life .I wasn’t thinking about nothing Material: no Money, Medal , Title etc.. just want to be able to stand up again and be able to walk.

How was your journey back to training and what was your mindset? Was the journey Hard or easy, did you manage to keep a positive minset, did you think you would come back to performing well?
Was hard ! But I always have allot of Faith that I would overcome the situation. Also During it I could see and learn that When there is a good time in life you always have many friends , but when there is hard times there isnt so many Friends a round. But from the moment I start to move and feel the legs and latter on start to walk , I know I would be back. The support of my Family was the most important for my recover. They was deep in that everyday with me and all that gave Motivation to be back and do it again .

How many title did you win after your accident?
I won a lot of titles including 2x NOGI IBJJF Word Champion; 1x Open Class NOGI World Champion, 2x AbuDhabi World Professional JiuJitsu World Champion, 2x European NOGi Champion, 2x European NOGI Open Class Champion, World League World Championship Champion, Open Class World League World Championships Champion, 2x International Master Champion, 3x Sport Jiu Jitsu federation champion. Basically those are the biggest achievements I had so far after the accident and this year I’m coming for a few more !

How are you feeling today?
Feels great! since I came back from my injury , I start to see Jiujitsu in a different way. I prioritize my Family first and then my bjj in General ( teaching, Competing , training , seminars and etc) when I decide to Compete I make sure that I’m happy by do it, and do it for me , my Family and my students . That’s all. My biggest price is to see my Family Happy, my kids growing , my students learning jiujitsu and achieving them dreams and Goals in life by be able to apply the jiujitsu concept in every area.

What are your plans for the future
I’m planing to open my own jiujitsu school in Stockholm in a Future very soon. Where I can teach full time and share more my knowledge and experience in life and in Jiujitsu. That’s my plan for the future and I’m really excited for it .