Interview with Israel Pirra

1)What brought you to the world of MMA? Can you explain your lifestyle changes or compare
your experience having been in the punk scene?

Since I was a kid I liked Mexican wrestling but later I started to see Vale Tudo fights and I liked
the most real and complete type of fight, at that time some punk friends were already training
MMA, but because of insecurity in myself I did not decide to train, I was a bit afraid to face
someone who knew how to fight (even when at that time I was looking for street problems).
On one occasion I decided to go to a training just for make sport, it was not my mind to be a
fighter or instructor, once start to train I did not stop.
When I started to get more involved in the Marcial Arts I understand that it is much more than
a fight. I stop looking for street problems, stop being a victim of situations and above all I
started to know myself and to have security in myself. Now I'm not interested in showing
anything to anyone, just develop to me and be part of a common growth and respect for my
Now I really believe that we are part of the universe and that we are an important part of a
great human development. Having trained in the punk scene has given me that awareness of
community and mutual support, respect for differences and a more autonomous and political
idea of inclusion.
2)What has drawn so many Punks is Mexico to get into MMA? When you hear the words martial arts, people think it’s about patriarchy, machoism,
violence and UFC. Can you explain the reasoning behind this stereotype, and if they can or should be dispelled?

I think that many punks in Mexico we approach the Martial Arts to do sport or learn to defend ourselves, because we come from very adverse situations
either to grow in the neighborhoods or to be activists, but once inside the Martial Arts we realize that it is a much more interesting and complete world,
and I hope that as I realize that the physical fight is just a process to reach a broader and deeper consciousness. I think that if you just wanting to learn to
fight is very limited thing.  Unfortunately we are used to the media distorting everything and the Martial Arts are not the exception, I was surprised myself
to know that there is something much bigger in the Martial Arts and I only knew it when I started to train.
Also unfortunately there are several stereotypes that you mention, but the real and pure Martial Arts do not have to be in the middle of this. I was
conflicted with discipline and hierarchy within different areas of Martial Arts, but now I know that this commitment is with one self and this point is very
important to be able to achieve many things.  The Martial Arts are a gift for humanity, and are used by everyone and of course they can be used by
feminists, activists, punks, the poor, the elderly, children ... Martial arts are for all!
3)Please tell us about your diet, such as what food gives you the most energy and which foods help you for
recovering after working out?

My diet changes depending if I am going to compete, if I need to maintain some weight, or if there are not
many activities in that season. Proteins and carbohydrates are important both before and after training, even
so there are small details and obviously other nutrients to cover.
Usually, before training in the morning, I drink an oatmeal smoothie with soy milk, strawberries or blackberries,
bananas and peanuts, it's delicious! finishing training as a peanut butter sandwich and arriving home a more
complete meal containing beans, rice, tofu, vegetables, avocado and chickpea.
Soon I will give examples of the diets that have worked for me and other friends on this site:
For 3 years I am a vegan and before that I was a vegetarian for 15 years and I am happy to have this lifestyle.
I have been training for 9 years and that has made me more responsible with my diet.
4)How many different competitions have you been in?  Can you share examples of which competitions you have won?

In Grappling I participated in about 34 tournaments in which I to be on the podium in some cities in Mexico, twice I was 3rd national place for the FNJJB in
Mexico in brown belt. 1st place in the International Open of the IBJJF in Mexico in purple belt. 1st national place of the FNJJB in Mexico in purple belt. 2nd
regional place in Mexico of the FNJJB in purple belt.  Some international competitions like the NAGA in the United States, Road to ADCC in Germany and
SICK in Guatemala.
I had 8 Amateur MMA fights and two semiprofessionals fights. Now I have 6 professional fights with a 3-3-0 record fighting in Mexico in leagues like
Madness MMA, UFL, Maximum Cage Fighting, JFL and XFL.  I got brown belt in Galvan Combat Systems (GCS) with the Bonebreakers team, I also like to
practice Catch Wrestling and the 10th Planet JiuJitsu system.

5)Is it true that fighters more often become injured during training than during the actual fighting?  How can injuries be avoided during training?

Yes, it's true and I think it's because we train all the time, but we only fight 3 times a year.  It is difficult to escape from injuries but can be reduced with an
intelligent training, good partners to practice and above all have good rest, eat well, make flexibility and have physical therapies.
6) What would you recommend is the best martial arts for self defense,
and how so?

The first point are strategies of how not to be in situations of risk and
how to solve things without reaching the physical confrontation. I think
that is very important no matter how much you know how to fight.
And how self defense training is important to be able to practice
recreating real situations. That is, simulating a problem of physical
aggression that can happen anywhere, so that the body and the mind
will register this situation so that it is familiarized with it if it ever has to
use it, and to be a bit used to reduce the shock that may cause.

7)What might be the best martial art to practice to  promote your health
and to be fit?

Well, I am used to MMA and grappling, I really love these disciplines and
they help me in many ways, but it does not necessarily have to be ideal for other people.  I think that any art that you can express with the body helps you
develop and also be healthy. It can be dance or even theater.  Beyond the martial art, I consider that yoga is a great practice of communion of your body,
mind and spirit with the universe.

What punk band’s music do you listen to when you do a cardio workout?

Ho! very nice question!! I really like to listen to Amebix, Doom, Discharge, Hiatus, Cock Sparrer, Inepsy and Rattus ... that mainly.  Also non-punk bands like
Black Sabbath, Motorhead and even Creedence Clearwather Revival.

9)Are you on a vegan diet for health reasons or animal rights, or for both?

Mainly for animal rights, I consider my veganism to be political. Along the way I have also found reasons for spiritual greeting and even communion with the

10)How is Mexico City changing by veganism, and what are your favorite vegan dishes?

There is more and more awareness of the animal rights and even in people who still eat meat. There are many people who often ask me tips to gradually
change to veganism and others who have already tried.
There is also currently a fashion of vegan places in Mexico, of this I only hope that I can create real conscientiousness among the people.
My favorite dishes are not the most fitness precisely hahaha, I really like the tacos, pizzas and falafel !!!

Thank you very much for the space, I really like what I publish on diyzine.com and very happy to be able to contribute.

Israel Pirra, November 2018, Mexico City.