Tiago Haddad interview. Bioginástica. The art of movement.

Tiago Haddad interview. Bioginástica. The art of movement.

Some time ago I had the opportunity to close an open circle from long, to interview Rickson Gracie’s Yoga teacher. Since I learned about this Master I was interested in his system and was looking for information by different means. So I contacted his Academy and it was Tiago Haddad who gave me the opportunity to get the interview with the Grand Master Orlando Cani.

I wanted to do it on this occasion with Tiago, not because he helped me, that too, but because I identify that he is currently one of the Bioginástica pillars and has a long and profound experience in what this System is (and others). I was really interested in his perspective for his journey and commitment with the Master and the project that now they lead together.

Very kindly he has acceded to the questions that arose under the prism of the incessant search for truth in movement. Many thanks to Tiago for his patience and for his time, I know that he is a very busy person.

Thanks so much again.

Link de la entrevista en español: Bioginástica. Tiago Haddad.


How were your beginnings, who is Tiago?

I’m a Physical Education professional passionate about sports and movement itself. I always looked for activities and exercises that were not focused only on the physical aspects but also on mental and emotional development. That’s how I found Bioginástica (Biogymnastic) and Orlando Cani’ Studio.

How did you meet GM Orlando Cani and what did you see in him that made you get involved 100% with the project?

Initially I took lessons with one of the first Orlando’ followers. Sadly I came to find out that this disciple had registered Orlando’s method under his name and was presenting himself as its sole creator. In the moment I acknowledged that, I went to Orlando Cani’ Studio and where I was welcomed with great kindness and generosity. That made me understand what a true GM means and I decided to join him to help perpetuate this wonderful work.

Can you define what exactly is Bioginástica?

Bioginástica is a method that has been developed by Professor Orlando Cani since the 60’s. It is a research that aims to unify some Eastern philosophies with the training and science of the West. It is a fluid, dynamic and creative movement that focuses on the development of body awareness and the breathing techniques. It is an intense physical training that stimulates strength, flexibility, balance, agility, coordination, concentration, and especially the ability to get into the meditation state even in movement.

In the interview with your Master, who incidentally was thanks to you!! (Thanks so much again) he spoke openly about to had problems with the name of the art and so on time ago, do you want to say something about it?

As it has happened to many masters along time, Orlando was once betrayed by his disciple, Álvaro Romano, that he considered as a son and to whom he taught everything he knew for over 12 years without charging anything.

I feel sorry for what happened because I have Orlando as a second father but we do not think too much about it, we rather continue working to strengthen Bioginástica and believe that eventually people recognize the depth of Orlando’s work and come to us.

Some anecdote you want to note the time you’ve spent with Maestro Orlando Cani?

Last year, on Orlando’s 80th birthday, I threw him a surprise party gathering old time students and athletes at the studio to celebrate it. To mark the occasion, I worked with his family to collect endorsements from several top athletes he trained and we made a beautiful video with all athletes speaking about him and wishing him happy birthday. It was a very special moment for all of us and Orlando was deeply moved.

There are different disciplines inside your system (Yoga, Tai Chi, Dancing …), where you feel more comfortable?

The important thing is to feel comfortable moving with awareness. We do not define whether one move comes from Yoga or from Tai Chi. The key is to perform each movement with awareness and joy. Feeling, listening and respecting your body.

What makes your art different from the rest of movement training?

The idea of union that comes mainly from the Yoga. The union of training and breathing, relaxation and meditation. The union of strength and softness, slow and fast, movement and stillness.

Something more to discover in movement culture?

Sure, after all movement is unlimited, infinite. Orlando always says that the research never ends and we must always explore and try new possibilities. Today’s training is increasingly integrated and we continue to study new science breakthroughs and trends to enhance and support the method.

What is meditation for you, it´s important?

Meditation is a state of mind where mental fluctuations cease, when the mind silences. It is very important for people who live in large centers and need to deal with an enormous amount of information and stress, as well as for athletes who need to be focused on the present moment, concentrated and with balanced breathing.

What do you prefer: to be student or teacher into the art?

Being Orlando’s student is wonderful, but to share what I’ve learned with my own students and to pass on the method it’s also very satisfying. I believe that I will always be a student and a teacher, learning in my personal practice and while I teach.

How good is Bioginástica for martial artists?

Bioginástica is excellent for any athlete, helping to develop physical and motor valences, the corporal domain and maintaining the mental and emotional balance through breathing techniques. When moving with awareness, the athlete is able to perform a move more precisely and with the least energy expenditure. This improves performance, delays fatigue and minimizes the risk of injury.

There are great sports and fight personalities working with you… can you tell us something about it? Why they are now involving with the academy, even Rickson, not much time ago, spoke really good about Orlando Cani…

It is an honor to have top-level athletes training with us and knowing that we can influence their performance and achievements. We have a new generation athletes and fighters coming to us to complement the training.

Currently you are the director of the academy right? Can you tell us a little of where you are walking, how you see Bioinástica in a few years?

I am a partner at Academia Orlando Cani along with Professor Marcelo Barros and we have the privilege of maintaining this incredible place, which this year is completing 45 of activities. We are a about to launch the new teacher’s training program to prepare those interested in teaching the method. We are also working to bring Bioginástica back into the main congresses of physical activity and training. Our goal is to reach more people and make the method available as a differentiated tool for Physical Education and health professionals.

Have you thought about doing workshops in Europe, what is next?

We sure want to take Bioginástica the USA and Europe. We already held workshops in Lisbon, New York, Los Angeles, and a few other places abroad. Often we get requests from athletes, Physical Education and health professionals and we have plans to hold more workshops and also teachers’ training in other countries in the future.

Any publication (books …) about Art? It would be very interesting a biography of Master Orlando Cani.

Orlando and I are working together on a book right now to explain the Bioginástica method and tell its origins. Orlando’s full biography may be our next project once we launch this book.

Anything you want to say to our readers?

I want to thank José Diaz and Fightlosofy for their interest in the method. Orlando was far ahead of its time when it idealized the Bioginástica and we see how it is still relevant these days when we analyze its ideas of training.

We are always available to provide information, offer courses and training, and participate in events. Our doors will always be open to everyone who wants to come visit us and train with us. Just get in touch through the email academiaorlandocani.com.br.

Tiago Haddad

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