Gulf Weekly : The 35-year-old strength and conditioning coach at Reza Martial Arts Centre has been enamoured with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ since taking up the skilful grappling and ground fighting sport in 2015 and his plethora of medals, including his latest gold, are proof of his success…even when the going got tough.
“It was a surreal feeling to win, especially because I lost in the first round and was injured,” said Abdulaziz who works in the Transportation and Telecommunication Ministry and lives in East Riffa. “I didn’t think I could continue in the competition, so to win is major.”
The award-wining athlete has won silver, bronze and gold in different competitions over the years such as Bahrain National 2015, Kuwait Open 2016 and the Bahrain Jiu-Jitsu League 2019. He competed in a three-fighter bracket in the championship held in Riyadh, which featured 218 participants including men, women and children.
“In my first match, I fought Mohammed Dashti from Kuwait,” said Abdulaziz who trains six days a week in jiu-jitsu with coaches Reza Monfaradi and Sergio Moraes. He also completes three days, on average, of strength and conditioning. “He (Dashti) was a tough and strong competitor. I managed to lead by points but he bounced back and scored the win in the end.
“In my second match, I fought Reda Aloufi from Saudi and was able to secure the submission within less than a minute. I then moved on to the final where I faced Dashti again, but this time I managed to win by submission in 44 seconds for the gold.
“It goes to show that you should always believe in yourself because if you don’t, nobody will.”
Abdulaziz, a qualified personal trainer and sport nutritionist from the American Council of Exercise (ACE), never imagined partaking in this fast-paced sport that can pack a punch.
He had been fascinated by Mixed Martial Arts since 2010, particularly the grappling and ground game part, and was inspired by fighters such as UFC’s Anderson Silva and B J Penn who specialised in jiu-jitsu.
“At the time, I hesitated to try the sport as I thought I was too old for it,” he said. “Fast forward to 2015 and I saw an advertisement for jiu-jitsu classes in a gym nearby. I thought why not give a try! I decided to attend a class and since then, I’ve been training non-stop.
“There is no limit and age for sports, especially jiu-jitsu. Don’t be afraid to try something new. I started when I was almost 30 years old and do not plan to stop anytime soon. Jiu-jitsu will make you physically and mentally strong.”
Abdulaziz is now training and working hard to tackle some of the best fighters in the globe in November’s World Pro championship staged in Abu Dhabi.
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