Martial artists Ali and Seena Monfaradi will be returning to the kingdom today with a bagful of medals after bringing glory to Bahrain in an international competition staged in the United States.
The father and son participated in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Dallas International Open No Gi Championship held in North Richland Hills, Dallas, yesterday, fighting leading competitors from around the world.
Monfaradi Jnr, 27, competed at the highest level in the adult black belt lightweight category and brought home silver, while his father, 51, clinched two gold medals during the two-day championship in his age and weight section, plus a silver and bronze placings in open weight events.
“I’m very proud of my dad,” said Monfaradi Jnr who took up the contact sport at the age of 12 and is the owner and head coach of Elements Jiu Jitsu Academy. “For me, it was just another day at work, but seeing my father compete and win is what really brought me joy.
“Out of the two of us, I’m a professional and I fight at the Adult level for top martial artists aged between 20 and 30.
“My father is a ‘master’ who fights black belts in his own age category. So both days he got his gold medals but he also decided to fight in the open division. People like my father who weigh 62kg rarely compete in an open weight contest, let alone achieve something like this. So his story is truly special.
“Dad is delighted at his success and happy for me too!”
These victories are a delight for the duo as they didn’t even know if they’d make it to the competition. They landed a week before the championship to acclimatise and then trained in Los Angeles at the Cobrinha Brazilian Jiu Jitsu facility.
“I’m just really glad to have made it to the tournament because it was quite the challenge logistically-speaking with Covid-19, quarantine time and flights,” added Monfaradi Jnr.
“The whole time I was praying to God that we would make it. The reason I did this insane journey was because I do have, on a personal level, a thirst for competition and unrelenting desire to constantly challenge myself.
“I’m very glad that I can show my students back home and the Bahraini community that we can compete and do well at an international level. This is only the beginning.”
Monfaradi Jnr spent five years training at the Alliance Headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, under legendary professor Fabio Gurgel and is the first and only Bahraini black belt competitor to have been trained by him. Monfaradi Jnr has already notched more than 150 medals.
He won the IBJJF World Championship in 2012, six bronze medals throughout the years in the UAEJJF World Professional Championship, a bronze at the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) World Championship in 2018 and gold at the Brazilian Championship. He was crowned Asian JJIF champion four times, has achieved several gold medals at IBJJF Opens, as well as a triple gold at the 2016 American Nationals.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is based on grappling and ground fighting, focussing on the skill of controlling opponents through techniques that force them to submit.