Friday, March 18, 2011

The BJJ-India Connection part 1

We we began promoting mma in the year 2000 it all started with our own experiments on the mat , we had absolutely no idea how to apply any chokehold or submission properly , all we had access to was hundreds and hundreds of bjj and mma dvds , everytime i visited a foreign country i made it a point to pickup dvds and more dvds. In those days all we did was watch the dvds and experiement. There was this old kusthi akhara in bhagur [at the outskirts of devlali , nasik] and a friend of my fathers offered the facility for us to train with our team. A few weeks later and the local kusthi wrestlers found us doing something they thought was "wrong wrestling" and offered to show us the correct moves , when we told them that this wasnt regular wrestling they started to gather together and watch us do our own version of submission wrestling, soon the 'watching' changed to "jeers" and after a couple of weeks we had a whole group of the local wrestlers sitting around laughing and watching our "funny" wrestling sessions until one evening when i invited some of the ring-leaders to come join us in a grappling session , so the toughest looking guy with bulging muscles and cauliflower ears stepped onto the mat while his fellow wrestlers cheered him on , a crowd gathered around to see what would happen , my adopted brother alan fenandes who had watched a few bjj videos and knew just about one gullotine and maybe half an arm-bar took on the challenge , as expected the wrestler charged in and took alan to the ground but to his surprise got caught with an arm-in gullotine , wrestlers usually pop their head out naturally when they rush in for the takedown but rather than tapping [since they didnt know how to tap] the wrestler went to sleep when alan tightened the choke , after a few minutes of reviving the wrestler and a couple of words exchanged between both groups the wrestlers figured out that this style of wrestling was definately effective and worth trying out , this is how our journey with bjj began. After this we temporarily had a group of the local wrestlers training with us , I would say that those days definately benefited our team since grappling with those wrestlers helped us understand the fundamentals of wrestling and how important it was for our mma game , some of them got hooked and and joined the team - bharat "beast" khandare is one of those wrestlers , while the others returned to their age old tradition of kusthi wrestling and kusthi dangals. Unfortunately i heard later on that the owner of the wrestling facility wasnt too keen on his boys shifting over to bjj or mma and gave his boys a taking to , sad but true otherwise im sure many of those wrestlers could have become prospective grapplers representing India. Picture above : two of the wrestlers that began training with us but later left to pursue their kusthi career.[contd in part 2]

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