A force to reckon with

September 8 - September 14, 2021
Gulf Weekly A force to reckon with
Gulf Weekly A force to reckon with
Gulf Weekly A force to reckon with

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

MARTIAL artist Ali Monfaradi’s golden glory continues as he bagged three medals after beating some of the best Jiu-Jitsu athletes from around the world in Europe.

The 27-year-old Bahraini, who has more than 150 medals under his belt, brought home three golds in the Croatia National Pro held in Split.

This event is part of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Ranking and Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Qualifying Series and was open to all nationalities, belts, juveniles, adults and masters.

“I actually broke my own record for fastest submission three times in this event, which was previously 30 seconds,” said Monfaradi, the owner and head coach of Elements Jiu-Jitsu Academy.

Monfaradi competed in the Adult black division. In the 77kg Gi final, he went up against Bilal Benmahammed of France and won 6-4. In the 77kg No Gi semifinal, he faced Mohamed Hayat of France where he also won by submission with an outside heel hook.

The fight was over in nine seconds.

He battled Benmahammed yet again in the 77kg No Gi final where he won by submission with an inside heel hook and the fight was over in 22 seconds.

In the Open weight semifinal, he grappled Hayat and won by submission with a back choke. The fight was over in 29 seconds.

In the Open weight final, he went up against Martin Nedbal of the Czech Republic and his trusted back choke served him well causing him to win by submission and the fight was over in 3:15 minutes.

“It felt great to win three gold medals and five fights,” said Monfaradi.

“We don’t indulge or celebrate for too long. I am focused and determined for what’s next. And while this was probably my best performance ever, the real best is yet to come.

“Nonetheless, I credit my success to countless people, the least of which being myself. As a professional, I have the good coaches at Elements overseeing my training, two strength and conditioning coaches, a mobility coach, a nutritionist and a physical therapist.

“In a broader sense, and I would say even more importantly, I thank the support of every single Bahraini propelling me forward and giving me a reason to keep doing ‘one more run’. I also thank His Majesty King Hamad, Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, for all that they do for local sports and, of course, the community at large. The support I receive from Bahrainis is truly humbling.”

Aside from his stellar performances in the ring, Monfaradi was also thrilled to run a five-day training camp leading up to the tournament in Croatia.

“It was an absolute honour sharing my knowledge and training with everybody who was going to compete in the event,” he added.

“I was the first Bahraini to run a Jiu-Jitsu workshop in Europe.”

Monfaradi’s Jiu-Jitsu journey started at the age of 12. As an adult, he 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.

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. His list of achievements is quite long and he is already preparing himself for his next big feat – the Ju-Jitsu Asian Union (JJAU) Asian Championship.

“I’ve previously won three Asian gold medals and one bronze,” said Monfaradi.

“One would say I am a veteran in this tournament and division. However, I don’t let that get to me. The past hardly matters and the level is higher than ever. I treat every competition as if it’s the first and the last. I am very determined for this though and really want to bring the gold home.

“I always say that I compete because of a genuine passion for it, because it’s the most effective way for me to be an ambassador of sorts for my country and because I want to get the word out that Jiu-Jitsu is for everybody.

“The way we do things at Elements, is in a way that Jiu-Jitsu is meant to positively influence people’s lives, regardless of their weight, size, age, goals or background. Whether it’s for weight loss, fitness, learning self-defence, becoming a competitive athlete, Jiu-Jitsu can be adapted for you and everybody is welcome. That, I would say, is my main mission.”

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is based on grappling and ground fighting, focusing on the skill of controlling opponents through techniques that force them to submit.

Follow @alimonfaradi on Instagram for more updates.

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