Jiu jitsu, judo and thaiboxing were the fighting sports that Farzin Sadegh practiced when he first participated in an MMA, a free fight. When he felt stronger than his opponent but lost, he became interested in Brazilian jiu jitsu.
“In that fight, I constantly felt myself to be the upper party”, explains Farzin Sadegh, his choice for this branch of martial arts. “But when we went into battle, I was defeated. The technique used by my opponent was incredibly effective. Although I was stronger and fitter, at that time I was third in the Netherlands in jiu jitsu, I went under. That made me want to learn that sport. I was convinced of the effectiveness of the technique and became enthusiastic.
Brazilian jiu jitsu does not originate from jiu jitsu, but from judo. “The sport was developed by the Brazilian Gracie family,” explains Farzin Sadegh. “When judoka Maeda emigrated to Brazil, he learned the Ne Waza, ground techniques, at the Gracie’s. They then further evaluated, developed and tested the techniques. They then used the developed techniques in Vale tudo events, fighting matches without rules. The techniques proved so effective that they were superior in the ‘real battles’. They made sure that they quickly brought their opponent to the ground to check him in ground combat and to force a submission by means of arm clamps, leg clamps or strangulations. But in addition to being a particularly effective martial arts technique, it also became a sport in itself that grew rapidly in Brazil and later also grew up in the United States.
After his decision to master Brazilian jiu jitsu techniques, it took some time before the fighting athlete living in Delft made great progress. However, this changed when the Brazilian top Cadu came to teach. “At Cadu I went to train full-time for five years,” Farzin looks back. “Then, five times a week, I trained purely in technology. How well did I get out of it? For three years I have won all the tournaments in which I participated. These were tournaments in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. I was also allowed to participate in the World Cup in Brazil in my class. I did a good job there, too. Only missed the final at one point. So at that time I fought on a very high level. Still, I have always seen it as a hobby. Furthermore, I have always tried to get the best jiu jitsu gi to support my traning efforts. Certainly in the Netherlands there was no money to be made from it. I did think about a career in Brazil or the United States, but in the end I chose my study and my job. Have I ever regretted that? Well, the only thing I find difficult is to accept that you can’t maintain that high level. But that is, of course, inevitable. Now it is no longer possible to do as much as I had to leave at my peak. I have too busy a job for that.
Since 2008 Farzin has also been a teacher in Brazilian jiu jitsu and in this way he continues to push his sporting boundaries. “At the time, I missed targeted, effective training in the area and therefore decided to set up my own team. That was without any commercial purpose. Purely out of enthusiasm and hobbyism. I am now giving training three times a week with the aim of getting the boys on the team to a high level and to guide them through their tournaments. That is already bearing its first fruit. Ernst van den Brugge recently won everything in England in his own weight class and in the heaviest weight class. That boy has a lot of quality. I do not think, however, that talent and results are the most important thing. If a boy in the team works hard, shows commitment and is always there, he will always be able to count on my support and guidance. That’s what I do it for.
According to Farzin, who started giving Brazilian jiu jitsu lessons at the TU Delft this week, there are several reasons why the sport is growing in popularity. “It is a real sport. The techniques are extremely effective and the team atmosphere is fantastic. You really have to take each other to a higher level. That also radiates from it. There is a great deal of mutual respect. Moreover, it is more modern than traditional martial arts. It is looser and has few traditional habits. I think that this makes it attractive to young people. What’s more, you never get learned. The founder of the sport rolled over the mat up to the age of 80. I think I will continue to do this sport until I am 80. I like to do it, the atmosphere is good and it’s fun to train.