Interview with Finnish BJJ talent Tommi Pulkkanen on his training, academy and goals

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Finland has a one of the most active and well organised BJJ communities in Europe and some very strong competitors. One of them is brown belt BJJ talent, Tommi Pukkanen. This full time Jiu Jiteiro has won, amongst other titles, the bronze Medal at the No-Gi Worlds and Gold at the No-Gi European Champion. Although he lives in the small town of Lahti in Finland, his berimbolo and 50/50 variations rival with what the Mendes or Miyao Bros are doing, and some of his videos went viral on the internet. So BJJ Scandinavia took this opportunity to meet and interview Tommi, would was kind to share his story. We really enjoyed doing this interview so we hope you like it too!

1. Please introduce yourself to the BJJ Community of Scandinavia?
Hey! My name is Tommi Pulkkanen, 22-years old Brown belt under Sauli Heilimö. I live in Lahti, Finland and train Full-Time at Lahden Gentai that is part of the Hilti BJJ. My main titles are the Bronze Medal at the No-Gi Worlds, No-Gi European Champion, Grapplers Quest European Champion, NAGA UK Champion, Rome International Open Champion, Gi and No-Gi Finnish Open Champion and Gi and No-Gi Finnish Nationals Champion.

2. What is your BJJ Story?
I started to train BJJ, when I was 16-years old. I have done sports my whole life, like playing Ice-Hockey and football. When I was teenager, I was pretty small guy to play Ice-Hockey and I quitted. Almost right after quitting Ice-Hockey, I wanted to start doing some individual Sport. I knew that there was BJJ Academy near to my house and I wanted to give it a try. Since the first class I fell in love with the sport and decided to give my best to see how far I could go. I am still on the same road.

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3. You are IBJJF No-Gi Worlds Medalist, NAGA and Grapplers Quest Champion, in your opinion which is the toughest No-Gi competition and Why?
For me the toughest one was the No-Gi Worlds, because of the amount of the competitors in my division. To win the Major IBJJF competition you have to win 6 or 7 fights in one day to be the champion.

4. Why the name SpaghettiBJJ
Hahha, it comes, because I have pretty long and flexible legs. Just Like Spaghetti.

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5. Gi or No-Gi and why?
I love to do both! My techniques don’t really change much if I train in the Gi or not. If I have big No-Gi competitions coming up, then I train more without the Gi.

6. In your videos you show really intricate combinations and transitions, do you spend a long time to practicing them or do you do them on the go? and have you managed to do them in competition?
I don’t do those drills just for filming purpose. I like to do those drills to learn how to make a right move at the right time. I want to have variations for the every possible reaction that my opponent could do at the certain situation. And Yes, I have hitted those techniques in competitions. I don’t think it has any sense to show techniques that don’t really work at the live situation.

7. What is your daily routine and training regime.
I like to train two or three times a day. A lot of Jiu-Jitsu and also some Lifting, running and flexibility training. I have also added a little Wrestling to my training program. I think it is very important to also develop your athletical attributes besides your technical knowledge. Between training sessions I like to study a lot of techniques. How they work and how to add them to my own game. I believe that more time I invest to Jiu-Jitsu the better I will become. And hopefully it will pay off in the future.

8. Tell us about your academy.
Our academy is Lahden Gentai in Lahti, Finland. It is part of the Hilti BJJ. With great atmosphere and environment for the development. I am not the only person, who is training Full-Time there. We have handful of other guys, who are training from morning to night everyday. Guys like Tuomas Simola (No-Gi European Champion and ADCC European Championship Silver Medalist) and Pro MMA Fighters Aleksi Toivonen(Multiple Time No-Gi European Champion) and Patrik Pietilä. and a lot of other tough guys. We have Specific coaches for Strength and Conditioning and Wrestling besides BJJ, so the approach is very professional. We have also a lot of people who are not interested in competing and we pay attention to their goals also. Everybody is welcome to come to train with us!

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9. Whats next for you in 2015/2016 and what are your BJJ Goals?
My main goal for the 2015 No-Gi season is the No-Gi Worlds in November. I also want to compete the competitions like London Open, some of the UAEJJF Trials, No-Gi Finnish Open, Gi Finnish Nationals and hopefully some Superfights. Main goal for the 2016 will be the World Jiu-Jitsu championships in May. My ultimate goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to become Gi and No-Gi World Champion at the Black belt level and I work very hard everyday to reach my goals.

10. Thanks! and feel free to send a message to the BJJ Scandinavia.
Thanks for the interview! If you are interested in seminars or sponsorship opportunities, please contact me on Facebook or email Spaghettibjj92@gmail.com and remember to follow me on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram @Spaghettibjj. I also want to thank my Family, My team Lahden Gentai, my sponsors, Fuji Sports, EBN Supplements, Vivo Barefoot, Onni Johansson Design and Nipponsport for all the support! Osss!