Interview with young BJJ prospect from Norway: Hussein Abbas-Zade

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Originally from Azerbaijan, this 25 years young Norwegian purple belt from Frontline academy Oslo is making waves on the international scene. Training and competing in major BJJ tournaments and events around the world, Hussein also pursues a Masters in finance and works two jobs to fund his BJJ lifestyle, making no excuses! Keep your eyes on this young and hungry grappler and journey to Black belt with many more titles to come! Follow Hussein on Instagram @BJJAze!

1. Hi Hussein, please Introduce yourself
Hi, My name is Hussein Abbas-Zade (25). I am originally from Azerbaijan, but i’ve been living in Norway since i was 14 years old. I am a purple belt under Eduardo “Teta” Rios. Representing Frontline Academy in Oslo, Norway. Besides 2-3 training sessions a day except the weekends, I am currently taking my masters degree in Finance. And to afford this so-called “bjj lifestyle” I have two part-time jobs, so that nothing can stop me from chasing my dreams!

2. What are your main achievements?
I don’t like to talk much about my previous achievements, because I feel that they are making me less hungry for the upcoming titles ! But if I had to choose, I would say bronze medals at Europeans and at Worlds as a blue belt are so far my favourites.

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3. What is your BJJ story?
Haha,I actually started to train Judo twice a week by the age of 18. Despite the late start of my fighting career, after a year and a half i started to win some tournaments in Norway. This made me want to increase my training and i started to train in an academy called Kimura Gjøvik, which was one hour away from the city I lived in. At that time I had a girlfriend in Gjøvik as well, so it was kind of a win-win situation for me.In Kimura Gjøvik I met the man who introduced me to the sport, Jose Carlos from Nova Uniao. I still didn’t quite know the rules and just trained both judo and bjj just to get better. After finishing the high school i moved to Oslo and the first thing i did was visiting Frontline Academy. The day I will never forget. I got my ass whooped so hard that day, that i remember i got scared and felt the fear of maybe not being good enough for the dream i had inside me. After that day I didn’t train for about seven or eight month. Then in 2013 ,when I started to study i made myself a promise, that I will go train every single day no matter what. I just didn’t want to feel that feeling of disappointment that I had inside me anymore. And that’s how it all started. Today i feel really blessed and can’t imagine my life without Jiu-jitsu

4. You have competed in the last Berkut event, tell us about the event and how did it go?
Just when the summer started, I got an invitation to go a superfight at Berkut event in Chechnya, Grozny. I saw this as an opportunity to test myself on a big stage and this was definitely an amazing experience . Fortunately I was able to win the match by getting an armbar with two minutes left in the clock. The Event was amazing and everything was really cool organised. I loved it!

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5. You compete a lot in IBJJF but also submission only tournaments, what is your favourite competition so far?
I don’t really have any favourite competition. I feel that every competition that forces me to push my limits or teaches me something new about my Jiu-jitsu is a good competition for me. It can be as huge as World Championship or as little as Tøyen [Neighbourhood in Oslo] Open, doesn’t matter.
What I also like about competing is traveling the world and seeing new places with my teammates. We are having a great time together! I love this guys #teambror

6. You seem to balance studies and BJJ well, what advice would you give to young grapplers who are or have just graduated and want to train Jiu Jitsu full time
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is evolving and getting bigger day after day, but unfortunately there are still only a few high level competitors out there, who can make money for a living out of it.
Now, I don’t know what your goals or dreams are. You know ! So my first advise would be to grind every single day and chase them no matter what! Fight, Hunt, Bite, Hustle do whatever it takes. Because you don’t want to look back and know that you could have done better. That’s the worst feeling ever. My second advice would be to breathe Jiu-Jitsu, eat Jiu-jitsu , sleep Jiu-jitsu but don’t forget about the education. Yes it can be really hard combining these two things but its possible. You are going to have a lot of sleepless nights, lots of days with a very busy schedule, and it’s going to be extremely boring at times, but at the end you are going to be proud of yourself! Extra Motivation for you : Just think how cool it is to have an education and a Black belt in Jiu-jitsu at the same time And never underestimate your bjj environment . People will see how hard you are working and maybe one day one guy from your academy will offer you a good job, and that’s when you need that diploma. The other benefit of it is that if you get injured or sick, which can easily happen to everyone in this “gentle art”, you will already have a plan B.

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7.Tell us about your Gym?
Frontline Academy is a club that offers you Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, Submission wrestling, Thaiboxing, MMA , and Yoga. We have lots of classes for kids as well. This place has created an environment in which we have professional MMA fighters such ass Mohsen Bahari , Kenneth Bergh, Joachim Tollefsen, Jack Hermansson , Håkon Foss, Emil Meek etc. We have a solid BJJ-Competition team, ecxelent Thaiboxers and also people who are just having fun training. Our head instructor is Eduardo Rios, a Black belt under Ricardo Liborio. We have also very good instructors such as Morten Josephson, Trond Saksenvik, Nic Ruben Nicolaisen and Renato Tavares. For those of you who are living in Olso or just visiting the City, don’t hesitate to come and train with us. But be careful, you might get addicted

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8. GI or No-GI?
If you would have to choose beteeen one of them i would suggest you to choose the GI. Because almost every ADCC champion is a BJJ blackbelt. Personaly i like both of them. But mostly i train gi because I feel that even after 10 rounds of rolling you can always get a good grip and still apply the techniques in the right way.
With that being said, I have recently started to like leglocks a lot, so I am trying to adapt to no-gi competitions with ADCC-rules aswell.
Learning a lot everyday!

9. What are your plans for the short and long term:
2016 is soon over , so I think I’ll only compete once before we face the the new year. In 2017 except passing all of my exams and getting my masters degree in Finance, I am planning to win Europeans in both Gi and No-gi, Abu-Dhabi World Pro and Worlds in gi. My ultimate goal is to become the Adult Blackbelt Wolrd Champion

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10. message to the BJJ community in Scandinavia
I want to start with one of my favorite quotes –> Those who don’t risk anything, are actually risking a lot. Find your passion and go after it! I am 25 years old and everyday i am sacrificing so many hours, energy , and resources to reach my goal. Why? Because I’d rather be broke at the age of 50, knowing that I did absolutely everything possible to reach my goal, than to live “safe” for the rest of my life with a broken dream. Fight for your dreams guys! Huge thanks to RiosGear.no and everybody else that supports me! I love you Those of you who love Jiu-jitsu as much as I do, you can follow my journey to a BJJ Blackbelt World Champion on Instagram: @BjjAze