Interview with Cemîl Karahan: European Purple belt champion and Sweden’s up and coming talent

Perhaps the name Cemîl Karahan does not ring a bell yet since he has not been competing for very long, but Cemîl has been reaching the top of the purple belt podium in recent European competitions including the Swedish open (Biggest tournament in Scandinavia) and the IBJJF Europeans (biggest competition in Europe and the world). Cemil is another of the many talents coming from the Swedish BJJ scene and in particular from Prana Jiu Jitsu academy headed by Kenta Hammarström. This BJJ competitor has a busy schedule with studies and job, as well as leading a social project for troubled kids is one of Stockholm’s neighbourhood called Ur Dimman. We are sure you will hear more from Cemil has he sets to compete in major international tournaments this year!

1. Please introduce yourself to the BJJ community of Scandinavia
My name is Cemîl Karahan and I am 25 years old, I combine my training with school and a part-time job working at an elementary school. I also have a social project for troubled kids from my neighborhood called Ur Dimman. I am a purple belt under Kenta Hammarström. Representing Prana Jiu-Jitsu in Stockholm, Sweden. My main titles i would say is winning gold at the Swedish Nationals (purple-black belt) back in September and gold now at Europeans during my first year as a purple belt.

2. What is you BJJ story?
My BJJ story started 5 years ago having never ever done any sports in my life I got into an argument with my cousin (who is a professional MMA fighter) which led to me joining him for an MMA sparring session.. After getting my ass kicked I decided to start training MMA. I trained MMA like 2 time a week for couple of months but I felt something was missing everyone in the class had years of experience in different martial arts, (and then there was me having years of experience in computer games and living unhealthy) I decided to master the ground game so I put the MMA on hold and joined a BJJ class and never looked back.

3. You have won the gold at the IBJJF Europeans this year, the biggest BJJ competition in the world, tell us about this event and what were the hardest fights?
The event was so overwhelming not just because of the spectators but also the number of competitors and the level is so high at the lower belts right now. So going into the competition doing the inevitable (looking at the brackets) seeing so many good guys in my division I knew it was going to be a long day. The hardest fights was my first one, almost missing weight and getting DQ:d (weighed 200g over which I was going to get rid of during warmup) because my fight started almost 2 hours earlier then planned so I had no time to warm up but luckily I made weight with some top secret methods hahah.

4. You are competing at Submit 3 against Erdem Erdal, how are you preparing for this fight? Also, Do you study your opponent before a superfight?
Not really doing anything different, training hard and competing even harder and no I don’t feel the need to study my opponents.

5. What is your daily routine and training regime
Having almost an hour to my academy and combining training with school and a part-time job I follow a very strict schedule to keep up with everything so my week days usually looks like this. At 06.45 I do strength and conditioning at the local gym for an hour then i am at work from 08.00 til 14.30 after that i hurry home to usually either study if I have an exam or I take a powernap (I mostly take powernaps) at like 15.50 i leave for my evening sessions from 17.00 – 18.30 (20.00 if I do double classes) either BJJ or NoGI. I try to be in bed and asleep before midnight so I get at least 6 hours of sleep. Saturdays are my rest days, apart from training the kids from my social project at 12.30 I don’t really do anything and on Sundays I usually do one BJJ session and one physical. In between all that I probably eat at least 5 meals a day, I don’t really follow a diet but I eat pretty clean food, I rarely eat junk food but If I didn’t train I would probably be obese..

6. Tell us about your academy?
Prana is very unique because we aren’t the biggest academy but we definitely have one of the best teams in the world with the best coaches. Most of Sweden’s elite BJJ competitors has gathered here and our NoGi classes are filled with some of the best MMA fighters out of Sweden. Also we have some killers coming up from the kids and juvenile classes keep an eye out.

7. Who are your favourite grapplers and why?
My favourite grappler is Emad Omran, the biggest talent out of Sweden.

8. What’s next for you in 2017 and what are you BJJ Goals?
The main focus for 2017 is Abu Dhabi World pro and Mundials but I have a lot of competitions in-between like Europeans NoGi/Rome Open and smaller comps. It’s hard for me to say long term but of course I would love to one day have my black belt and compete at the highest level.

9. Thanks! and feel free to send a message to the BJJ Scandinavia
Just that you need to surround yourself with people who genuinly cares about your well being, if you have family and friends that believe in you nothing can stop you. I would take the time here to thank my sponsors if I had any but I don’t so if you know anything hook a brother up haha. Follow my ten thousand hours in progress