Ahmed El-Sayed is an experienced competitor fighting out of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. He competes successfully in the purple belt masters division and he recently completed his 200 hour Yoga teacher training with Grace Morales.
He also happens to be a sponsored athlete of ours here at Yoga for BJJ and we did not hesitate when we got the opportunity to interview him and ask some questions about his enthusiasm for jiu jitsu and yoga. The responses are trully great:
Before any competition, I warm up with a short vinyasa flow and it’s helped with getting my blood moving, loosening my body and focusing my mind with breath. It’s really calming before any competition. In short, Yoga has been the ultimate compliment to my jiu-jitsu game.
A friend of mine who’d been doing jiu-jitsu for a long time, recommended jiu-jitsu because he knew my personality trait. I had wrestled in high school and thought, hey why not, let’s give it a shot. After doing some research, I joined Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro and fell in love with jiu-jitsu. Everything about it, the physicality, the chess match, the workout, self-defense. I stopped drinking and found a healthier addiction where I could apply myself. I trained with Professor Shaolin and Professor Marcos “Loro” Galvao before moving to Charlotte, NC for a new job. I now train and actively compete with Mitch Phillips and Jae Ho Lee under Roberto Traven and can honestly say jiu-jitsu changed my life in the most positive way. I love it.
Yoga is essentially breathing with movement, and while practicing it, you’re always reminded to come back to your breath, especially in moments of discomfort or strain. Breathing is energy for the body and calming to the mind. It’s helped my breath control in jiu-jitsu. Before any competition, I warm up with a short vinyasa flow and it’s helped with getting my blood moving, loosening my body and focusing my mind with breath. It’s really calming before any competition. In short, Yoga has been the ultimate compliment to my jiu-jitsu game.
Grace’s message of trying something different and maybe even intimidating, was very invigorating as I left. It is hard to explain, but it made me want to not only try yoga teacher training but also make me push the envelope with my jiu-jitsu and try new things with my game as well too. I was not exactly sure where the journey would take me but I knew Yoga Teacher Training was something I wanted to do.
Through YTT, I found it was important to embrace these vulnerabilities because I think in those moments we can find true strength and courage. The parallels between yoga and jiu-jitsu with respect to embracing moments of discomfort, vulnerability or even levels anxiety and find strength within them, to be undeniable. It’s was evident that there’s an opportunity to marry the two together, and I am firmly intent on doing so.