Hello David, can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is David Cartwright-Khoza, I am brown belt under Allan Pozo, the head of ZR team UK. I have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu consistently for about 6 years and I have recently opened up my own academy, APEX Jiu Jitsu in Finsbury Park in North London.
Is it your first time participating in Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship? If yes, why have you decided to do so?
Yes, it is my first time taking part in the competition.
Having opened up my new academy, I have been able to train more consistently and really focus 100% on my Jiu Jitsu. Because of this, this just felt like the right time for me to put my skills to the test and compete at the highest level.
How is your training going leading up to the ADWPJJC?
I would say that my training is going really well, but I would have loved to have had more opportunities to compete, but of course that was a bit of a challenge with the pandemic. At the end of October I did have a chance to take part in a super fight in Portugal which was great to help get me back into competition mode, and I’m happy to say that I came out with the win in the fight.
How did the sport of Jiu Jitsu impact you on a personal level? Why do you recommend youth to practice the sport?
Jiu Jitsu has helped me to develop focus and discipline like nothing else in my life has. Not only that, but it has helped me to see the value of health and taking care of my body. I think all young people can benefit from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because it is such an accessible sport for all ages and sizes, and it sets the foundation for being well-rounded adults. It helps children to have a sense of belonging and encourages them to think strategically and develop focus.
How do you see Abu Dhabi hosting global Jiu Jitsu championships and giving the chance for athletes to compete against the best in the world?
I think it’s amazing that they have created such a professional event. With the rule set that they have established, they are making the sport more professional and more entertaining. I think this goes a long in building the global popularity of the sport even more. I also think it’s great that they are giving competitors the opportunity to earn some money while they compete. We train just as hard as other professional athletes, if not harder, and yet it’s hard to not feel undervalued and overlooked.
Who influenced you the most in developing your BJJ game?
In the early part of my training, I always tried to emulate Rodolfo Vieira. I always admired his style of passing, and I tried to adopt this into my own Jiu Jitsu. More recently, I have taken inspiration from Keenan Cornelius before he stepped away from competition, I think he has really helped to evolve the sport.
Would you like to give any advice to our readers that would help them either on the mat or in their lives?
I would just say that people sometimes shy away from competition because it may feel like it is a lot of pressure, but I would just encourage everyone to be more open to it because it really is the best way to learn about yourself and learn about your Jiu Jitsu vs. other people’s. Don’t be intimidated and just try to see it as a learning opportunity.
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