Interview with Gamila Kanew before ADWPJJC13

11.11.2021 by

Hello Gamila, can you please introduce yourself to our readers? 

My name is Gamila, but my friends call me Gami. I am 26 years old and I was born in Berlin. I am still living in Germany in a small town close to the Baltic Sea. This is where I have my own academy and where I studied to become a teacher.

Is it your first time participating in Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship?

I already competed in Abu Dhabi. My first time was in 2019, where I managed to get the silver medal. I lost against Astrid Scholin from Sweden. (Score was 4:2). Now we are good friends, even though we are always in the same bracket.

I also competed in the last edition of the World Pro earlier this year. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the podium due to an advantage loss against the winner of the bracket in the first fight. 

In both of the world championships, I was there without any coach. But this made me even stronger.

Interview with Gamila Kanew before ADWPJJC13 1 Interview with Gamila Kanew before ADWPJJC13 adwpjjc

I love the AJP and the UAEJJF. Not only because they organizing amazing events, but also I feel like they give athletes a lot of respect. I also like that they have prize money, because being a Jiu Jitsu Athlete is not easy. You have to pay for the tournaments, the traveling, the flights..so it‘s nice that you have the chance to get something back.

I also loved the atmosphere in Abu Dhabi, because people celebrate Jiu Jitsu in the same way people celebrate soccer in Germany. I felt so special being part of this. I also like that the weigh in is one day before the tournament, because I think this is much healthier for athletes and decreases the risk of eating disorders or other health issues. 

How is your training going leading up to the championship?

I didn’t really change my training that much. I have a strict daily routine and I am almost always in shape. So the main thing I changed is working more on some little details.

How did the sport of Jiu Jitsu impact you on a personal level? Why do you recommend youth to practice the sport?

Since I am doing Jiu Jitsu I lost almost 50kg. I used to be a professional soccer player, but after an injury I stopped playing and gained a lot of weight. I moved up to 105kg. Jiu Jitsu was my way to change it. But despite the fact that Jiu Jitsu is good for your body, it‘s also good for your soul and psych. You learn respect, you can forget all of your problems on the mat and you become a better version of yourself. 

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?

This is amazing. I also like that they use YouTube to share the Livestreams which ensures that people can watch the fights for free. This is a big opportunity for the sport to grow and for the athletes to be noticed worldwide. The UAE supports Jiu Jitsu so much, so I really like that they host the World Pro.

Who influenced you the most in developing your BJJ game?

As I mentioned, most of the time I teach myself. But during my semester abroad in Berkeley I used to train at Ralph Gracie Berkeley under my previous Prof. Eduardo Fraga. He did a lot for me and helped me to grow as an athlete. I will never forget this. Now I am under Prof. Alain Pozo in the ZR TEAM. He is like my Jiu Jitsu dad. He is trying his best to help me and supporting me. I am very happy to be part of the ZR Association and I know that I can count on him whenever I need.

Would you like to give any advice to our readers that would help them either on the mat or in their lives?

Jiu Jitsu changed my whole life. I am a very different person compared to the version of Gami I used to be. Since I am doing Jiu Jitsu I am grateful for every single day I am living. One more day where I can learn more, improve and try to be the best version of myself.

Jiu Jitsu took me to over 20 countries. I got to know so many wonderful people and I am just in love with this lifestyle. I want to be an example for everyone who thinks that believing in yourself and realizing your dreams is impossible. I teach myself. I went to the most of the tournaments completely by myself.

I always dealt with the issue of being broke and needing to find a sponsor to be able to compete. I had to suffer, I had to make so many sacrifices, train 30+ hours a week without a coach. But I managed it. I found a way, my way. I have a very strong mindset, a smart game plan and if you look up my achievements, it‘s evidence that hard work pays off. You can train yourself, but to get feedback, to see if your game plan works, to get to know your weakness, you have to compete. The more you compete, the better you‘ll get. This is my message.