Hello Ali, can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Ali Monfaradi, professional athlete, coach and business owner.
I am an IBJJF world Champion(blue belt), JJIF World champion(black belt) and 6-time AJP World Pro medalist(all belts).
I am the owner and head coach of Elements Jiu Jitsu Academy, in The Kingdom of Bahrain.
When did your Jiu Jitsu journey begin? How did you find out about BJJ?
I always wanted to train in martial arts, and my entire family already did. But back in 2006, there were no Jiu Jitsu academies and certainly no kids classes, just a single hall that was rented out to teach adults. The moment a kids’ class was introduced, I started and never stopped after that.
Which was your hardest and most memorable fight?
That’s very hard to say. At this point, I’ve had many hundreds of fights throughout over a decade of competitions. It is safe to say that I’ve had many difficult opponents and difficult tournament runs. I suppose what I remember most are successful tournament runs where I was riddled with a terrible injury. I’ve had to fight an entire season with a messed up elbow, where I couldn’t even do body weight push-ups, but somehow made it work for when it was time to fight. I got bronze at the 2017 London Grand Slam and World Professional Championship despite a nasty back injury, where I mostly couldn’t roll during training, and used to go swimming early in the morning, because it was the only “intense” exercise I could do without feeling sharp pain. In 2015, also World Pro, I got bronze while having to tape up my knee, because I had a torn MCL.
What are you focusing on right now?
Constantly trying to outdo myself as an athlete, as a coach, and as a business owner. I am not focused on any particular tournament, medal or opponent. My goal is the long game, I want to solidify a legacy, a career, that is so impactful, that it would be a tough act to follow.
How did the sport of Jiu Jitsu impact you on a personal level? Why do you recommend youth to practice the sport?
I truly believe that every good thing in my life came either directly, or indirectly because of Jiu Jitsu.
I was bullied a lot back in school, and I mean quite a lot. You would assume after learning Jiu Jitsu, I learned to defend myself, and lived happily ever after… What happened was actually better.
You see, before Jiu Jitsu, I was insecure, stressed out, and I was basically a target screaming out to bullies. After a couple of years training though, I became a calmer, cooler, more aware person. I actually reached a point where it was virtually impossible to get into a confrontation with me, because I grew as a person. That’s the true gift that Jiu Jitsu gave me, and can give every child or teen facing similar issues.
Who influenced you the most in developing your BJJ game?
Growing up, Marcelo Garcia for sure. More recently, Lucas Lepri. I think many of our students and competitors, naturally, ended up drawing similar inspirations too.
What do you do in your free time?
Once upon a time, I might have said video games, hahaha… Honestly, nowadays, between training, teaching, running the gym, I have precious little time left, and I use it to study techniques, competition footage, business courses and read. Anything left after that, I owe to my family hahaha.
Would you like to give any advice to our readers that would help them either on the mat or in their lives?
That’s a tough one, but I think the advice I would give to a younger Ali(though I doubt he’d listen) is to market yourself more. Get your name out there, make a brand for yourself, have a platform, MULTIPLE platforms, be professional, and make people recognize, and remember your name. You could be very good at what you do, but if people never find out about you, you will see little success professionally.
We care about Jiu Jitsu so much that we decided to create this page for all the people like us – that eat, breath and live the Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle! We truly hope our content will make every one of your days better, on the mat and off the mat!