Hello Martin can you tell us a bit for yourself. When and how did you find brazilian jiu jitsu?
I got introduced to jiu-jitsu over 10 years ago. Like most of the bjj practitioners, my first introduction was through instructional and highlight videos I could find on YouTube. At first I was skeptical but I was proven wrong, experiencing the effectiveness of bjj firsthand.
What are your biggest influencers during your growth?
I would say that my biggest influence was and still is my friend and mentor, Ivica Aleksovski. He was my first legit instructor and I started training under him in 2012 and Im there even since. Other than him, I do follow some of the world’s best instructors and trying to understand their view on jiu-jitsu, which helps me understand the art even better.
Kumanovo is small and non touristic town, how many people training regularly? How long do you have the academy and how you promote it?
I opened my academy back in 2013, so we are relatively new jiu-jitsu school. Given that, we have over 30 regular students, ranging from 5 year olds to 40 year olds, from people looking for some physical activity to active competitors. As for the promotion, my main targets are the social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and so on, but we are also getting exposure from local sport websites and television stations.
Would you like to have guests from other akademies? Why should they come and visit Kumanovo?
Our academy has a very open-door policy when it comes to visitors. Every jiu-jitsu practitioner is welcome to train with us, regardless of academy, rank, gender and so on.
What is your opinion about decision of Jiu Jitsu Federation that Bans Purple And Brown Belts from Teaching?
I can understand their point of view, issuing that a purple of a brown belt can’t teach as well as a black belt could. However, I would have to disagree with their statement, since a black belt competitor is not necessarily a great instructor and vice versa, a purple belt that has dedicated his time developing his teaching skills will make a pretty good instructor.
What do you do in your free time? Tell us more about your life outside the mat?
When I don’t train or teach, I like to dedicate my free time to the people that mean something to me, whether that would be through a casual conversation over a cup of coffee or discussing some plans and ideas that would improve the growth and reputation of the academy, future events and so on.
What are your plans/ goals for the future?
My main goal would be to spread the art of jiu-jitsu as much as possible in my hometown, through organizing events, seminars, competitions, free classes and many more. On top of that, there are some competitions that we would like to participate in, so we have a full plate in the period to come.
Do you compete? How do you see Brazilian Jiu Jitsu like a sport or like Martial Art?
I do compete myself and I love the sport aspect of jiu-jitsu. However, as an instructor, it is very important to take both in consideration and not to neglect one aspect in favor of the other. The simple reason behind that is not every student aspires to be a competitor and we, as instructors, have to provide something for every student that walks through our door.
Do you have any advice for our readers?
The number one advice I give my students is to never quit. No matter how hard it is, if you continue to pursue your goals, you will eventually reach them and the journey will make you a better person, both for you and the people surrounding you. This is not jiu-jitsu only, but a general advice for everything you do in life.