Hello Nejc, can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello! I am Nejc Hodnik from Slovenia, and I am a BJJ brown belt and Judo black belt. I train in Gracie Barra Ljubljana and Judo club Koroška.
Is it your first time participating in Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship?
No, this is my second time participating in ADWJJC. Certainly, the most memorable moment was stepping in the Jiu Jitsu Arena for the first time and seeing how nice it is.
How is your training going leading up to the ADWPJJC?
Training is going well, luckily there are no restrictions for training because of Covid in Slovenia, so the gym is full, and we can train as hard as possible with different sparring partners. I also managed to do some training at Braulio’s gym in Birmingham with Jacob Zajkowski to sharpen my game and test it with different sparring partners. It was an amazing experience.
I am also doing S&C training in VigorGround with my coach Matej Hočevar, who is doing an amazing job, making me stronger and faster every day.
How did the sport of Jiu Jitsu impact you on a personal level? Why do you recommend youth to practice the sport?
BJJ helped me a lot when I was growing up with my self-confidence. But it’s also a very interesting sport that keeps me thinking and wanting to do more. To me, it seems similar to a video game, you keep learning new skills, “Leveling Up” like in game when you get a new skill or weapon and can do more new things. I feel it’s the same in Jiu Jitsu, which makes it very addicting and fun.
And that is one of the things that is good for youths, as they usually get bored quickly. However, if they see what they can do when they learn new things and use them the next time in sparring, it rewards them every time they put some effort in and that can help them a lot in their lives also outside the mats. Plus, they are physically active, which is also beneficial to their growth and health.
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 really like the work that they do in Abu Dhabi in organizing the event. It’s really on another level and I think there is currently no other competition that is so well organized and nice as it is the World Pro in Abu Dhabi.
Who influenced you the most in developing your BJJ game?
Probably my BJJ professor Carlos Maia and also my judo coach Ruslan Yankovskyy.
Would you like to give any advice to our readers that would help them either on the mat or in their lives?
I’d say it’s important to enjoy their time on the mats as much as possible, to look at BJJ as a game and don’t stress too much.
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