Almost everyone who consistently trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can lead you to a close friend, or bond they have made through training. Sam Crook (@samcrookbjj) has an especially heartwarming one! Sam Crook moved to Cameroon from the UK to be the head Jiu Jitsu instructor at “The Francis Ngannou Foundation.”
The Francis Ngannou Foundation is a program “created to enable the youth of Cameroon to take action in ways that make a significant, positive difference in their lives.” They have also opened the first fully equipped martial arts gym in Cameroon. Francis Ngannou hopes to use martial arts as a way to transform others lives the way his life was transformed.
Sam & Franck’s Story
Having moved to Cameroon to teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the Francis Ngannou Foundation as a volunteer, Sam met Franck. Franck (@francktakoudjoubjj) had started training Jiu Jitsu to help him get his mind off the sudden and tragic death of his mother. Eventually, Sam and Franck became so close, that Sam offered to adopt Franck “as he had become like a son to him.”
“… I have been living in Cameroon full-time as a volunteer since 2019, teaching jiu-jitsu to kids at the Francis Ngannou Foundation.
One of my first students was a 14-year-old lad called Franck. Franck was abandoned by his father when he was born, and as his mum didn’t have the means to support him, she sent him to live with his Aunt in the village. He only saw his mum during the school holidays.
In October 2017, Franck’s mum died suddenly from an unexpected medical complication. The first time he ever saw his dad was when he stopped by at the funeral.
While Franck was grieving the loss of his mother, his aunt suggested that he go to the Foundation to train jiu-jitsu, to take his mind off things. This is when we first met…” Read More– Sam Crook
“Sam Crook and Franck Takoudjou on Raspberry Ape Podcast“
Sam and Franck are currently traveling across the UK competing and hosting seminars to raise funds for the adoption, as well as raise money to support Sam’s family in Cameroon. They have also started a Go-Fund-Me for anyone who wants to help them on their journey!
Who is Sam Crook?
Sam Crook is a multiple-time world Black Belt world champion, and also the founder of the BJJ program at the Francis Ngannou Foundation. He moved to Cameroon in 2019 and has ever since been teaching BJJ. However, he recently announced that he will be stepping back from the foundation, while him and Franck travel across the UK raising funds and competing.
Scramble is a high-quality fightwear company that helped make a short video about Sam and Franck to support their journey around the U.K.
The Francis Ngannou Foundation
Founded by famous heavyweight champion UFC Fighter Francis Ngannou, the mission of the foundation is to, “provide the children of Cameroon with the skills to expand their horizons and realize their dreams.” Sam Crook’s Instagram account will show you tons of videos of children in Cameroon training and enjoying the benefits of Jiu Jitsu!
The foundation has built the first gym in Batié Cameroon, Ngannou’s hometown. The Foundation doesn’t teach just Jiu Jitsu, it is a high-quality gym that specializes in many combat sports.
“I want to give an opportunity to children like me who dream of this sport.”– Francis Ngannou
Everyone who trains Jiu Jitsu for a few years probably has a story of a strong bond that was made. Sam and Franck have a heartwarming story about how training Jiu Jitsu can open doors. It also shows what a positive force a foundation like Francis Ngannou’s can do in Cameroon. If you would like to learn more about the foundation, visit their website.
Jack is a BJJ purple belt who holds a bachelors degree in English Literature. He enjoys traveling, reading, and the Bow and Arrow choke. One day he hopes to teach English overseas and become a published author.