Ram Ananda of Cobrinha BJJ is proof that age is just a number. At 36 years young, he won the brown belt light-featherweight division at the 2014 World Championship–his second adult world title.
Ram has been training for five and a half years and has been training full-time under Rubens Charles Cobrinha for three and a half years. In that time he won the 2012 Worlds at blue belt, the 2012 Master and Seniors Worlds at purple belt, the 2013 Masters and Seniors Worlds at brown belt and now the 2014 Worlds at brown belt. His ability to toggle back and forth between adult and master and produce the same results shows that the right mentality is what produces results.
I spoke with Ram about his journey in Jiu-Jitsu and the mindset it takes to win as much as he has in such a short amount of time:
GRACIEMAG: How did you get into Jiu-Jitsu?
RAM ANANDA: I got into BJJ cause there was an open mat in San Francisco at a junior college. I rolled with a portly Filipino guy, this turtle of a man about 5’4″ and probably 190 pounds– not strong at all. He was a blue belt. He just laid on me and beat me up in turtle subbing me a bunch. I’m highly competitive, so since then to see a man non-athletic at all kick my ass so badly, I was hooked on BJJ.
I moved to the Philippines for nursing school so I was doing that full time but I still wanted to train BJJ, so I found a club taught by a blue belt. There was one other blue belt there as well. I trained when I could but it wasn’t much. After a year I had a break from school for a month. I went home to LA during that time and I found a place next to my house called Hollywood BJJ. I trained there every day on my vacation. Sean Williams was the black belt there at the time. On my last day there he promoted me! I wasn’t his student but I guess he saw I loved BJJ and worked hard.
What is your approach to training?
Training is effortless, I love it. As long as my diet is right then it’s easy to train. In terms of “success”, I set goals like no one else. I make sure I’m more mentally prepared than anyone else as well. Physically, I played soccer and I’ve always had good cardio.
Are there any differences between adult and master divisions?
I’ve only done the masters division three times. Honestly I’ll only do masters if it has the title “Worlds” in it. It’s a good way to do tournaments. There isn’t a big difference between the two age divisions. I was expecting a dropoff, but the guys at masters are freaking strong. Most guys over 30 have that serious old man strength.
The most common complaint I always hear older guys say is, “I wish I started BJJ when I was younger!” I am proof that it’s just a self imposed limiting belief.
How was your run this year at the 2014 Worlds? Toughest match?
I had five matches with one submission. In my toughest match I was losing 0-6 in my quarterfinal, 36 seconds to go and the guy knew he was winning so he was just running away. Time never runs so fast when you’re losing. He pulled closed guard, somehow I got out, went for a footlock, couple ankle pops with 13 seconds to go and I had won that match.