Purple belt Edwin Najmi on Worlds preparation: “You have to be different from the rest”

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Edwin trains at his academy, GB Northridge. Photo: Erin Herle

Edwin trains at his academy, GB Northridge. Photo: Erin Herle

One of the many competitors entered into the 2014 World Championship is purple belt Edwin Najmi of GMA Gracie Barra Northridge. A student under multiple-time world champion Romulo Barral, the drive for success has clearly been passed down.

While he’s already won the Pan title four times and he’s accomplished the Abu Dhabi WPJJC gold medal as of last month, it’s the world title that he has yet to claim. He’s made it to the podium, but he’s hoping this year he’ll stand at the top spot.

I talked with Edwin about his tournament season so far and what differentiates him from the rest of the hungry competitors out there. See what he had to say:

GRACIEMAG: How have you done throughout your tournaments so far this year?

EDWIN NAJMI: So far in 2014 I’ve won gold at the FIVE Grappling California, Pans, Abu Dhabi WPJJC, IBJJF San Francisco Open and Las Vegas Spring Open. Also, I won triple gold at the IBJJF Chicago Spring Open. It feels great to accomplish all of that so far and win all those tournaments. But I want the Worlds gold medal really bad. None of the other accomplishments combined mean the same to me as a IBJJF World Championship gold medal.

Describe a typical busy day for you.

Typical training day: I train two times a day for about 2-3 hours each session. That includes drills, specific training and a lot of sparring. Between those sessions I balance my time between managing websites and social media accounts, taking online college classes, and writing articles when I have time. Also, I do strength training 2-3 times a week depending on how close the tournament is. I don’t like to do any conditioning, I just train more Jiu-Jitsu.

What is your approach to training when rolling with the lower belts or non-competitive training partners?

When I’m training with the higher belts and my toughest training partners, everyone is trying to kill each other every day. But when training with the lower belts or someone that’s not a competitor I always have a plan of what I’m going to do. There’s no point when training with them to submit them a bunch of times using your A-game. I choose a specific game and keep on doing it over and over again, and improve those positions I’m not good at. Essentially, you’re making the sparring session into a specific training without the sparring partner knowing. I honestly do this sometimes without even realizing I’m doing it.

What do you think is your strongest quality in Jiu-Jitsu and competition?

I truly believe that the reason I have had a lot of success in tournaments recently is because I’m stronger mentally. I believe in myself way more now and I’m doing everything with passion. If you don’t do something with your heart and passion, you can’t expect to be successful in it. Whether it’s training or competing, you have to have the will to be the best. I learned this from my professor, Romulo Barral.

Every Jiu-Jitsu competitor all around the world is training hard for the worlds, that’s no secret. You have to have the desire and attitude to win more than anyone else. You have to be different from the rest.


Don’t forget to register for the 2014 World Championship before the deadline of May 19!

You can register at www.ibjjf.org

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