Planet BJJ have had the privilege of interviewing one of the UK’s top prospects Sam Crook. Sam in currently traveling and training full time in Brazil. Sam is from Torquay in the South West of England, he is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt and British Champion. We caught up with Sam to see how his travels were going.
You have been in Brazil for some time now, how did the opportunity to train in the BJJ capital come about?
Well, after losing my first match at the Europeans last time, I just decided that I was gonna go abroad and train full time for a while, and see what results I could achieve. I asked Dennis Asche of Connection Rio if he would be interested in sponsoring me, and he was up for it, so here I am. It definitely makes it easier not having to pay out for accommodation while here in Brazil!
How would you describe the difference training in Brazil when compared to back in the UK? In terms of sessions, skill and facilities?
At my gym back home, Fightworx Academy, there are no daytime classes so one huge difference for me is training more often, with hard sparring twice a day. Also a larger portion of the classes are dedicated to sparring, which I think is good. At Fightzone, Rico teaches techniques but the training is more focused on positional sparring, which I think helps you improve a lot faster. We will usually spend 10 minutes trying to sweep from guard and 10 minutes trying to pass on top with rotating partners before full sparring starts. The sparring here is always hard, which is tiring on the body but I think has made me much sharper for competition, and helped to make me fight more aggressively.
You seem to almost always medal in recent competitions, what’s been your highlight competition for 2014?
Well I competed 8 times in 9 weeks here in Brazil, but at the last competiton I fell and cracked a rib so have been out of action since then. I managed to medal at every tournament, with 3 golds, 2 silvers and 3 bronze. I think the one I am most proud of here was the Sul Americano, as I had 3 fights and submitted all my opponents after only 1 minute. I also won the British Open earlier in the year before I came to Brazil.
What are the main competitions you are looking forward to and how are you preparing for them?
I wanted to compete more here in Rio but as I am injured my focus at the moment is only on the Europeans in Lisbon at the end of January. I am staying in shape with really tough strength and conditioning workouts and drilling, so even though I can’t train normally I still feel very confident in my abilities. If anything I think I will fight harder in the competition because of this. For me training is easy, but not training properly is much more of a challenge mentally.
Other than BJJ, what else are you spending time doing in Brazil?
No partying as I’m trying to stay focused – drilling, studying technique, strength and conditioning, swimming in the pool and at the beach, eating healthy and just chilling out at the house. There are loads of people staying at the CR house so there’s always something going on – if not we sometimes go to watch a film at the cinema on the weekend.
Thanks very much for your time Sam, one more thing. Are there any shoutouts or special mentions you would like to give?
Yeah thanks to Connection Rio for sponsoring me and giving me a place to stay, SCRAMBLE for sorting me out with amazing clothes and fightwear, Rico Vieira for being an awesome teacher and all of the beasts I’ve trained with here in Rio for making me a better competitor (there are too many to mention)!
Thanks Sam, we wish you all the best!
You can keep up to date with Sam’s training and travels on his very own blog here:https://collarandsleeve.wordpress.com/