Thursday, 8 November 2012

Three Stroke Productions talks to Rachid. BJJ/MMA in Morocco.

Our friends at Three Stroke Combat Studio regularly attend contests and stages across Europe. This time they will meet Rachid, a 34 year old BJJ fighter from Casablanca. I'm sure not many of you out there will know a lot about this city? Rachid not only tells us about combat sports in Morocco, but also about the beauties of his country....

Hi Rachid , introduce yourself and your team:
My name is Rachid Imzara, i am 34 years old and i was born and raised in Casa , since i was a kid i was involved in martial arts. At the age of 10 i did judo for 4 years then i switched to karate kyukushinkai training with my uncle who was a black belt in the Usa, after i got my brown belt,,, i hurt my knee so i stooped training,,, after being away from martial arts, for two years i wanted to get back to training , so in 2003 my friend Rida Mourak opened a jiu-jitsu gym after coming back from Thailand,,, and since then I’ve practicing bjj and i have a purple belt.

Describe your typical day, work, family....
I work Monday to Friday from 8 pm to 17 pm then i go home rest and eat, after i go straight to the gym, i do bjj Monday, Wednesday and Friday and  Tuesday and Thursday i do mma ,i usually go one hour jogging Saturday, my busy schedule i try to spend as much time with my family also whenever i have time i chat with my girlfriend (Yana) who's lives in Ukraine

Can u describe the "scene" in your country as far as BJJ and martial arts are concerned?
Bjj and Mma are still new to in here and not many people know about it, so there aren't many gyms or tournaments to test your level, the first tournament "open morocco bjj" took place in Rabat last year which i finished third in my weight class, and since then no tournament had been organized,,,, as far as combat sports concerned in here, we have many gifted athletes but they need help from people with experience ,,whit my friend tachfine bouachrine who is a professional mixed martial artist and a jiu-jitsu in usa and whit a very limited resources we just opened another bjj and mma gym.

 MMA is growing is the Moroccon scene? events? Team?
 MMA is the very young discipline in Morocco and trainers are usually practitioners of other martial arts disciplines but for the love of mma they choose to teach, it is a good thing but it seems to me but it's not enough,must also have experience in rings and cages . The only MMA tournaments organized in Morocco was the ffc2 Casablanca in 2009 which had the participation of my friend and coach rida mourak, who won in the 1st round.

Currently there are several facilities that incorporate in their mma training programs,,, I hope that it will be a recognition of the sport by one of the federations, to practice and also have more tournaments, and I also hope to have sponsors to sponsor this kind of tournaments and events.

Why did u become a BJJ fighter? What role can a martial art play in education?
I was already fighter when I practiced kyukushinkai after i was introduced to bjj i like it a lot and i think it's completed sport that can be used for self defence and for many real life situations  and also it can be practiced at any age "bjj for life"
+ it teaches you discipline, respect and your confidence also, to be right mind in right body

Movies such as casanegra e ali zaia show a new picture of your city. This is very interesting for    us is life for young boys and girls in Casablanca?   
Casablanca is growing very fast and young boys and girls in here are getting very influenced by American and European culture, and you can see that from the way they're dressed, the music they listen to and the places they go to in order o eat( kfc, MC Donald’s , burger king,,,,)and the places they hang out, there is also the traditional side of Casablanca in the old district,,, also the tourist side (the former MIDINA, mosque hassan 2,,,)

What is you opinion about "drugs"?
as an athlete i don't like drugs because of the effect is they have on the body and the mind

Do you like music? What are you favourite artists?
I like music,  listen to pretty much all kind of music , so when i am working out i like listening to linking park, sublime , iron maiden, and when i am hanging out whit my girlfriend yana i like listening to jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and the list goes on..

Do you follow any other sport? Any favorite football team?
I watch lot of football, and my favourite teams are wydad of Casablanca, fc Barcelona, and Manchester united

Morocco  looks exciting ..with increasing number of visitors from Europe ... we need some recommendations for our readers... tell us the 2/3 best places visitors shouldn't miss .... (Nice venues,  historial sites, shopping...anything...)
 In Morocco, every city is unique and has its own charm ;

- FES is one of the cities that i recommend people to go visit, it's one of the oldest and it's called "the scientific capital" and it has one of the oldest universities in the world called "University Al Quaraouiyine" and it has lot of beautiful old and traditional architecture,,,
   -Marrakech is another city that i recommend, it's know by a place called "JamaĆ¢ El Fna" was listed by UNESCO in 2001 as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, also known by it’s artisan art,,
  -Essaouira is a coastal city, it’s also know by it music festival "gnawa festival" which a music unique to this area of the country , the city is wind so it's ideal for people who like kite surfing and fly surfing

Are you inspired by any fighter present or past?
 Fedor Emelianenko is my favoritr fighter because he's a complete fighter and i like his character inside and outside the ring, i would love to meet up him one day,,,

Have you ever needed to use your fighting skills outside the mat?
Yes, i had to defend myself,,, but always i try to avoid problems

We now suffer from a deep economic crunch involving high unemployment rate...what's your opinion about it? what do people think about current situation in Europe?
I think it's a very difficult situation for Europeans and for Moroccans who live in there, and i know many Moroccans who came back home because of the crisis

Do  global crises show it's symptoms in Morocco aswell?
Many countries got touched by the current crises and we too but not too,, and we can see it in from the money that Moroccans living in Europe usual bring it's becoming less,
and also Europeans investing in morocco is becoming less , but with the way the economical management goes in here is helping us keeping an equilibrium

Any plans to take part in some contests in the next few months?
 I train regularly, as soon as he will be a competition, I'd be there,,, I also hope to participate in the championship Europe at Lisbon
 I want to thank my team and all my teamates ( Reda, Tachfine, Alika, El Oukili, Abdelali) my friend Luca and Three Stroke Productions for this interview and support