Interviews

Shadia Bseiso: If I’m Not On-Stage, I’m On the Mat 6 Days/Week Training BJJ

Shadia Bseiso is a Middle East Music Award-winning Jordanian presenter, so how did she get her start in BJJ? Shadia will be taking part in the Abu Dhabi World Pro this April and she will be fighting under the white belt/ 72 Kg category.

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1- Shadia you’re a TV presenter and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practitioner. What made you choose Brazilian Jiu-jitsu?

I’m a TV/live events presenter based in Dubai. My favourite MMA gym in Dubai, Pride Fitness Center, held a BJJ seminar in July 2013 and started offering BJJ beginner classes. I attended the seminar and started going to class which is taught by our Coach Carlos Calderon/ Association Aranha. It looked very intimidating and complicated at first, I thought I would never understand any of it. However, Carlos has a very effective teaching approach and really explains concepts very well and Pride Fitness has a very healthy and positive gym environment so it was the perfect setting to learn Brazilian Jiujitsu. I was hooked! All my teammates know – if I’m not filming or on-stage, I’m on the mat 6 days per week training. Thanks to our master, gym and teammates -it has been such a great, rewarding experience every step of the way.

2- Is it you first time competing at the Abu Dhabi World Pro? What are your thoughts on this tournament?

I started competing 3 months after taking on BJJ. The first tournament I participated in was in the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Open Cup 2013 in Dubai and my teammates were also taking part so I thought – why not! I won a bronze medal in the open weight category and this got me even more excited to train hard and to compete more often.

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I can never forget my first competition – I was just so happy to be there and to be able allowed to take part because I am just a beginner. I never expected to be on the podium and I remember getting so nervous before my first fight – even more nervous than live TV presenting! It was really fun!
I participated in 2 more competitions – Emirates Super Cup 2013 and won silver in my weight category, silver in the open weight category and in the Abu Dhabi Jiu- Jitsu Open Cup 2014 I won silver in the open weight category.
I think competitions are a great target to train for. I’m obviously not a professional athlete but I do still feel like I make small sacrifices to maintain a good training schedule 6 days per week. Therefore, testing your level and seeing the result of training has a very positive effect.

3- Being Jordanian and knowing that Jordan is one of the toughest arab countries in BJJ. Did that affect your decision to join this sport?

I was introduced to martial arts by my sister Arifa Bseiso – the captain of the women’s national boxing team of Jordan and 60kg boxing champion. She’s also the “behind-the-scenes presenter” of Desert Force MMA Championship on MBC Action. She introduced me to boxing and together we learned Muay Thai in Thailand in the summer of 2012. I continued learning Muay Thai at Pride Fitness in Dubai and it was really fun I got to incorporate what I learned at the gym with my work as I filmed two videos related to Thai boxing – one for PepsiCo’s Gatorade and another for Nike Middle East. The Nike video is online on youtube – type in “Shadia Bseiso, Nike Arab Women & Sports” to watch it http://goo.gl/rS8Kz7

I never thought I would train or compete in BJJ. This sport had such a positive effect on my life, learning new things in class and practicing drills every night makes me feel accomplished and really happy.
My introduction to the sport happened in Dubai. However, my trips back home to Jordan are very different now. I get excited about booking a trip to Jordan because I know I will be spending time with my family and training with our world-class Jordanian athletes! As you know we have fantastic BJJ gyms and fighters in Jordan and I met and trained with a number of them.

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4- Who are your favorite fighters / And who’s hot at the next Abu Dhabi World Pro?

There are a number of fantastic Arab and Jordanian fighters who are competing worldwide and make us all so proud. At the Abu Dhabi World Pro 2014, I’m excited about watching 18-year old Jordanian champion, Brown Belt Hamzeh Rasheed. Hamzeh is a fantastic athlete and a great teacher! I trained with him recently on my last visit to Jordan and he inspired me to train smart- and start running again! I’m a big fan of Hamzeh & his Black Belt brother Haidar Rasheed. They are both so young yet they achieved so much through persistence and hard work. They are great role- models, Mashallah!

5 -What category will you be fighting at ?

White-belt @ 72 KG inshalla! I usually fight @ 74 but fighting at 72 KG is a good first step towards fighting at an even lighter weight in the future.

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