They say to be great, you must enter with boldness. To be professional, you must act with attitude. To stay great, you must be consistent. To win? To win you must be Ashraf Shishani. A truly Dedicated mentor, instructor, and a coach that was determined enough, that was driven by his love to the art of fighting achieved an irrevocable role in the ARABS’ MMA community. From working with Desert Force and aiding in organizing some events, to the Shishani Submission Systems; a true mixture of blood, sweat, and tears.[/one_half] [one_half_last]
“I am always there, training and teaching. I guess I ain’t that good when it comes to advertising and doing PR work. I can never claim I am the best, being a trainer is always a learning process at its own.”
1. Ashraf Shishani, what have you been working on lately?
“Getting a good sun tan. Hahaha. I am currently teaching at Makhai MMA Academy. I am in charge of the MMA class and the submission wrestling class.”
2. Who are you currently training, and who do you think is the most successful till now?
“We welcome whoever comes to train with us at Makhai Academy, we had few Arab fighters doing their training camp with us from other Arab countries, such as Osama Saeed from Iraq and Mohammad Alenizi and Fahed Alotaibi from Kuwait. We had Mohammad Abed doing his full training camp which was almost 9 weeks. Though others will claim not. Currently we have a good team fighting out of Makhai, Thabet Agha, Ahmad Beyouk and Hamzah Nafush who already have fights under their belts, we have few more fighters we are working to get them into fighting such as Mohammad Shoto, Malek Ghordlo, Younes Shamaileh, Jafar Tamimi and Anzawer Yakhouth.”
3. What made you who you are today “one of the best MMA trainers in the region” and who do you look up for as ‘mentor’ when it comes to coaching?
“I can never claim I am the best, being a trainer is always a learning process at its own. But what ever success is there, it’s always from Allah. I think what helped me was having a clear mind on knowing how to put things together, I did boxing in my youth, did BJJ and wrestling. For me watching an MMA fight Is a learning experience, most people love to see to 2 grown men beating each other, which is fine, but for me it was to collect info and techniques and learn as much is possible. I can’t say I have a mentor, but I am more influenced by schools, I prefer the team quest style of fighting such as Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen. Clinch work, dirty boxing, non stop ground and pound, always putting pressure.”
4. What made you switch to MMA, being a BJJ black-belt originally?
“Well the interest in MMA was even before I started BJJ, had a few MMA fight videos, and me with my brothers and few friends were like trying to do what ever they do, hahaha, so imagine how it went. Eventually I found out that there is BJJ in Jordan, did a little research and got the contact of my coach Zaid Mirza, went in to watch the class and the next class I was already on the mats. So the interest was always there from the beginning, and training BJJ and wrestling pushed me more into MMA.”
5. How did you become a big fan of Catch Wrestling?
“I started doing Wrestling while training BJJ. And my coach Shamyl Isaakov who is originally from Chechnya. Always told me about carni and circus wrestling. An era where the circuses used to open challenges for the public in every town they went to fight against the circuses strong wrestler. He introduced to me a different approach about submissions, so I started to research it more and more, which lead me to ooen my mind more about the grappling game, finding names like Karl Gotch, Billy Robinson of the old generation, and Erik Paulson, Josh Barnett, Kris Iastkavich and Larren Umphlett in the present.
The approach was different. It was more dominant, more brutal, and with every possible submission you can use, not like in the ibjjf rules.
And as Josh Barnett said: catch wrestling is the violent art.
So mostly what I teach is a combo between all grappling techniques, but preferably catch as catch can techniques.”
6. What is the reason behind leaving Team Mirza, DFTC (Desert Force Training Center), and Desert Force?
“Well it is more of starting my own thing rather than leaving, and I think it was the proper time to be independent. Specially after getting more involved in the MMA scene. at DFTC it was hard for me to focus on the fighters as there was a big number of new students in class. About desert force, it is the same reason as DFTC, I needed to able to focus 100% with my fighters, and I wanted to start working more on the Shishani Subimission systems and seminars.”
7. Shishani Submission Systems, where do you plan on going with that?
“Well I am currently working on putting a curriculum to the system. there is nothing new under the sun, only rediscovered, so I am putting up a curriculum based on what’s the most useful techniques for your grappling game, adding in a few twists to make it more effective, I always say: keep your techniques simple, yet always make em brutal.”
8. Do you feel responsibility when you upload such tutorial videos and do you take into consideration the comments from fans/practitioners?
“Of course there is always responsibility, I would never show something that is fake or might not work, I try it many times in live rolling or sparring before I shoot it on video. Comments, well I wish I get more of those. This is a trial and error thing, and criticism and comments help to fix mistakes.”
9. Can you say that a certain technique won’t work for me?
“Yes you can, as I can say a certain technique doesn’t work for me too. Fighters should use techniques they are comfortable with.”
10. We saw you had your first seminar outside Jordan, in Kuwait, how did it go? Is this the start of many similar events in the Gulf Region?
[divider] THE WISE WORDS…
“I got an invitation from a social network friend, the owner of urban team Kuwait, Abdullah Alsaqaabi, whom I’ve known for a good few years, and we share the same amount of craziness and love for grappling, so I went down to Kuwait for a 3 day seminar in June if I recall. It was a great experience for me, and I had the honor to have a few big names from Kuwait joining in such as Ahmad Albussairi and Ray Elbe. I am already in talks with Abdullah for a second visit, so hopefully will visit them again before the end of the year.”
“Keep your techniques simple, yet always make em’ brutal….”