Allow us to introduce the first member of our team of sponsored athletes. We met Philip a couple of years ago, and the first impression about him hasn't changed a bit ever since. He's a really mellow, down to earth person, who's always ready to roll. He is the perfect fit to represent ISSO
because of his personality and achievements.
Current rank: Black belt under Petar Pecija (Max Carvalho/Zé Radiola)
Most recent tournament success:
Top 8 at the Ne-Waza World Championships 2014 in Paris
Top 8 at the Ne-Waza European Championships in 2015 Almere
Austrian state and national champion 2015
1st Place at the Hungarian Open (Purple)
2nd Place at the Austrian Adidas Open (Purple)
2nd Place at the Pitbull Westcoast Cup (Gi) (Purple)
3rd Place at the Pitbull Westcoast Cup (Nogi) (Advanced)
Participant at On the Ground #1 Invitational
When did you start BJJ?
I started training BJJ six years ago at Gracie Barra Vienna under Sandro "Pacoca" Santos. I am still training there but nowadays my teacher there is Petar Pecija who took the school over from Pacoca.
- What is your goal with jiu jitsu? Do you want to place in top at one of the major competitions, or you just doing it for the fun?
I definitely do it because i have a ton of fun doing it. While i also really love to compete and the competitive aspect of BJJ, a huge part of me is enjoying BJJ because of the social aspect.
I got to know so many amazing and awesome people through BJJ in different countries, of which many got very close friends to me that i like to visit regularly. This is also another reason why i like to compete a lot. You always get to see some friends, meet some new ones and see a lot of different countries and places.
Coming back to the goal which i want to reach with jiu jitsu, its definitely to become the possible best bjj version of myself, keep competing at a high level and collect some good results, to keep improving, passing my knowledge on to others and making BJJ a more well knowen sport, at least in Austria. Too many people don’t know what they're missing. And last but not least, I’d like to be able to train and roll until I am bedridden
- Do you prefer gi or nogi? Do you practice them equally?
I definitely train more in the gi because our school is very gi focused but I do enjoy nogi as well.
I belong to the people who think that they both complement each other and training both helps your overall jiu jitsu. While you learn to be really precise and technical in the gi, with all the possibilities of grips and guards you can do there, you learn to be more tight and about transitioning from positions to positions in nogi, because of the lack of grips and hence that, less control over all. I also believe that you benefit a lot more from athleticism in nogi than in the gi, because the control possibilities of the gi can slow down the pace and speed of another person a lot.
- Tell us a little bit about the BJJ scene in Vienna
The scene in Vienna is really small. There are only two schools, including us, that are focusing just on BJJ. There are a lot of MMA schools, but their focus is more on the MMA aspects of BJJ and nogi. Lately though, I've seen a growing number of people from MMA based schools competing at local tournaments. Id also say that over the last two years, 've seen a growing interest in BJJ and groundwork by other other martial arts like traditional Jiu Jitsu, where a lot of people start to crosstrain BJJ.
From a competitive point of view, there are only a very few competitions in Austria that take place in Austria in general. If you want to pay a visit to one of those, I'd recommend the Austrian Adidas Open or the Salzburger Landesmeisterschaften to you, which always draw a larger number of international competitors.
- We know you've been skating for quite some time now. If you would have to choose between the two, which one would you pick and why?
At the moment? BJJ. I do enjoy both for reasons and I think that some of the reasons count for both. I really like the creative and challenging aspect of both and most important, the individuality. You can and always will create your own moves, sometimes on purpose or sometimes accidentally when you're trying to fix a problem with a technique. There will also always be an obstacle you want to do a special trick on as there will always be a certain guy at the gym that you want to tap or beat. Last but not least, nobody will ever do a kickflip the same ways as nobody will ever do a simple butterfly hook sweep the same way. Everybody has his own preferences in foot stances, grips and set ups. That’s the beauty of both.
So why would I pick BJJ? First, though its very physical, I feel like its less injury prone when you train smart. Second you can do it all year long without having to worry about the weather. Its simple as that. Besides that I also really the competitive aspect of BJJ and being able to test myself against others in competitions, while I consider skating a very non competitive sport, that you can do just for the sake of itself.
- You always seems to be happy and relaxed. Do you feel nervous in competitions?
Very much. That’s only my poker face ;).
I thinks its very important to feel a certain amount of nervousness when you compete. If you don’t feel nervous, you most likely don’t care about the competition, the results or winning and I think that’s what competitions are mostly about. Of course, you can also compete for the fun or experience and there’s nothing wrong with that but if you really want to win, I think it’s a good sign if you feel a healthy dose of competition jitters. Its what makes you give the extra 10% that maybe will win you a match.
Besides that, I am mostly happy and relaxed because I can do what I love and enjoy doing the most.
- What is your favourite submission?
Pretty much any choke from the back because I consider it the most dominant position but I also really like all kind of arm triangles and variations like Darce chokes.
- Looking at your game you are more of a technical player. Do you lift weights or do any strength conditioning?
I used to do much more strength training when I started doing BJJ. Nowadays I don’t have that much time anymore. In general id say, weightlifting is something that absolutely everybody that does sports should do. Mainly not only to get stronger, which is a nice benefit, but for injury prevention. Strong muscles don’t only make you stronger but they also protect your joints and ligaments and help you recover faster. I think that’s an aspect many people ignore when they think about weightlifting for BJJ or in general.
So do I think its necessary? If you want to roll and do sports for a long time, for sure. I try to get some strength work done 2- 3 times a week and my routines include a lot of the classic big lifts, a lot of stability work and kettlebell exercises mixed with bodyweight and polymetric exercises.
As for conditioning I don’t think its really necessary because you already build a lot of sport specific conditioning by rolling.
- Favourite BJJ practitioner?
I really like to watch people with a distinct and exciting style, like Roberto Satoshi Souza, Keenan Cornelius, Clark Gracie or Leandro Lo.
My favourite competitor of all time is, without a doubt Marcelo Garcia. You can never go wrong with Marcelo, right? He just has it all. The technique, the style, the attitude, the resume and most importantly the personality and smile.
- Any shout outs to anyone?
I am going to keep this really generic. Shout outs to my coach Petar Pecija, for always beating the crap out of me. The whole team at Gracie Barra Vienna, for keeping me sharp and giving me a second family. Wilhelm Erber and VJ Ramos for being the most awesome and motivating training partners you can wish for. Thank you for always supporting me and having my back. I love you. Daniel Nesyba and his Physio-Box for keeping my body together and working and last but not least, everybody that I had the pleasure to roll with over the years and shared the tatami with. Never forget that it’s your training partners that make you grow the most and always be thankful and humble on and off the mat. Being able to train is a privilege that not everybody has, so appreciate your time on the mat and make the most of it. And if you should ever come to Vienna, just drop by in our school. We are always welcoming. Over and out :)