GB: Can you tell the readers at Gracie Barra a little about your background?
Where did you grow up and how did you get started in brazilian jiu-jitsu?
Prof Aleksejs Kalins : Born 1974 in Riga Latvia. Grew up in a boarding school where in age 12 years I saw my first film with Jet Lee. From that moment I knew I wanted to learn Martial Arts. In 2003 I moved to Ireland where I am now.
When I was young I was thinking that the best fight is standing. In 1989 I was started to train Taekwondo and currently I am 3rd dan black belt. Then from 1993 – 1995 special forces where I learned Russian self defence. After 1 year training with my fast progress I attended self defence competition where from 40 people in my weight category I came 11th.
The Army was setting up new Anti Terrorist Team from 20 people where I took the place of self defence instructor. Until now I have experience in : Taekwondo 26 years, Brazilian Jiujitsu 9 years, Boxing 6 years, Hapkido, Judo, Aikido.
GB: Who have been the biggest influences on your jiu-jitsu and what did you learn from each of your professors?
Prof Aleksejs Kalins : In 2006 when I started to train Jiu-Jitsu my first coach John Kavanagh of SBG. There I train three months. There was nothing personal only Business and I left him.Then I find professor Cesar Morcegao who told he is the professor Draculino student and start train with him. Nice man teach a lot and I really loved train with him only one think he never fight, maybe 2-3 times in 7 years.
He organised seminars with stars like Rafael Natal Sapo, Romulo Barral. Team Atos Gustavo Galvao. I attended every seminar and every time I found something new.
I started teaching Jiu-Jitsu in 2012 in Athlone, midlands city. In 2014 I started to teach in Ashbourne. Early in 2015 I attend Chris Bowe GB Dublin seminar with Braulio Estima where I was surprised with the high quality of technical skills and his teaching style.
One month later I met Victor Estima who was in a seminar in Chris Bowe GB Dublin gym where I was surprised even more. In specific training I worked with Victor. Only words I can find is, “he is a Steel Man!” I really Enjoyed it. Then I kept contact with Chris Bowe and organized the first seminar with Chris Bowe in Ashbourne.
Summer 2015 I attended the Braulio Estima summer camp in Northern Ireland. Then from 2016 I start to train with Chris Bowe every week. Last month we have second seminar in Ashbourne with Chris Bowe Gb Dublin. In this moment I am black belt under Victor Estima GB Nottingham.
GB: How did training Jiu-jitsu change your life?
Prof Aleksejs Kalins : From my own I respect any Martial Art practitioner in World.
If you find something that you love you need to work for that with all your heart.
But look at this example: In boxing sparring : jab, hook, uppercut and finish :( you work with this just in sentence from your mind.
Taekwondo in sparring : front kick, torn kick, side kick, tornado kick, spinning hill, back kick and options for jump and finish again you work in sentence.
GB: What do you try to communicate to your students about the benefits of training Jiu-Jitsu?
Prof Aleksejs Kalins : Jiu-jitsu has no limits. You can learn and learn and learn and you will find new options even that you have never seen before!
GB: What is the most important life lesson you have learned from Jiu-Jitsu?
Prof Aleksejs Kalins: “There is the Progress with your Professor’s help and individual progress ” – this is what makes Jiu-jitsu the best in the World!
GB: Where is your Gracie Barra school located? Please tell us about your new facility.
Prof Aleksejs Kalins: Our new GB Ashbourne school is Unit 9, Manufacturing park, Ashbourne, Ireland, Co. Meath
GB: Can you tell us about the exciting things you have planned at the academy?
What programs do you have in the academy for different types of students?
Prof Aleksejs Kalins: We have GBK programs as Beginner, Advanced and Advanced for Competition.
Adults for beginners, advanced, competition. Planning also BarraFit and GB Ashbourne jiu-jitsu for women only.
GB: Starting brazilian jiu-jitsu classes can be a little intimidating for many people.
Prof Aleksejs Kalins : Can you share a few tips for new students to bjj?
Every class I roll with my students. I don’t separate any student.
GB: If you can give a single piece of advice for bjj students who want to improve their games, what would that advice be?
Prof Aleksejs Kalins: With beginners – roll easy, with advanced students advanced roll.
Coach is the example for every one his students. The better I teach them, the better they will be in the future.