'He took a piece of my heart to space': UAE Jiu Jitsu community overjoyed with AlNeyadi's video

The astronaut dressed in a Jiu Jistu gi - the traditional kimono-style attire worn by the sport’s athletes- posted a six-minute video about the sport

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Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Sat 6 May 2023, 7:41 AM

Last updated: Sat 6 May 2023, 4:19 PM

Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the country erupted in joy when UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi posted a video about the sport. “I feel like he took a piece of my heart into space,” said Jiu Jitsu champion and Olympian Faisal Al Ketbi. “It was amazing. He is truly the pride of the nation. He took Jiu Jitsu to space and showed it to the world.”

It was on Thursday that AlNeyadi dressed in a Jiu Jistu gi - the traditional kimono-style attire worn by the sport’s athletes- posted a six-minute video about the sport. He outlined how the martial art – a key pillar of the physical education syllabus in UAE schools - has helped foster skills of discipline, focus and adaptability that he has transferred into both his preparation for the six-month mission, and now, during his life amongst the stars in micro gravity.

According to Al Ketbi, the video sent the entire Jiu Jitsu community in the UAE into overdrive. “All my groups started pinging as everyone started sharing the video in all groups,” he said. “Everyone was reposting it and discussing it. I showed it to my children. Several coaches showed it to their students. It was a proud moment for all of us.”

Best story

A coach who teaches Jiu Jitsu in the UAE said it was the best story to come out of the community. “This has impacted the sport in a big way,” said Professor Luis Carreno. “This video has put the martial art in front of thousands of people and is going to increase interest in it.”

Carreno said he was happy that an astronaut put Jiu Jitsu on the map. “Jiu Jitsu is a lot about physics,” he said. “The movements, the techniques and the methodology of it is very much linked to the laws of physics. I am sure that with this video, a lot of people in the scientific community will get interested in Jiu Jitsu and it is going to refine the sport further.”

Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of the Asian Ju-Jitsu Union and Senior Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said that AlNeyadi is a credit and inspiration to the UAE. “He has put the sport of jiu-jitsu on an entirely new map, taking us from mats to stars,” he said.

Al Ketbi also pointed out that the sport adds a lot of value to people’s lives. “As AlNeyadi mentioned in his video, Jiu Jitsu has a lot of strength points that can add value to the lives of everyone who practices it,” he said. “It trains people to be patient, to dream big and to achieve bigger.”

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour

On Friday, AlNeyadi followed up his video with a wish to the athletes competing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam (ADGS) World Tour taking place at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City in the capital city from Friday to Sunday.

The championship, considered one of the most significant events in the global jiu-jitsu calendar, will make its final stop of the season in the UAE capital after visiting Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Sydney, and London.

Dubai-based Filipino athlete Eliecha Malilay said she was inspired to watch AlNeyadi’s video, and it provided her with a much-needed boost for the ADGS weekend. “It gave an impactful meaning of how Jiu Jitsu can relate to anything in our lives,” said the 18-year-old full time Jiu Jitsu athlete.

“Seeing the video made me so proud of how this sport has evolved and helped a lot of people. As what Sultan mentioned, Jiu Jitsu really helped him in his preparation for his mission in outer space and up to this point, he’s still learning techniques while he’s in outer space. So, it inspires me to learn more in my competition this weekend.”


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