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UAEJJ Lifestyle! Part 2: The first month. Follow Yasmin Sewgobind in her UAEJJ journey!

Nederlandse black belt Yasmin Sewgobind is op avontuur! In deel 1: UAEJJ Lifestyle! Part 1: The arrival konden we al lezen over het begin van haar nieuwe avontuur, vandaag neemt Yasmin ons mee in haar eerste maand in Abu Dhabi!

So far so good! Even though there are many stories about teaching jj in Abu Dhabi it seems that for me is all in my favor! I have a great apartment, friendly roommates, great school with a principle that supports jj (very important), a wonderful coach to work with, enthousiastic students and good training in the night. Besides my jj lifestyle, I also figured out that my dear friends from zouk lives about 10 minutes away from my apartment and that they will lauch a new weekly social in the street where I live.. (15min drive). I have a good schedule to work with, different than the army. Im very grateful for all and I have faith that this new lifestyle will be a great experience!!

Friday 13th of March 2015
After being here for a month time to let you know how things are here and how it is with me! Let me first start to say that I’m doing great! It’s crazy how you can just flip your life by moving to another country and change jobs. I’m experiencing another lifestyle and I’m enjoying the new journey. Read here about my thoughts so far about my UAE lifestyle!

I live in a vibrant neighbourhood in the center of Abu Dhabi on walking distance from the WTC Mall, in a spacious 3 bedroom hotel-appartment , just two floors under the rooftop with swimmingpool and the gym. Yes, just like that. Sounds good? I confirm, it is! In my building lives about 40 other jiu jitsu coaches, but 95% of them work for the army. I live with two female coaches. Most of the coaches are from Brazil. I work 45 minutes away from where I live at the Al Maha Girls School in Al Falah and work together with Fernanda Cardoso. She picks me every morning 7 am sharp. We teach 4 classes a day from Sunday till Thursday and 2 times a week on Monday & Tuesday we teach afterclass for 35 girls. The afterclass is for those girls who wants to train more than once a week Jiu Jitsu, unfortunately we have limited space for all the girls.

For the regular classes we have almost 350 students from 9 till 15 years old. Jiu Jitsu for girls is a subject the girls can choose, this is different than for boys schools where Jiu Jitsu is mandatory. The nice thing for us, is that we get girls who choose Jiu Jitsu. Ofcourse we have some girls who are more motivated than other girls, but in general our girls enjoy jiu itsu! The jj programm at the Al Maha school is new and started in September 2014. Bare in mind that jiu jitsu is a sport which is completely different than anything else, so the coach who started before me had to first teach them basic movements. When we started, we basicly started at the beginning of jiu jitsu. So showing them their first sweeps and submissions, but also positions like the back mount. It’s really nice to see how they develop from a beginning stage. I have a great partner to teach with and already in a month there is a big difference in their skills, attitude and motivation.


It is awesome to see how jj made already this impact in the girls life..and this is the beginning! And besides that,we are receiving appreciation from the girls which makes it all worth it!!

Besides teaching at the Al Maha school, I got after 3 weeks a new extra job offered to teach at the “club” . The club is a jiu jitsu programm for the best girls of the afterclass in Abu Dhabi. The club is also a new project for girls and in total there are 3 clubs. One in Al Ain runned by Angelica Vieira and one in AL Gharbia runned by Marina Ribeiro.

The club of Abu Dhabi is runned by Tami Medeiros Maia. All the clubs have two coaches and Im asked to work with Tami 4 times a week from 4 till 6 pm at the Al Reef school in Al Shahama. A great opportunity to work with the best and motivated girls together with head coach Tami. Tami is one of the best female black belts with a crazy spiderguard in Abu Dhabi and is married with Helder Medeiros, one of the top players and coaches coming from Leo and Ricardo Vieira! I am very flattered to get this job offered so fast, but eventhough this is a great chance, I had to think really hard if I had to take it. But right now I’m giving it a try! This means I’m leaving 7 am my house, come back 7 pm to my place and then I leave 8 pm for my own training and be back around 10.30 pm.

Take a shower, have a shake or a small meal and jump into my bed. Let’s see how long I can keep this schedule up! It’s tight hehe. Unfortunately I can’t make pictures of the girls or school due the law.

Jiu Jitsu
With soooo many high level Jiu Jitsu pratitioners on such a small surface, it’s one of the best places in the world right now to train Jiu Jitsu. In Abu Dhabi the biggest place to train for the coaches is in Zayed Sport City in FGB Arena which is funded by Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
In FGB Arena most coaches trains, but there all also other gyms like the new team of Igor Silva and Primal Gym. However FGB Arena is one for team UAE JJ (everybody works for Palms Sports is UAE JJ) there are in the arena different spaces, different times and different coaches to train with. Just think about one big location with several ‘teams’.

Ofcourse as a curious soul I had to try all the classes but with limited time and energy you can’t just train every where, so the first decision had to be made. I got in touch with Filipe Sagat and Luanna who I know since 2007 when I trained in Sao Paulo at Yamasaki academy with Murilo Santana and Barbosa´s academy. They invited me to train with them at 20.30. This training is lead by coach Bobby, aka Helder Medeiros, coming from the Checkmat League. This class has also a very strong female league with girls like Luanna Alzuguir, Vanessa Oliviera, Tami Medeiros and Jessica Santos. The classes are great and the techniques are those you need to know to upgrade your jiu jitsu game . It´s the place to be to develop yourself as a good black belt. I mostly train with the girls here and the guys train together, but not because it’s not allowed to mix, just because it’s nice to train with people from your own weight ;) This team is also the homebase of Alexander Trans and Nivaldo Oliveira. It’s really nice to be in a such a great jj environment.


I really enjoy the trainings and there is great ambiance!! Besides training at FGB Arena, I got introduced to a team at Primal Gym runned by Ammar Mutie Al Ahmad, a black belt from Jordan. They recently started an open mat in Saturdays which is really awesome. Love training there aswell!

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is treating me pretty good..The city it self is small as Amsterdam but breathes the hights of New York…The building are mindblowing and you see many Indian men working here. Further you have the local and other expats. The population is very diverse and between all the high building you find many Mosques. I love to live in the middle in the city, it’s very alive and whenever I want to escape all the hectic energy on the street I just go to my appartment which is on the 15 floor and where you hear no noise and just go the swimmingpool on the rooftop of the building. Further I live near several luxurious malls and restaurants. The WTC mall only 5 minute walk from my housewhich is crazy to me, I still get lost in the mall, that’s how big it is.

The city reflects on one hand hyper modern shops and architecture and on the other hand you see a very traditional and religious culture. It’s not rare to see people wearing traditional cloths and other as if they come from a catwalk. I walk 80 % of my time in gi pants though hehe Anyway, living in Abu Dhabi is fascinating to me because I’m coming from a Islamic background(my dad is muslim) and my heritage is Indian. I also have to say that I was cautious and kind sceptic because all the restrictions and me coming from a free and democratic country. But to be honest I blend here in really well and I don’t experience at all a culture shock. Im just living my live how I like to live it and i feel at home in AD. Since this city is changing so fast, I think the culture will get way more progeressive than ever anyway. The new generation is more informed than ever and is for sure more open minded to a global lifestyle.

I already knew here a bunch of people so that is really nice. I’m happy with my room mates. We go together to the mall, restaurants, the pool, the beach etc so that’s pretty cool. Besides that Im super happy with a lady, who got in touch with me by Facebook who happened only to live 5 minutes from my building. She grew up in the UK but is from Iraq and she also trains 8.30 with coach Bobby. We go together to the trainings and we meet outside of the mat too. On a regular base I meet other coaches in the elevator, in the pool in my building. Some of my friends live in Al Ain and Dubai, but it´s not hard to meet each other in weekends since those place are about 1-2 hours away. Besides my jiu jitsu friends I have the coolest friends from zouk living nearby! It´s easy to connect and I made some real nice new friends coming from Jordan, Iraq but also from Europe.

The zouk scene in Abu Dhabi is really small, just a few dancers, but those dancers who do dance zouk have an amazing style. Just a few dances with them gives me already my fix hehe. I went so far two times to the new weekly social only 15 minutes away from my house organised by Marlon and Artul. There is a bigger zouk scene in Dubai, so I will explore it soon. Salsa is ofcourse bigger and also kizomba is taking of here in the Middle East. For sure I will check out the salsa scene to and hopefully kidnap some salseiros to the zouk classes haha. Besides salseiros I try to get some jiu jiteiros also on the dance floor.



Fortunately there are a bunch of coaches who knows how to dance other Brazilian dances like Forro and Samba and who are interested to learn zouk. I brought a few of them already to the zouk social and they really liked it. It is funny to see how almost the average Brazilian coach never heard of zouk, but that will change soon ;)

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has a well-documented interest in sports, and in particular, the martial art of Jiu-Jitsu. His Highness has the ambition of making the UAE, and specifically Abu Dhabi, a center for Jiu-Jitsu by designating it as the UAE National Sport. His Highness believes that by practicing the art of Jiu-Jitsu, people can change their mentality and take broad strides towards a brighter and clearer direction. Having seen the positive changes and the impact that Jiu-Jitsu has had on his son’s character and attitude, His Highness says: “If I invest it in my son, I will invest it in my country.”

Bekijk het fotoboek van Yasmin hier!

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