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Allen Causevic Interview
I am very pleased to introduce Allen A. Causevic. He is one of the top contestants from the Chicago area. Most of you know him, some of you don’t, but you will hear more about him as time goes on.
Allen is articulate and thoughtful in his responses. We discuss “fighters,” gi vs. nogi, Austrian Economics, being a great man, his favorite people are his hair.
BJJinChicago: Allen, thanks for taking the time to ask these questions. You currently train with Jay Valko. How long have you been studying there and what do you like about the school?
Allen Causevic: I’ve been with Mr. Jay Valko since May 2005. I started at Carlson’s Academy Downtown and mostly went to the evening class that Jay would teach. When Jay left on his own, I followed him to his new school in 2007. Since then, the school has grown tremendously. I say that growth is the reason why I love this school. We are very open about sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas. I have visited many schools around the country and many instructors follow the sport of jiu-jitsu. Unfortunately, this is game-breaking. MMA is changing. So is Jiu-Jitsu. With the addition of RJ Cohen and his world class Judo skills, along with Timothy Foley’s Division 1/All-American wrestling skills, we are changing.
The transition from a stand-up game to a top game is the future. This involves the exchange of ideas and knowledge I mentioned earlier, and for many, a journey out of their comfort zone. Jay has done a great job creating this rewarding site. This “emotional” space is best seen during Saturday’s open mat, which is free for all to attend. As a result, we see an increasing number of people traveling with different abilities. Experiencing different styles from local, national, and international visitors has made us all better. As the game grows, I am excited to see the future and our success.
BJJiC: What are some of your accomplishments so far?
AC: I don’t see Jiu-Jitsu as a fight. The logic I follow is that it’s a competitive game. Having said that, I always look for the best in every game. The ability to perform under pressure is what sets professionals apart and I work hard to stay calm and use strategies that allow me to succeed. As a result, my best shows have been during this time:
2011 NYC International Open Purple belt Heavyweight: Gold
2010 Chicago International Open Purple Super Heavy belt: Gold
2009 NYC International Open Blue Belt Super Heavy: Gold
2009 Abu Dhabi Pro-Gi Qualifiers- Blue Belt-Heavy-Gold
BJJiC: What advice do you have for older guys new to jiu-jitsu?
AC: Don’t give up when the wisdom you’ve been following turns out to be wrong. When I started training, I was 240 lbs., powerlifting, and eating a regular diet of Whopper from Burger King and original Muscle Milk. Yes, that’s about 1700 calories. We are led to believe that there is a correlation between how much weight you throw in the weight room and your fighting ability. How many times have you heard, “Wow, he’s great! Don’t mess with him!”? In 2007, I was fed the red pill and my world changed. I was destroyed by guys half my size. A tap on the back of the genitals for a person who weighs 135 lbs. It definitely destroys their ego. You soon realize that you have been following the wrong path in life. It is destructive to others. My advice would be to use strategy as much as possible and not to give up when you lose to a lesser opponent. Finally, try to be more careful. Working on your weaknesses and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone will pay off later in your career.
BJJiC: If you could go back in time… what would you say to yourself as a white belt?
AC: Stop eating Whoppers. Do not compete in No-Gi until you have been promoted to blue belt. There is a long debate on the merits of Gi vs No-Gi. I’m of the school that believes that good Gi sports come down to good No-Gi sports. I would try to tap into my old self to start working hard on my base Gi, then go to work No-Gi afterwards.
BJJiC: Royal Rumble – Your hair, Jay’s beard, RJ’s hair, and Mike’s beard. Who wins?
AC: My hair is down. I could be rolling in a jiu-jitsu class at night, then have Goose Gray on the rocks in the world club afterwards with my hair session. It won’t budge no matter how hard I try. It is the source of my strength. Second place goes to Mike Cornille. His beard is one of the most protective shields known to man.
BJJiC: Who is the best person you’ve ever rolled with?
AC: This award goes to Mr. Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu. I went to his school in Miami, FL in December of 2010 and was humbled. I was surprised to hear his talent in action. The journey of Jiu-Jitsu is long, and this experience helped me realize that I was not at the level I wanted to be. Seeing where I was has helped me train differently and work harder on different things. It’s always good to take a step back and see where you are and decide where you want to go in the future.
BJJiC: Who is the best person you have competed against?
AC: This title would go to Mr. Luke Costello from the UK. So my latest loss happened at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships 2011. After watching the video, we have a very similar game but he was better that day. He took me down with a big Uchi Mata, which hasn’t happened to me in a long time. I lost control and was dispatched via bow and arrow. It’s amazing; I was thrown by one of my favorite games and choked with my favorite content. Eating the taste of my medicine was not pleasant. I look forward to meeting you again in the future.
BJJiC: How many times a week do you train?
AC: My free time is usually 4 to 5 days a week. If I am exercising then I am in the gym 6 days a week. I have added strength and conditioning 3 to 4 days a week to my team. We hope that this new combination will bring new success in the future.
BJJiC: What activities do you do outside of jiu-jitsu?
AC: Favorites in no particular order:
1. People are looking at Wholefoods.
2. Making movies and art.
3. To improve my knowledge of the Austrian School of Economics.
4. Eating foods that have not been processed or modified in any way.
5. Volunteering at the zoo.
6. Sharpening my cooking skills.
BJJiC: Who are some of your favorite characters to watch (and why)?
AC: I love watching Cyborg Abreu and Braga Neto. I’m a big person so I like to watch big dogs. Watching their games has helped me to be successful.
BJJiC: What are your future competition goals?
AC: I plan to compete in the 2011 Chicago International Summer Open of course. But the big tournament at the end of the year that I’m looking at is the Melbourne Open in Australia. I have never been, so I want to take the opportunity to compete in a major international event and see the sights afterwards.
BJJiC: What else can we expect from you in the future?
AC: I want to improve my Judo game to the highest level. I see myself moving on and competing at the top level in USA Judo in the future. Training with a good Judoka will take my Jiu-Jitsu game to a new level and I am excited to learn new techniques.
BJJiC: Final comments?
AC: Yes. With the explosion of popularity of MMA & Grappling that has been seen in recent years, the quality and quality of the subculture has risen as much as it is scary. Crazy sleeveless t-shirts/body tattoos have brought down the dignity of sports. I often see these people in social media bragging to people that they are ‘warriors.’ This stone-washed mentality must stop. Athletes must raise themselves to a higher standard and strive to be gentlemen. Unclear sentences and poor spelling are not fun. This has nothing to do with SubCulture clothing. They have done a great job supporting local athletes and are active in the BJJ community. The SubCulture is the only gi I wear for competitions and training. I really appreciate them.
Favorite Takedown: Uchi Mata
Favorite Submission: Bow and Arrow Choke
Favorite Position: Knee on Stomach
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