From Russia to Germany: Jiu-Jitsu Champion Alexander Sak’s Journey to Success

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    Maintal instead of California: Alexander Sak actually wanted to emigrate from Russia to the USA, but his grandfather’s roots took him to Germany. Here he fights for SC Budokan Maintal. Archive © Scheiber

    Multiple German champion, five-time European champion and three-time world champion: The record of 32-year-old Jiu-Jitsu fighter Alexander Sak makes it clear that he is one of the world’s best athletes in his sport. He came to Germany from Russia with his family just four years ago and has been fighting for the German national team in the +94 kg weight class ever since.

    Main Valley – The athlete from SC Budokan Maintal is also the favorite at the upcoming Jiu-Jitsu European Championships in Gelsenkirchen this weekend.

    The successful athlete’s life revolves around martial arts. It all started in his hometown of Saosjorny – a small town in the middle of Siberia. Initially active in judo and sambo, a Russian-Soviet martial art, the powerhouse decided to switch to jiu-jitsu in 2014. “I wanted to fight more. In judo, most of it takes place standing up. In jiu-jitsu, on the other hand, you stay on the ground for the most part and you have the chance to free yourself, even if you are lying on your back. I can simply use my ground fighting skills better in jiu-jitsu,” explains the black belt holder. The martial art, which originally came from the Japanese samurai, demands everything from its athletes. In addition to a lot of strength and concentration, the right technique is also important. The aim is to force your opponent to give up using strangulation and leverage techniques or to score points using advantageous positions or actions.

    Sak is becoming more and more successful. In 2016, he gave up his job as a fitness coach, left his hometown and moved to Moscow, almost 3,300 kilometers away. In the Russian capital, he found the ideal conditions for his life as a professional athlete. Russia’s largest city not only offered him numerous training partners at a high level, but also the opportunity to travel to tournaments all over the world with ease. The father of a five-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son – who was still childless at the time – regularly won tournaments in America, Asia and also in what is probably the most important city for sport, Abu Dhabi.

    He also took to the mat for the Russian national team between 2016 and 2020, winning European and world championship titles, among others. In the summer of 2020, Sak and his wife fulfilled a dream: “My goal was actually always to emigrate to California in the USA. Jiu-Jitsu is very popular there. However, I then found out that my grandfather on my father’s side comes from Germany, which is why I came here.” From the very beginning, it was important for the ambitious Jiu-Jitsu fighter to integrate. Shortly after arriving in Germany, he took an intensive course and learned German for six hours a day. To do this, he even scaled back his otherwise busy training schedule: six days a week, he usually trains twice a day. He spends four of these sessions in the weight room. This is also necessary. Because in his weight class +94kg, he can sometimes come up against opponents who weigh 20 kilograms more than him.

    For several years now, Germany has been experiencing a real “martial arts hype”. Sak has also noticed this. Last year he founded the Jiu-Jitsu League Germany with two German colleagues and regularly organizes tournaments in major German cities. He has a clear vision for the future: “We want to promote the sport in Germany with our open events, in which fighters of all ages from four years old and from all nations can register. We also try very specifically to attract sponsors who will then support the athletes.”

    The next big event will take place in Frankfurt on June 15th. Sak and his team have already held such tournaments twice in Maintal. After all, his home club, SC Budokan, is here, and he switched to it because of the good training conditions, even though he and his family currently live in Mönchengladbach. The 32-year-old is serving as a sports soldier in the German army until the end of the month. After that – according to the club’s offer – he could also join the Maintal team as a trainer and move nearby.

    The multiple European champion certainly has enough experience to pass on to the next generation. His biggest highlight was the 2022 World Cup victory both individually and with the entire German team in Abu Dhabi, followed by a greeting from the then Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht. Only one title is missing from Sak’s otherwise well-filled collection of titles: the gold medal at the World Games, a kind of Olympic Games for sports that are not part of the Olympic competition program. But that is simply because his weight class was last represented in this competition in Poland in 2017. Back then, he won the bronze medal. But he doesn’t just love the sport because it’s successful. “It’s above all the community. I don’t have any relatives here in Germany. Nevertheless, through sport, I know someone in almost every city. That has also helped me a lot to find my way around here in Germany,” he says proudly.

    By Nils Moock

    2024-05-23 18:29:49
    #Highly #decorated #starter #Budokan #Maintal

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