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Allen Causevic Interview
I am very pleased to introduce Allen A. Causevic. He is one of the top competitors outside of the Chicago area. Many of you know him, some of you don’t, but you will hear more about him as time goes by.
Allen is very articulate and thoughtful in his answers. We discuss “fighters,” gi vs. nogi, Austrian Economics, a big man, very ambitious, and his hair.
BJJinChicago: Allen, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. This time you train with Jay Valko. How long have you been training there and what do you like most about the university?
Allen Causevic: I was with Mr. Jay Valko since May of 2005. I started at Carlson’s Academy Downtown and attended an evening class taught by Jay. After Jay left on his own, I followed him to his new school in 2007. Since then, the school has grown tremendously. I attribute the growth to the same reasons I liked the university. We are very open about sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas. I have visited many schools around the country and many instructors are committed to that pure jiu-jitsu game. Unfortunately, this is bad for the sport. MMA is evolving. Also Jiu-Jitsu. With the addition of RJ Cohen with his world class Judo skills, and Division 1/All-American wrestler Timothy Foley’s wrestling skills, we are evolving.
The transition from the real game to the land game is what the future holds. This will involve the exchange of ideas and knowledge that I mentioned earlier, and for many, it will be a journey outside of their comfort zone. Jay did a great job of creating this positive environment. This “friendly” environment can be seen at the Saturday open mat sessions, which are free for all to attend. As a result, we see a wide range of people visiting with different skill levels. Being exposed to different situations from local, national and international visitors has made us all better runners. As the sport continues to evolve, I am excited to see what the future holds with our successes.
BJJiC: What are some of your biggest competitive achievements to date?
AC: I don’t look at Jiu-Jitsu as a fight. The mindset I follow is competitive. Having said that, I look to do well in every tournament. The ability to perform under pressure is what separates the champions, and I strive to maintain my composure and work in a winning manner. In conclusion, my favorite activities of the season:
2011 NYC International Open Heavyweight Purple Belt: Gold
2010 Chicago International Open Heavyweight Purple Belt: Gold
2009 NYC International Open Blue Belt Super Heavy: Gold
2009 Abu Dhabi Pro-Gi Awards- Blue-Belt-Heavy-Gold
BJJiC: What are some tips for seniors starting jiu-jitsu?
AC: Don’t be discouraged when the great idea you’ve been chasing turns out to be false. When I started training, I was 240 lbs., power walking, and always eating a post-workout meal that consisted of a Whopper from Burger King and the original Miu Muscle. Yes, about 1700 calories. We believe there is a correlation between the amount of weight you throw in the weight room and your fighting ability. How many times have you heard, “Wow, he’s big! Don’t mess with him!”? Well in 2007, I was fed the red pill and my world turned upside down. I was destroyed by guys half my size. Postpartum asthma in a 135 lbs. completely destroy the human ego. You will soon realize that you have been following the wrong path in life. Bad for some. My advice is to work hard on the techniques and not give up when losing to a small opponent. Finally, work on your carer as much as possible. Working on weaknesses and taking yourself out of your comfort zone will pay dividends 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 start competing in No-Gi until you have promoted to blue belt. There is a long debate about the benefits of Gi vs No-Gi. I’m of the school of belief that a good Gi game runs with a good No-Gi game. I try to tap into my old routine to start working hard in my Gi position, then move to No-Gi work later.
BJJiC: Royal Rumble – Your hair, Jay’s beard, RJ’s hair, and Mike’s beard. Who will win?
AC: My hair is down. I can rock out in a jiu-jitsu class at night, then have a Gray Goose on the rocks in a world class country club right after with my favorite hair piece. It wouldn’t budge no matter how hard I tried. That is the source of my strength. Second place is Mike Cornille. His beard is one of the best 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 visited his school in Miami, FL in December of 2010 and was humbled. I was surprised to hear his skill level at work. Jiu-Jitsu has been a long journey, and that experience helped me realize that I wasn’t at the level I wanted to be. Seeing where I’m at has helped me train differently and work harder in many areas. It’s always good to take a step back to see where you are and decide where you want to go next.
BJJiC: Who is the best person you have competed against?
AC: This title goes to England’s Luke Costello. He was my latest loss at World Jiu-Jitsu 2011. After watching the video, we had a similar game but he was better than that day. He put me down with a big Uchi Mata, which hasn’t happened in a match against me in a long time. I lost my composure and was dispatched with a bow and arrow. It’s frustrating; I was hit with one of my favorite throws and choked by my favorite submission. Eating a taste of my own medicine didn’t taste good. I look forward to another match in the future.
BJJiC: How many times a week do you train?
AC: During the off season I am there 4 to 5 days a week. If I’m training for a competition then I’m in the gym six days a week. I have added strength and conditioning 3 to 4 days a week to my group. We hope that this new combination will bring new success in the future.
BJJiC: What kinds of activities do you do outside of jiu-jitsu?
AC: The readiness to do the following in a specific order:
1. People watching Wholefoods.
2. Filmmaking and graphic design.
3. Improving my understanding of the Austrian School of Economics.
4. Eating foods that have not been processed or modified.
5. Volunteering at animal shelters.
6. Sharpening my cooking skills.
BJJiC: Who are some of your favorite fans to watch (and why)?
AC: I love watching Cyborg Abreu and Braga Neto. I’m a bigger person so I like watching big dogs. Watching their games helped me become a better player.
BJJiC: What are your thoughts on the future of the competition?
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’ve never been, so I want to have the chance to compete in a big international event and see the sights in the future.
BJJiC: What else can we expect from you in the future?
AC: I want to improve my Judo game to the highest level possible. I see myself traveling and competing at the highest level in the USA Judo world in the future. Training with a very good Judoka takes my Jiu-Jitsu game to a new level and I enjoy learning new techniques.
BJJiC: Any last words?
AC: Yes. With the explosion in popularity that MMA & Grappling have seen in recent years, the organization and behavior of the subculture has grown in parallel. Crazy graphic t-shirts with full sleeve/body tattoos have really taken the sport down a notch. I often see these people in social settings bragging to people about how they “fight.” This sad mentality needs to stop. The players need to take themselves to the next level. tall and trying to be classy. Making bad sentences and using bad grammar is not okay. This is of course not about SubCulture clothing. They do a good job of supporting local athletes. , is very active in the BJJ community. SubCulture is the only Gi I wear for competitions and training sessions. I highly recommend them.
Best Takedown: Uchi Mata
Best release: Choke and Arrow
Favorite Position: Knees on Stomach
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