Grapple Nation 3 takes place this Saturday in Manchester and as always there are some very exciting superfights which take place on the day.
One of the superfights features two well respected competitors in Chris Regan and Kameron Atakuru, who could possibly steal the show with their match up.
Chris has been involved in training for eight years now and anytime he enters a grappling competition you can see just how much he is improving and is known for a fantastic skillset on the mats.
With the superfight just a few days away, I caught up with Chris to get his thoughts on the upcoming GN3 and his development within the sport so far.
Thanks for your time Chris. I wanted to start by asking what it was that first peaked your interest in BJJ and led you to begin training?
“I’d been going to a (globo) gym for a while and fancied doing something a bit different. I stumbled across the academy by accident and started training traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu initially. It wasn’t long before a few of us started training more and more ground work, then the instructors started training with Braulio Estima and soon after we became Gracie Barra Derby. We went to a seminar with Zé Radiola at Gracie Barra Birmingham and that was it… hooked. I still use stuff I learned at that seminar in my game today!”
Once you first got on the mat and started rolling, what was it that made you want to continue learning?
“I think I appreciated the intricacies of the techniques and the effectiveness of what I was learning. It was constantly pressure tested with countless hours of sparring… and I love feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck after a tough couple of hours training!”
I personally have only done a little BJJ but from speaking with people involved in the sport and reading things they say there comes a moment with it all, when you begin training, where things just begin to click. Looking back on your development, when did you feel like it all began to click for you and what was that feeling like?
“When I took my first medal at a major tournament (which was silver at blue belt at the Europeans) I realised what it would take to compete at a decent level. I started taking my training more seriously after that and it slowly all started coming together… although I still have bad days!”
When you first started training was it always your intention to enter competitions and how have you found testing your skills against over competitors to date?
“I never contemplated competing until one of my teammates bullied me into it! I didn’t like being up in front of people and I’d never done any competitive sport at school or anything. I loved competition from the off and it’s taught me so much about my jiu jitsu and myself. I think anyone who trains should compete at least once”.
Next up is Grapple Nation 3. How much do you know about Grapple Nation and the first two shows they have put on?
“I haven’t attended a Grapple Nation show yet so I’m really excited about GN3! The previous events look fantastically well attended and I’m anticipating a really high standard of competitors across the divisions. The guys from GN I’ve been speaking with about the event seem really on the ball. I think it’s going to be a very professionally run show with loads of good grappling on display”.
On the day you get the chance to be involved in one of the superfights. What is it that attracted you to want to compete in the superfight?
“I like the submission only format. It plays to my strengths because I’m always looking for the finish. We rarely do timed rounds at our academy and we never think about points, so I’m used to just going hard until the sub… a 20 minute time limit is good for me. I enjoy competing in straight tournaments but the superfight tag makes it feel like more of an event”.
Your opponent on the day is Kameron Atakuru. How much do you know about Kameron and what sort of test are you expecting from him?
“I don’t know Kameron personally and I’ve never competed against him before. I don’t really go in for watching tape or researching opponents but I’m expecting a really really hard match. I know Kameron’s a big, tough lad and I understand he’s got some badass wrestling so that’ll be good to experience! I just appreciate good grappling… even if I’m on the receiving end of it! I hope it’ll be an exciting, all action match, no matter what the outcome”.
Anything can happen on the day, but do you feel your experience will help you?
“I have quite a lot of competition experience and I’m sure it’ll help me out but I don’t want to predict how the match will go… that’s not really my style. Let’s just see what happens on the day. It’s going to be fun!”
And finally, is there anybody you would like to thank/give a shout out to?
“Of course my instructors and training partners at Gracie Barra Derby; our lass who unfortunately won’t be able to come and cheer me on; and the guys at Adversity Fight Wear for offering me some support when many others wouldn’t!”