ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish wrestler and mixed martial artist who recently won gold at the 2018 IBJJF European championship said he is proud of the worldwide support he receives from Kurds.
In a recent interview with Kurdish MMA, 26-year-old Cemil Karahan spoke about his wrestling achievements as well as his social work with youth from his community in Sweden.
The Kurdish athlete recently won gold in the open weight division at the 2018 International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) European championship where he also picked up a silver medal in the Purple-belt 94-kilogram division.
His achievements in 2018 added to the success he earned during the 2017 IBJJF tournament where he won gold.
Karahan, began his career in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (a famous style of wrestling) when he was 20, eventually working his way up to a purple belt in 2015.
The purple belt level is given to a wrestler who has “gained a large amount of knowledge,” according to the official IBJJF grading and belt system.
The Kurdish athlete said he was proud of his achievements and highlighted his desire “to compete [for] as long as” he can.
I would like to “compete as much as I can to win, to learn so [that] I can start my own academy in the future,” he told Kurdish MMA.
“The reason I want my own gym is so I can train my own students and teach them about jiu-jitsu,” the 26-year-old said.
As a purple belt, Karahan is qualified to instruct and train lower-ranked students. He is currently involved in initiatives within his community where he not only teaches local youth in BJJ, but he also helps them get their driver’s license.
“Today, I train kids [ages 12 to 18] from the local elementary school where I work,” he explained. “We train mostly strength and conditioning, and we do this every day before school.”
“I also have this project where I help some of the kids take their driving [exams]. Those are the young adults. They’re 18, 19, up to 25,” he added.
Karahan said the next step in his career is working toward a black belt, which he is not far away. Once he gains his brown belt, he will be in contention to compete for a black belt.
“For the future, I would like to compete in the black belt division. That’s the main goal for me,” the Kurdish athlete said.
Although he has been involved in wrestling since the start of his career, Karahan did not rule out a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) debut. “You might see me soon in the MMA cage.”
Karahan was born in Amed Province (Diyarbakir) in northern Kurdistan before moving to Stockholm, Sweden with his family at the age of 7.