Turkish BJJ brown belt/ MMA fighter and BJJ instructor Ertan Balaban talks to BJJ Eastern Europe about his current news, his team’s growth and his upcoming MMA fight in Istanbul:
Ertan, please tell us what is new with you and your team?
First of all our team is growing incredibly fast because we have a very good social network and positive energy in our team. I am a Brown Belt under World, European and Asian champion Igor Silva. You can visit our team website at www.balabanjiujitsu.com and we have a blog for the team and for the BJJ community as well (www.ertanbalaban.com). We have organized 11 seminars in 12 months during 2012 with various well-known black belts around the world and we were missing only one month because we were in Rio de Janeiro with Abi Rihan and Igor Silva for the now famous BJJ Lifestyle Camp.
We are planning a bunch of Seminars for the future, so whoever is interested in visiting İstanbul can email me. Also, my biggest goal is to travel around the world and teach BJJ myself, I am holding seminars almost every month somewhere in Turkey but I would like to travel outside of Turkey and teach my style of Jiu-jitsu. You can contact me to come to İstanbul or to invite me to your school, just get in touch via email ([email protected]). Also, If you go to our blogpage, please click on Balaban TV and watch our documentaries and short films produced by Arkın Çelik about the camps, training and our team in general.
We are around 200 people from very different backgrounds, trying the new techiques and rolling on the mat with love of BJJ. We feel strongly attached to the Balaban Jiujitsu family and we try to help this team grow everyday.
We are opening our 3rd school in İstanbul soon (Zone) which is located on the most famous street in the city, Bağdat Avenue and we have affiliations all over Turkey like in Ankara, Bursa and Antalya so far. And our goal is to create a Balaban Jiujitsu school in almost every city to make this art and the team grow in Turkey.
We have our own tournament called Balaban Jiujitsu Challenge which we organize 6 times a year. All our schools and affilitations enroll in this tournament to get more experience for other competitions.
We also have our own kimono brand, Mata Leon Kimonos, most of the people recognize this brand because of the commercial we have uploaded on youtube. We manage everything in the team without getting help from outside, which makes it more fun for us. For example director of this commercial and all the actors are also my students.
We also have summer camps, called Balaban Outdoor Camps, this is a camp including BJJ, Boxing, Yoga, Tracking, Running, Crossfit and many more small activities varying from climbing, lighting fire to building tents. I wanted to create this not only for BJJ lovers but also for people who love the nature like me because sometimes we need to get away from where we are. We are also planning to make BJJ Lifestyle Camp 2 with top blackbelts around the World training with my teacher Igor Silva this time in Turkey, so that the BJJ community can get together in a closer location.
We also created our fitness department in order to train our athletes in our schools and they can help us improve our phsical conditions in the camps which is called Balaban Athletic Department, and the head coach is Umut Duygu who also helps met o get ready for my Pro MMA fights.
You brought a big team to the BJJ East European Open. What were your impressions and were you happy with your student’s performance?
Almost every month my team travels to a tournament in a different region because we know that experience is a big factor in success. For us going to a tournament and fighting is always a win win situation because if we do not get a medal we get experience. We have gotten at least a couple of medals from every tournament we have competed in so far and I think this is a big success for a new team.
BJJ East European was a good experience we got lots of medals I don’t even know the number and Bojan who organizes the tournament was very kind and he showed us great hospitality. It’s always good to meet new people from the community who sweat like us on the mat everyday for the same reason.
Overall, I was very happy with my students’ performance and even though I did not make the rule, everybody was wearing the team shirt so we looked very organised which indicates their attachment to the team.
Tell us about your next MMA match on April 6
I will be fighting an MMA bout in Glory World Series 6 in İstanbul, which is one of the biggest events in the world. Game plan is ready, take him down and submit him! I spar with best boxers and kickboxers around here but still I realize that I am a representative of BJJ, I will be wearing my kimono coming out and I will be looking for the submission all around the fight. I did not want to fight MMA anymore because it’s a big commitment over all, I have a big team now and many others things to do like I told you in the first questions. However, I got a very good offer from Birol Topuz, who is the top promoter in my country and I accepted this challenge, which will take place in Ülker Sports Arena, 25 meters away from my house. So I trained really hard for this, and hopefully I will get my 7th win in my MMA career. I have sponsors for this fight, this will also help my future BJJ career because I will keep competing BJJ and they wii support me anyway. TAV Tourism is going to buy all my tickets for the BJJ competitions which means I can fight more often, New Balance is giving me unlimited equipments and GNC is my supplement sponsor. I want to thank everyone who believes in me!
What is next for you and your team?
We never know whats next because we are always ahead of what we are planning but I would like to say, keep in touch with us for our camps, we will do good things for Europe and bring good names to this area. Also watch out for Balaban Jiujitsu patch in the competitions we go because we are growing fast and we are a succesful team. But I can promise you, you will never see rude people who bring too much ego onto the mat from my team, or people who are not friendly and don’t know the culture of BJJ. These kinds of people do not exist in our family. We always say work hard and be humble! We live the BJJ Lifestyle and teams separate people but whoever sweats on the mat and do good things for the sport we consider our brother.
Thanks Ertan and all the best.
I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my family in this wonderful website which gets people around Europe together, it’s a great idea you had to create this! ooosss