Bixente Lizarazu, the former left back of French national football team that won the world cup in 1998, has been training Jiu-Jitsu for the past five years. Lizarazu has also competed twice even winning the European championship at blue belt senior 1 in 2009 in Lisbon. he is currently a purple belt under BJJ black belt Yannick Beven (Ze marcello) and trains in Capbreton in south western France. Yannick Beven is a Franco-Brazilian ex surfer and current strength and conditioning coach for Pro Surfers in France.
His career in football
Bixente Lizarazu was a professional football player from 1987 ( Girondins de Bordeaux) 2006 (Bayern Munich). At club, he was three times champion of Germany and won the Champions League with Bayern in 2001. A important member of the French national team since 1992, he won the World Cup in 98, then the Euro in 2000 with France.
On 30 April 2006, “Liza” has hung up his boots. Since then, he has converted as a sports consultant on Canal +.
2009 European champion in Jiu-Jitsu, Senior 1, blue belt
Having been a top athlete for years, he could not abandon sports overnight. This is why Bixente Lizarazu got into Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
“After football, I needed to find a way to stay in shape because the ocean does not deliver waves everyday [the former footballer is an excellent surfer]. My training is divided between surfing and jiu-jitsu . I am a purple belt. And this is not a sport for whimps!” He told French newspaper l’equipe
After having trained hard, Bixente Lizarazu won the European Open Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2009 in Lisbon, at blue belts, in senior 1 (35-40 years), at under 76 kg.
“I’m happy as a kid, I feel like 18 again, like when I started my professional career. It was only my first competition and never that I’d win. Upon arrival at the competition, I saw that guys with shaved heads, broken ears, looking like killers … I said, oh fuck”.
Bixente competed the following year in 2010 at purple and placed 3rd. Although he is currently very busy with his TV career, he always finds the time to train at least 1x a week and sometimes more.
About his future in BJJ, Lizarazu says:
“I will stick with BJJ, it’s a beautiful experience. It’s one against one. You haven’t got your friends behind your back to support you like in soccer. It’s close to a fight for survival. It boosted my self confidence. Sometimes I think it would be great to bring this experience to soccer, but not as a trainer. A manager maybe?”
A interesting documentary on Lizarazu’s passion for BJJ (in French)
Lizarazu’s BJJ coach Yannick Beven:
Lizarazu in action in Lisbon in 2009: