1/2 Swiss 1/2 Turkish, Ilke Bulut On Training With The Mendes Bros, BJJ in Switzerland, The BJJ Kumite & His Turkish Roots

1/2 Swiss 1/2 Turkish, Ilke Bulut On Training With The Mendes Bros, BJJ in Switzerland, The BJJ Kumite & His Turkish Roots


1. Ilke, can you please introduce yourself to the BJJ Community of Eastern Europe?

Hello everyone, my name is Ilke Kubilay Bulut, I’m 23 years old, brown belt under Anderson Pereira (Zé Marcelo) I come from Geneva Switzerland where I train at “Icon Jiu Jitsu Team since 2005 (Dojo Shinbudo) I have turkish roots from my father side, and my mother is Swiss.

My main titles: 5x Swiss Champion 2008-2009-2010-2011-2012
3x Neuchâtel Cup Champion 2010-2011-2012
European Champion FHJJS Absoluto 2010
European Champion IBJJF 2007
3rd World Championship FILA 2008
2x Finalist Abu Dhabi Trials 2009-2011
2x 3rd European Championship IBJJF 2010-2011
1st Manaus (Brazil) World Pro League 2010
1st Open Class Pro Cup 2011
2nd Naga (Gi) 3rd Naga (No-Gi) Paris (Expert) 2011
2nd London Open IBJJF 2011
1st London Open IBJJF 2012
3rd European No-Gi IBJJF 2012
1st Abu Dhabi World Pro Trial Portugal 2013
And many more !
I also competed at the “Bjj kumite” of Master Lloyd Irvin (The next world champion) But the results are kept secret still ! You will be able to follow every episodes of the show very soon.


2. What’s your Jiu-Jitsu story? What have you planned for your BJJ career? 

My brother Okan was a fan of the ufc for a long time that’s how I knew about the the martial arts world. We first bought MMA gloves and used to fool around doing strange moves ! I was practicing judo since 1994 when I was five, it was more of an obligation for me and my two bros to cool of as we were all kind of crazy kids. Then in 2003 we discovered”Pride” MMA events were the Brazilian fighters were displaying great bjj but of course I had no clue of what it really was. At this period I ended my judo era due to a back injury that occurred during a tournament, I was advised by the doctor not to practice this sport anymore…I then started to do what every teenager would do, play soccer, I loved it but I felt that I didn’t belong on the field and the feelings I had in Judo were being missed.
My interest slightly turned into reading Bruce Lee’s books and documentaries he did during his life. I was hooked again !
I began to mess around with my friend Dimitri we would hit each others and “try out” techniques with friends and we really thought we were some “Pride” dudes !
Okan my oldest brother discovered a brazilian jiujitsu club in 2004 he started to train with his best friend Kinji. Dimitri followed them a little while after… I was then 15 y.o, and I still held on to kung fu thinking it was the ultimate fighting sport until i surrendered and tried my first bjj training, I loved it since the beginning it was the first time I met my mentor Anderson Pereira
My typical days are organized like that:

12pm1 bjj training around , warm up followed by drilling and to finish a lot of sparring, the afternoon I have a specific physical condition training prepared by my coach Michael Vincent (P-P-C) overall I have him twice a week but the rest of the week I just follow his instructions on my own (four times a week) added to that my cardio preparation that I do 2 to 3 times a week always following his guidance.

8pm here we go again same type of training as the 12pm one but with more specific alternated techniques I try to increase the intensity of the exercises. I work with everybody during the day especially the unemployed people and at night the academy is always packed. I’m lucky to have a nice group of great level teammates with great titles “Jordan Baddi, Danny Feliz, Victor Tic Tac, Valentin Rossi. I also planned to get back in the judo training soon…

I sort of started to compete right away in bjj and i adored it. At this period I was starting my secondary school to get a diploma in sociology. I traveled across Switzerland, Germany and France to compete which triggered my thirst of competing. I signed up for my 1st Europeans (IBJJF) as adult (17yo) in lisbon. I did 5 fights and became European champion. Since then my mind was clear and I wanted to do bjj as my profession. With school it was hard to train like a pro but every free time I had I would spend it in at the jiu jitsu gym, I would sometimes go early in the morning before school and then late evening after classes ! I was addicted to it, I was living for it talking about it eating jiu jitsu. Once done with school in 2008 I began to train harder but there were less bjj classes than nowadays and only Anderson would give them. I was only a blue belt but I used to compete as much as I could I even went to some tournament on my own.
In the late 2009 I received my purple belt that’s when I was full out in the business competing every single competitions in Europe but not yet in the US. I also started to train in Brazil (Manaus) of course with my master’s allowance who saw in me a real interest in what I did. I was certain about my choice jiu jitsu was my life. So no job apart giving judo classes to children in order to eat and pay my expenses only for jiu jitsu.
Special thanks to my mom for having me at home which reduces my expenses (lol)
Since I got my brown belt things got really serious ! I see great doors opening to me (sponsors, competitions, seminaries, deals) I realized that my dream wasn’t out of touch
I have big projects for this year 2013 for example going again in the US (California) to train but longer this time. I plan to stay for a while and take part at the Pan-american and Worlds and between this a stop by Abu-Dhabi to fight at the World Pro as I recently won the Portugal Seletiva.

Winning London Open 2012

3. Please tell us about the History of BJJ in Switzerland. How is the current BJJ scene and how do you see it developing in the next few years?

The first Brazilian to open a bjj club in Swtizerland was Anderson Vieira in 2000. My first first teacher with Anderson Pereira. Vieira was a brown belt at that time and Pereira was helping him out as he would leave often to Brazil. In the end they split and i pursued with Anderson Pereira. The level is starting to be outstanding in this small country, the Swiss cup shows it well. There are a few affiliated clubs that build the Swiss federation (Icon,Frota team,Kimura Nova Uniao, Gracie Humaita, Gracie Barra) they all work hand in hand to increase the Swiss level across europe. As of today there a few guys competing at a high level all around the word. The next decade or less I think that the number of tournaments and competitions will increase in this country and maybe IBJJF, the main issue remains the help and sponsors as this sport is not welled valued yet in Switzerland.

4. You also have Turkish roots. Have you been training there much, are you in touch with other Turkish BJJ players. How do you see the sport growing there?

Indeed my father is Turkish so are my surname and last name but unfortunately I don’t speak Turk so well but I’m able to understand most of it. I love the country I go there every summer I feel turk in my blood without of course putting aside my place of birth Geneva.
I recently opened my Facebook fan page and it’s insane the number of turks that Liked the page every day ! I regularly speak with turkish bjj instructors who invited me to give seminaries. Sadly I haven’t got the chance to train there yet but it’s one of my main project this year, giving a seminary tour.
According to my sources jiu jitsu is growing at a fast pace in Turkey, strong teams often sends their best fighters to give seminaries there in various clubs, Istanbul, Izmir,Ankara. Yet there are not a lot of competitions out there but I’m sure that within five years this place will be a great place to compete. A little hello to my Turkish friends and a big thank you for their support on the social networks!

5. Please tell us about your experience training in USA and other countries (who did you train with, what did you learn etc….)?

I trained 4 weeks in California at Rafael and Guilherme Mendes Art Of Jiu-Jitsu academy. It was a huge experience to meet these two brothers that are on the top of their game, Ed Ramos was also there and is a very complete athlete but first of all a great friend. They have a modern approach of jiu jitsu, the Mendes are here from dawn to night always available to respond to everybody’s needs. I really improved my skills during my stay. It’s mainly the jiujitsu style that I appreciated and It gave me this impulse to train even harder twice a day for a 3 hours session. I also visited Brazil more than once for a period of one month to train at the Clube Pina Manaus and Rio de Janeiro at Icon and Crezio. I’ve learned a great deal of techniques and also sharpen how much my body could endure as the training were insanely hard!

6. Please tell us about your academy Icon Geneva.

Icon Geneva

Icon Genève is managed by Anderson Pereira who is himself a student of Zé Marcello the founder of Icon. Icon was founded in 2010 and many clubs are opened across the world. We are actually Swiss Champion for the 8th year in a row. It’s a very good a well respected club in Europe, we have 80 members in Geneva. The spirit is great as the team and the fighters always bring medals from the competition.
Icon Genève is situated at the Dojo Shinbudo.

7. What are BJJ players that you admire, and why?

I really like the Mendes bros style since Rafael came to teach in geneva in 2009 I started to work their techniques, Ed ramos and Guilherme also came to teach in my town which gave a continuity in acknowledging and keep up with this particular style. Mendes’s style is very accurate and specific which is fascinating to learn. I’m also a fan of Rodolfo Vieira, and Roberto Satoshi with their fluid style and movements.

8. You are a frequent competitor that travels a lot to compete. Why do you like to compete so much?

I’ve always like fighting since I was a kid at judo and winning medals was an addiction, I would tell myself “I need one of these around my neck they are so marvelous !”. I realized that I wasn’t so bad and the flow was right I was hooked for more victory and more medals and titles. Now I keep working like a maniac to pursue my goal of winning the most prestigious competitions !

9. You recently were involved in Lloyd Irvin’s brown belt Kumite. What were your impressions from training at TLI and their facilities and team mentality?

I was indeed selected at the Kumite of Lloyd Irvin and I represent Turkey. The selected fighters from all around the world were allowed to train with the famous “medal chasers’. They have a very good rhythm of training kind of military style. Levels and belts vary but the expectations are very high, everybody knows about the fighters that Lloyd has, Dj, JT Torres, Kenan Cornelius and others. People are really welcoming, the infrastructure, the gym, the tatamis were incredible to train. I can’t tell you about the results yet !

10. How would you describe your style of Jiu-Jitsu?

It’s hard to describe your own style but I like to work the guard especially the de la riva hooks or inverted de la riva and from there work on the sweeps or back attacks. I’m good in passing the guard and recently I practice it to end in my opponents back. I also think about the point system a lot with criticize me for this but at this level it’s hard to submit an opponent therefore you have to master the points.

11. What is next for you and your team in 2013?

In 2013 I’ve got a lot of projects that will happen. I’m training for the Europeans where I will fight in Pena -70Kg category so big diet coming up ! First big stuff scheduled this year. Then beginning of February leaving to the US to prepare the Pan Am, Abu Dhabi and Worldsl. Around summer I’d like to do as I previously said a tour in Turkey and a bit of vacations. Then… continue to work hard as usual I guarantee 2013 is mine !

12. Thanks Ilke and all the best!

Thank you for giving me the chance to have a good exposure on your website. I want to give a shout out to my sponsors, Reflex nutrition, Mohammed Melsfit, Gameness fight wear for these amazing Gis, team P-P-C for the brilliant physical preparation, Jean Marie for his support with his association and very special thanks to Florian for his help ! I wish you all a happy new year!