BJJ Eastern Europe rising stars: Croatia’s Aša Nadarević

1.Asa can you please introduce yourself to the Eastern European BJJ community?

Hi , my name is , I’m 21 years old and currently training as a blue belt under Dubravko Čolić and Ilija Čavarović. I’m a current European vice-champion, and I also hold gold medals from Croatian, Serbian, Hungarian and Slovenian open championships.

2.How did you first hear about BJJ and how did you start?

I decided to enroll in some full contact sport as I found them exciting, a friend of mine suggested BJJ, so I gave it a shot. At first I wasn’t impressed by BJJ and found it to be weird as I didn’t quite understand it. Still, I stuck to it and then came that moment when you tap someone out with your bare hands and everything changed, haha.

3. You have been very successful in competitions in the past few years. How did you improve so fast and what is your recipe for success?

Well, there is no easy way to improve, sure some talent can be helpful but there is only so far it can take you. I believe only way to improve is to constantly train, no matter what and spend as much time as you can on the mat. For me it came easy as I love the sport, so it was never a burden and BJJ was quickly on top of my priorities. For me in order to succeed in competitions you have to believe in yourself but never underestimate the opponent, you have to visualize the victory and most importantly keep your head in the game at all times.

4. Please tell us about your academy in Zagreb.

I train in Croatian Alliance Branch (Alliance Black Dragon) and our gym is placed in Martinovka as a part of a student organization. Our trainings are coached by Ilija Čavarović and we have a great team of brown belts assisting him (Zvonimir Ucović, Matko Kvesić, Dario Plichta, Martin Starčević, Neven Borčić), we also have a great and successful competition team (Matko Kvesić, Zvonimir Ucović, David Vojnović, etc.) which dominate nearly every competition in this part of Europe.

5. This weekend, you got gold at weight and absolute blue belt at the Croatian BJJ Open. Please guide us through your matches.

Well, I was quite excited to compete in this years absolute category, since it had very successful and renowned blue belts in it (David Vojnović, Ivica Tadijanov, Saša Milinković). I knew those would be tough match ups for me, so basically game plan in every match was to force my game in which I feel most comfortable. Thankfully I successfully executed my plan and got those victories.

6. You will be participating at the IBJJF Worlds in the USA next month. How do you see your chances?

Well, I know the Worlds are top tier competition and that my opponents will be very skilled, but my results in the European competition gave me a big confidence boost. Also my competition team is world class and they will prepare me for whatever awaits in the States. I believe if I stick to my game plan and keep my head in the game I could pull of a medal at the worlds.

7. Does your father Mustafa Nadarevic (famous Croatian actor) support your passion for BJJ?

Haha, I think my father, as any other parent would like for his child to participate in a more peaceful and injury free sport, still he is supportive of anything I do. But my biggest supporter and fan is my mother. Like my father she doesn’t want me to get hurt but they see how passionate I am about BJJ. And they’re my biggest fans

8. How would you describe your game?

Well due to long limbs I feel very comfortable working from my back. If possible I prefer submitting my opponent because I found it to be the most exciting part of BJJ. If I would have to put it in a sentence I would say that I prefer to exhaust the opponent with my game and then when they get tired I go for the submission.

9. Who are your favorite BJJ players and why?

Well to be honest, I don’t watch a lot of BJJ videos or instructionals but at this years Europeans I had a privilege to watch some amazing fighters. Fighters like Rodolfo Viera who impressed me with his fight style which seemed very simple and made it look easy. But the fighter who impressed me the most was Victor Estima who, with his impressive set of techniques had very exciting fights and pulled of some amazing moves on other very skilled fighters.

10. What are your BJJ goals?

Well, I like to put my goals one at a time and at the moment my goal is a medal on the Worlds. After that who knows , competing as a purple belt, perhaps . In a long run I wish to balance BJJ and my job (after I finish college), preferably stay competing for as long as possible.

11. Asa, thanks and best of luck at the Worlds!

Thank you for your time ! Team B Krakken  !