Rokas Naruševičius on the Growth of BJJ in Lithuania & the Baltic Countries

Rokas Naruševičius on the Growth of BJJ in Lithuania & the Baltic Countries



Have you ever wondered what the BJJ scene is like in the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia) ? BJJ Eastern Europe met Lithuanian BJJ association president Rokas Naruševičius in Lisbon during the Europeans and Rokas spoke to us about the fast growing BJJ scene in his country:

Hi Rokas, can you please introduce yourself to the BJJ community

Hello, my name is Rokas Naruševičius, i am 25 years old. I am practising jiu-jitsu over 6 years (started bjj in 2008), now i am purple belt under Andre „Tim“ Monteiro, representing A-Force BJJ. My main titles are Lithuanian Open BJJ champion, Latvian Open BJJ champion, Ukrainian Open BJJ champion, Carlson Gracie Invitational champion and many other national and international grappling winnings. I am Lithuanian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association president and owner of Team Legion club in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Please tell us about how you started training BJJ

When i started going to university, I found bjj, one good my father‘s friend told me to try it, because its a really good sport he said. At that moment i didn‘t know anything about it, so i just went for the first class. After going few more classes i got hooked, most memorable things were first armbars and triangles. After that till now i am 100% into BJJ.


Marius Neverauskas, BJJEE's Guillaume Huni and Rokas in Lisbon at the Europeans

Marius Neverauskas, BJJEE’s Guillaume Huni and Rokas in Lisbon at the Europeans

How is the BJJ scene and community in a country as basketball crazy as Lithuania?

Community is just growing. We opened LBJJA (Lithuanian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association) because of slow growth of Jiu-Jitsu here . Before opening association there were only 2 competition a year, one with a gi and one no gi. Now we already did our first competition and we have 5 more this year. So we hope organising more competition in different cities will help bjj comunity to grow all over Lithuania. Here its hard for any sport because of basketball, they get all the money from government and its like second religion. All kids here are dreaming becoming professional basketball players.

Please tell us about your instructor Andre Tim Monteiro and about your academy BJJ Legion

Our professor Andre Monteiro is an amazing teacher and super nice guy. I have been in many different bjj seminars, but no one‘s was like Andre‘s. He is half guard master and shows awesome techniques from there. My academy Team Legion is working over 2 years. At the moment we have BJJ and MMA groups. Few months ago one of the best MMA Lithuanian fighters, Tadas „Lokys“ Rimkevičius, joined our team and we decided to open MMA group together. We already have national and international bjj and grappling champions.

What do you think of the BJJ scene in the Baltic coutries? How do you see BJJ growing there in the next 5-10 years?

I think BJJ scene in Baltic countries is pretty the same. In my opinion the level of jiu-jitsu is growing faster in Estonia. Lithuania and Latvia are very similar. But in next 5-10 years i think it will get a lot bigger and will have more people doing BJJ. Even in few years i think europe will see more and more guys coming and winning international competitions from Baltic countries.


How would you describe your style of BJJ? Who are some BJJ players that you admire?

Its hard to describe my style, i like mixing a lot. I do basic things and sometimes fancy stuff. I would call my bottom game tricky and my top game is more explosive and at same time with pressure. My favourite BJJ players are Marcelo Garcia, Rodolfo Vieira, Andre Galvao, Rubens Charles Cobrinha, Leandro Lo. I am learning alot while studying their games.

What are your plans for 2015?

My plans are to organise with the team next 5 competition in Lithuania. Than to compete as much as possible in high level competitions and to do small training camps in Warsaw, London.

If you want to thank somebody or sponsors, feel free

I would like to thank Marius Neverauskas, the best manager, who helps me a lot on and out of the mat, Gedeminas Barčauskas putting so much into bjj growth, my team and all the other guys from Vilnius, Kaunas and other cities who helps a lot making bjj bigger here. Huge thanks for the supporters and sponsors MC Steely Pegasus, MANTOFIGHT.COM, fighters.lt, Karaliaus Mindaugo teaching centre, BJJ Eastern Europe and others!