David Sharp is one of the most active competitors for Lycans/MNBJJ, with an unbeaten record at SGI, gold at the British No-Gi Open along with Trident Grappling. He recently earned his purple belt and competed alongside his teammate Jack Brown and Seany Stewart at Evolution Of Combat 7.
We had the chance to talk about some of those wins, his lockdown routine and the pride he holds for his team.
Larry: Hey David. Thanks for letting me interview you as it’s appreciated.
David: Pleasures mine mate, thanks for having me on!
Larry: So how did you first get into BJJ?
David: It’s probably going to sound quite cliché but the reason I got into grappling was through watching MMA, particularly the UFC. I wasn’t overly interested in the beginning, the only reason I would watch it was because my Dad liked it. He was a massive Chuck Liddell fan. I can remember that I found the grappling element extremely boring, which is quite funny to think about now. Eventually, I became quite excited about the events and started to recognize fighters etc. This led to me attending what is now Lycans Martial Arts Academy. Originally I wanted to do MMA but I pretty quickly realized I didn’t like getting punched in the face and decided to just stick with the Jiu-Jitsu classes.
Larry: Everyone loves The Iceman. So when you began training grappling wasn’t something you were initially focused on? Was there something from training at Lycans that made you go “ok maybe this grappling thing is more interesting than I previously thought” and you then gravitated towards it?
David: Nah not really. I think we have an inviting atmosphere at the club and everyone is super helpful with new members. I’d say that was what kept me coming back. I like the social aspect of training, going into the gym and getting a good laugh. Now I’m infatuated with grappling but I think that came from how welcoming Marcos and the club were. I think Jack Brown mentioned this in his interview but we were all extremely fortunate to have a such a high-level black belt set up locally.
Larry: The social aspect of training is one of the most important aspects of BJJ. How long have you been training under Marcos now David?
David: Just over 6 years now mate.
Larry: That’s a good while. So I imagine like most you’re missing training under the restrictions? What have you been doing to keep yourself in the training mindset without being on the mats?
David: I think everyone’s facing the same problem. For me I’ve been cycling a lot, I think it’s something I’ll continue to do when we get back to regular training. The problem is it’s freezing outside just now. The grappling dummies have also been great. It’s nice to get in the gym, drill some technique and catch up with everyone. I like to keep my mind engaged with instructionals too, I think that’s important. Jiu-Jitsu is constantly evolving.
David: Sadly I think it will be a while before we see contact training resume so we need to do all we can to stay engaged with the sport.
Larry: Agreed. You’ve been lucky enough to compete at Evolution Of Combat 7 during lockdown tell me a little about how that was for you? What were the rules regarding contact in an event like that with restrictions in place?
David: It’s probably one of my favourite competitions I’ve done so far. I thought it was brilliant that the organizers were able to pull something like that off with everything that’s going on. In terms of the event, everything was done by the book. We had to sit medicals before we entered the venue and everyone was tested for COVID-19. For me, the best part was that it took place in an Equestrian centre and that our warm-up room was a stable. There was something odd about watching Marcos, Seany and Jack drilling technique in a stable. It was a good laugh and we all got really good results. I definitely won’t forget it anytime soon.
Larry: That certainly is unique. hopefully, they cleaned up after the horses before you guys arrived. Speaking about the competition, you’ve been a veteran of SGI and competed at many different events. How important is competing to you and your journey as a whole?
David: Honestly, I don’t particularly enjoy competing but it’s something I do to push myself out with my comfort zone. I think the reason I compete is to represent the level of Lycans/MNBJJ as a whole if that makes sense? The club has a really good reputation when it comes to competing and I want to keep that going and maybe even improve on it.
Larry: Do you see it as necessary to level up so to speak? Not just for you but everyone?
David: Absolutely. I’ve been fortunate enough to have training partners and instructors like Marcos, Seany and Jack who are regular competitors. I think as a team in the last couple of years everyone is growing stronger and it’s really important to keep pushing our boundaries.
Larry: That’s awesome! So what have been some of your accomplishments so far or things you’ve particularly proud of?
David: In terms of competition my biggest accomplishment so far has been winning the British No-Gi Open. I had a really good performance that day and managed to get 1st place, submitting all my opponents. I have also done the weight class above what I normally compete at, it was brilliant being able to eat whatever I wanted. I’m fortunate enough to have a coaching role in the gym, this is something particularly important to me. I enjoy helping beginners with Jiu-Jitsu and making it an enjoyable experience for them. Some of the guys who started at my beginners class are coming along now and it’s brilliant to watch.
Larry: I believe you’re also unbeaten at SGI is that true?
David: So far so good mate.
Larry: Amazing! You mentioned there about coaching the beginners, as someone relatively new and admittedly at time of posting rubbish what tips would you give to someone newer to BJJ and grappling in general?
David: Just to put the hours in. I think the mat time is the most important aspect. You’ve probably heard that a thousand times but there really isn’t any shortcuts. Also, enjoy it, don’t put too much pressure on yourself!
Larry: Very good advice David. Ok, so we’ll end it by asking what are your goals/plans for 2021?
David: All things going well I’d like to compete at some of the bigger IBJJF events. I also plan to continue competing in sub-only events and hopefully get more opportunities there. I’d like to travel about a bit and get some training in different places too. Thanks for your time mate! Shout out to my coaches Marcos Nardini, Joke Love, Seany Stewart and the rest of the team at Lycans/MNBJJ.
Larry: Thanks David for the interview.