A month with Arun Sharma - Concepts beyond BJJ
In April we were fortunate to have guest instructor Arun Sharma with us. He is a Brown Belt in BJJ under Professor Rodrigo Teixeira, and the owner of BJJ India in New Delhi. But his expertise in martial arts does not stop at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.. He is also well-rounded in various other martial arts, and due to this wealth of knowledge was able to show us cross-disciplinary applications and methods during his classes. We were also treated to an eye-opening wristlock seminar at the end of his stay with us. Thanks to Arun, our minds have been opened up and we have developed a greater appreciation and respect for so many other disciplines beyond the ones that we visit on a daily basis in our schools.
Arun shares his story and ideals with us in this exclusive interview.
Trifecta (TFT): Tell us more about your martial arts background.
Arun Sharma (AS): I started learning martial arts at a very young age. I did Shaolin Kung Fu for first few years and reached up to Senior Instructor Level. After that I started studying Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Kali, Wing Chun and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Now I am certified Instructor in JKD-Kali under Sifu Harinder Singh and a Brown Belt in BJJ under Professor Rodrigo Teixeira.
I started teaching at the age of 18, and got the opportunity to teach the Indian Special Forces. In the last 9 years I have been teaching various Military and Law Enforcement agencies. I have a project with my Instructors and Team, under which we travel across in various states of India and teach Free Self Defense to Kids and Women.
TFT: Why do you feel like martial arts is God’s gift to your life? We’ve heard some stories of how you’ve applied them to the streets. Tell us more about this.
AS: I witnessed a tragic incident in which two of my friends were killed in a knife attack. I was in shock and full of fear after that incident that I decided to learn martial arts to defend myself. Through martial arts training, not only I was able to overcome the fear, but I also became a more confident and stronger individual. I realized the importance of martial arts in my life and how it can be a useful tool to empower others, and so decided to teach it.
A few times I have had to use martial arts in a real life situation to defend myself. In most cases, I was able to use my situational awareness training to avoid the matter from getting worse. Once a group of four guys pointed a gun at me and asked for my wallet and phone, at which point the best option would be to hand over the phone and wallet to them. That is exactly what I did and got out of that situation safely. In one of the other incidents, where I got into a fight with two guys over a silly argument, I was able to use some basic palm strikes and clinch work to defend myself. I feel that staying alert and aware is the most important thing. If you can avoid the fights, stay calm and composed and make right decision - you will be safe.
TFT: “Be water my friend” - expound on this in your training philosophy.
AS: In a real fight you can't decide the rules or ranges, number of opponents or the surroundings. So you must have the ability to adapt like water. "Be Water My Friend" - This idea and philosophy can be easily seen in Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. In Jeet Kune Do we train in all ranges of combat with and without weapons, considering single or multiple attackers and various situations. We do Filipino Kali for weapons, Muay Thai and Boxing for striking, Wing Chun for close range combat, Judo and Wrestling for standup grappling, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for ground grappling. The idea is to flow from art to art and range to range.
If we relate it to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training and sparring, we can say that its very important to have a complete game from all positions so you can adapt to your opponents game, and instead of using strength, try to be like water and flow from position to position.
TFT: Aside from martial arts, who is Arun Sharma? (e.g education background, life back at home other than martial arts)
AS: I did Masters in Computer Applications, and I work as a freelance website developer. Apart from training and teaching martial arts I like photography and traveling, specifically to mountains and going on treks.
TFT: Tell us your favourite music to train to!
AS: My favourite music genre is Alternate Rock. While training I like instrumental music like guitar, tabla, or the flute. A few of the bands I like - Hoobastank, Breaking Benjamin, Linkin Park and Pink Floyd.
TFT: Share with us a quote you live by.
AS: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
TFT: Who are your most favorite people in your life?
AS: People who made me a better person, student and teacher are my favourite. It's tough to name them all but first and foremost my parents and brother, plus my masters Rodrigo Teixeira and Harinder Singh. They are not only are my teachers, but also like elder brothers to me, and extended family.
TFT: Talk about the overlaps of martial arts techniques. Why should we not ignore the other principles?
AS: I feel that instead of comparing martial arts we should look for similarities between them and try to absorb the best aspect of each art. If you see within BJJ, the takedowns and various transitions from Judo and different styles of wrestling are used. Leglocks from Sambo are used, Wristlocks from Japanese Jiu Jitsu, Aikido and Chin Na are used, and sensitivity drills from Wing Chun are used while grip fighting.
Many martial arts systems have overlapping concepts; such as using the opponents force against him, diverting the push, fighting against weaker joints or muscles of the opponent, finding better angles to attack while keeping yourself safe, and so on. It all comes down to how you can adapt and create your own way of fighting according to your body type, goal and mindset.