Tuesday, 20 December 2011

iMMACULATE Style - An interview with Miad Najafi

I haven't reviewed a brand in a while however I was so impressed with new brand iMMACULATE that I thought I would share it with you.

iMMACULATE is one of the growing number of clothing brands inspired by mixed martial arts to hit the scene.
However to look at some of the designs you perhaps wouldn't pick it out as being your typical MMA inspired apparel.
There are currently 4 t-shirt designs available featuring stylish and artistic prints that are comparable in terms of quality to brands like All Saints and Diesel.
Here to tell us more about the idea process and thoughts behind the brand is iMMACULATE's founder Miad Najafi.

You have a diverse background in martial arts, what inspiration did you draw from this to create the iMMACULATE brand?
I have been really fortunate to have trained with some phenomenal instructors and fighters.
What is nearly always the case with high level guys, is that they are often intelligent, articulate, technical, athletic and humble individuals.
I didn’t really feel that most of the present MMA and combat sports inspired brands really captured that.
In fact I always felt that many of the market leaders relayed the more negative stereotypes of what a fighter really is. That really was the spark that has led me to create iMMACULATE.

What would you say separates your brand from some of the others currently available of the market?
The main difference is the overall brand message and identity with a strong focus on creating high quality and beautiful garments.
I wanted to portray the fighting athlete in a positive light; that fighters are in constant pursuit of perfection on their journey to excellence.
But that isn’t just because I say so, that message needs to run deep into the designs, branding, artwork, fabrics and colours choices for each and every garment.
I wanted everyone who buys an iMMACULATE piece to immediately be able to tell that this is something truly unique.

What is your favourite design out of the current t-shirts and why?

That’s a really difficult one for me to answer, as I love them all for very different reasons. Mastery (Graceful Mastery) was the first piece I commissioned by an amazing fine artist Dale Grimshaw, its based on what I felt was the DNA of iMMACULATE, so I have a personal connection with that particular piece of art but as I said, I love them all.

You have already got great reviews in popular magazines Men's Fitness and Jiujitsu Style, how would you like to see the brand develop and grow?
Obviously I want iMMACULATE to have a strong presence on the worldwide MMA and combat sports scene, but at present I am really focusing on creating garments that the athlete and fan will want to wear and to allow the iMMACULATE brand to grow organically. I am really pleased to say that the initial response has been amazing, but the feedback is even better when people see the pieces in hand as only then can the true quality and attention to detail be appreciated.

Have you got any plans to tap into the growing market of female martial artist and MMA enthusiasts?
At present we are looking at men's hoodies, sweatshirts, rashguards and fight shorts for 2012. We will however be looking at doing some women’s wear. In fact I already have some really lovely women’s vest designs in the pipeline, so watch this space!

Who out of the MMA or BJJ community would you most like to see wearing iMMACULATE?
For me it's vital that anyone who represents the brand should be someone who really holds the same general values as iMMACULATE. There are too many fighters out there who are sponsored by brands that don’t really fit the fighters character, for example Demian Maia is a really technical fighter, not to mention a really polite and humble guy, so for me it doesn’t make sense that he is representing a brand called Bad Boy, the same goes for a lot of the top level fighters!

Within MMA, I would love to see fighters like Jose Aldo, Machida, Frank Edgar, GSP, Jon Jones, Demian Maia, JDS, and Anderson Silva wearing iMMACULATE. Within BJJ I would shortlist Cobrinha, Marcelo Garcia, Braulio Estima, Lucas Lepri, Roger Gracie, Bruno Malfacine and Michael Langhi as my ideal brand ambassadors. They are all are really humble and articulate while still being phenomenal athletes, for me that’s what it's all about. Being a boxing fan, there are some fighters who I would love to represent iMMACULATE, but at present I am focused on the sports of MMA and BJJ.

Thanks to Miad for taking the time to chat with me, and I am looking forward to seeing the collection grow as I think Miad had created something really interesting.
Miad is an Alliance BJJ coach and his designs have already got the nod from the General, Fabio Gurgel
"I had the pleasure to see how the Immaculate was created; the brain storm behind the brand says why it is so cool!
Jiu jitsu and martial arts in general have from now on something that really represents what the real fighters feel"

Make sure you check out the designs on the iMMACULATE website you can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter: @immaculate88

Monday, 19 December 2011

Cage Warriors 125lb Women's Tournament

I was excited to read that Cage Warriors are promoting a 4 woman tournament to crown a 125lb Champion.
This will be some really exciting MMA to watch out for and is an example of the growing acceptance and popularity of women's MMA.

The first part of the tournament will take place in Amman, Jordan on the 15th of April and will feature German fighter Shiela Gaff (9-4-1), her opponent is still being matched.

Representing the best of UK talent is Rosi Sexton (12-2-0)and Aisling Daly (13-2-0).
Rosi and Aisling will face off on Aisling's home turf fighting in Dublin on May 5th.
The winners will finally face off in Turkey in September 1st.

I can't wait to find out who the fourth opponent will be, Rosi tweeted that she would like to see Tara La Rosa get the fourth spot.
WMMA fans may know that Gaff and Daly have already faced off with Gaff showing a much more aggressive style that finished Daly in the first round. It would be interesting to see how Daly adapts her game if she ends up facing Gaff again.
A match between Sexton and Daly has probably been on the cards for a while as they are probably the two most know fighters out of the UK. It should be a tough fight as both are very good grappler's so its a hard one to call.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Thursday Sparring - Footwork

In today session Paul was there to help us, as after watching my most recent fight with footwork still being an issue this is what we decided to work on.
We started off with some skipping followed by 9 minutes of agility drills to get warmed up. After this we worked on cutting the angle off a jab and a few other boxing combinations to get us thinking about using footwork to set up shots.
As usual the session was finished up with some sparring and then I helped the girls work their take downs and defense against the cage.
After I did some squats and lunges with Sharlotte as I have been slacking with strength work and have a bit more time to work on my conditioning with no fights or competitions for at least 4 weeks.

I have already started planning our next big session on January 22nd which will be an afternoon of boxing and submission wrestling drills for MMA followed by some sparring in the cage or ring, so if anyone would like to come along add yourself to the facebook group, send me a message or call up First Gen on 01323 724831

Monday, 12 December 2011

Kayo MMA and Female only Sparing in January

Its the day after my fourth fight and fourth win of the year.
As you may have read I had just fought a couple of weeks back on the Battle Arena show. This isn't something I would recommend or make a habit of doing as it is tough going having two fights so close together but I felt it was a good opportunity seeing as I had missed out on the contenders show and was feeling fight ready.
My opponent was Laura Clarke who was coming off a good win via TKO through a body shot.
As such I worked lots on my wrestling and movement around the cage.
The fight went how I wanted it to (despite a point taken off from an accidental illegal knee) and my take downs felt strong. I won in the first round via G&P, which was similar to my last fight but this time I felt a lot stronger with my shots.

Female training, classes and Open mats

I won't be fighting again until Feburary on either the Contenders or Battle Arena show, which gives me lots of time to work on my BJJ and grappling.

I was thinking about my plans for January and that's when I realised that there are quite a few female only events that might be of interest so here's a run down of some of them.

On the 7th January my friend caz is organising an event called "sticks kicks and jits" Which is a taster session of BJJ grappling and stick fighting, check out the event on facebook or send me an email for more info.

There is also competition sparring for BJJ at Gracie Barra in Derby the following day,,, these sessions are organised by Christine and are a great chance to get in some quality training before the Europeans.

Make sure you keep your ears open for news of the next London BJJ womens open mat session organised by Meg and taking place at various different gyms. The sessions are a great way to learn some BJJ and get some extra training in. Check out a review of the day by Meg at Megjitsu

If you live in London then why not check out purple belt Pippa Grangers female only BJJ class at diesel gym 1 on Mondays at 8pm or Sarah Merriners class on Saturdays 11am at Carlson Gracie Hammersmith.

Thursdays at First Generation gym Eastbourne from 11-2 is ladies only training, there is a good group of us now that have been meeting up to drill some technique and do a bit of hard sparring in the cage, I know not everyone is free to train in the day but if you are then feel free to come down for it, we might start a weekend class if there is enough interest.

So there you have it, lots going on in January to look forward to! Check out my next post on BJJ seminars and competitions in the next couple of days.