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The LIONHEART 2017 DAKAR OPEN

The LIONHEART 2017 DAKAR OPEN

The second evolution of the LionHeart Dakar Open was again staffed by members of KOA Team, but this time the objective was to impart those skills to local organizers and coaches to ensure Jiu Jitsu player affiliated with the LionHeart Initiative had the skills, experience, and ability to sustain what was previously organized by volunteer visitors from the USA.

Creating this sustainability ensured local staff were able to organize several tournaments of their own in months following the internationally organized 2017 Dakar Open. A notable and encouraging sign in 2017 was African transnational support in the form of several competitors traveling from the neighboring country of The Gambia, enduring a full day long voyage across rivers and pothole ridden roads to attend the Dakar Open.

The results and ranking from the 2017 Dakar Open held on 18 March 2017 at the Senegal National Dojo in Dakar:

ADULTS:
Blue belt, Open Weight
1. Boubacar Diallo
2. Alfred “Aziz” Fouda
3. Mamodou Lamine Ba
4. Ousmane Sagna

White belt; GI 60 – 66kg
1. René Antoine Sadio
2. Moustapha Diouf
3. Mouhamadou Ndiaye

White belt; GI 67 – 70kg
1. Cheik Ahmed Tijane Diallo
2. Edward Reska
3. Abou Wone

White belt; GI 71 – 80kg
1. Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Ndiaye
2. Pedre Seye

White belt; GI 90 – 100kg1. Bassirou Ndao

2. Ken Goodwin
3. Pierre Diouf

White belt; NOGI 60 – 66kg
1. William Leonache
2. Mouhamadou Ndiaye
3. Steve Ehi

White belt; NOGI 67 – 70kg
1. Edward Reska
2. Abou Wone
3. Issan Jichi

White belt; NOGI 90-100kg

1. Thebean Taylor
2. Bill Olander

KIDS:
White belt; GI 25 – 36kg
1. Samba Paziaud
2. Nourdin Correa
3. Abdour Rahman Seck

White belt; GI 40 – 50kg
1. Hassan Paziaud

2. Assan Malick

 

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UNITY in DAKAR ’17 by KOA team

UNITY in DAKAR ’17 by KOA team

A small Northern Virginia Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) crew led by Professor Kelly Grissom, KOA returns to Senegal for its fourth trip, and what could be their last venture into Africa. From 16 to 20 March 2017, KOA Team will give free seminars and lead BJJ training classes to further develop Jiu Jitsu in Dakar. KOA Team believes every BJJ team can find great personal growth and reward through the LionHeart experience, as they truly have, while also helping BJJ grow in Africa through the process.

KOA Team participated in the first LionHeart event in 2013 hoping to improve lives by sharing Jiu Jitsu and helping start a BJJ sub-culture where one really did not exist before. It worked!!!…there is now a small but growing BJJ movement in Senegal, which KOA Team had a hand in helping along; however, Kelly often says the LionHeart friends they made in Senegal actually inspired and changed KOA Team members in more ways than they could have ever impacted them.

“I do not have the words to explain how the LionHeart Initiative has changed us, our jiu jitsu, our team, and our lives. We hope other teams and jiu jitsu followers have the opportunity to experience Jiu Jitsu in West Africa while it is still in its infancy, but there is a part of us that guards this life changing experience jealously” Kelly Grissom

In November 2013, Kelly undertook a bold adventure to West Africa with group of young BJJ blue belts to support the LionHeart Initiative’s efforts to introduce BJJ as a foundational component of mixed martial arts, which it aimed to develop as a way to create opportunities for African athletes. This first LionHeart project was coined Rollin’ in Dakar. KOA Team subsequently returned to Senegal in 2014 and 2016, respectively for Steadfast in Dakar and Tuff in Dakar. Rollin’ in Dakar ’13 and Tuff in Dakar ’16 included seminars, exhibitions, and cross-training in local traditional wrestling, all captured in a docu-film produced by MMA maverick filmmaker Genghis Con.

This project contributed to LionHeart vision to lift deserving and talented athletes from poverty by driving a long-term development of MMA in Africa with the aim of creating local and international opportunities for young athletes to excel in the world’s fastest growing sport and mainstream entertainment. A unique strength of the LionHeart Initiative is its ability to motivate volunteers and connect experienced martial artists with talented athletes in Africa. Over the years, the MMA for Africa movement, which grew out of the LionHeart Initiative, has led to dozens of volunteer instructors worldwide traveling to Africa and offering free seminars in MMA or underlying grappling and striking arts. In return, these foreign visitors are afforded a life-changing experience in training with local martial artists and being exposed to the rich culture and traditions of African communities.

While continuing short-term projects led by foreign volunteers to grow MMA and underlying martial arts (thereafter cited as MMA) in Africa, but recognizing its limitations, the LionHeart Initiative will also fund long-term MMA travelers to live and train in African communities. Concurrently, LionHeart will promote and support pan-African exchanges for African MMA fighters to travel to neighboring countries to share their skills, which represents a cost effective and sustainable long-term concept of operation. Additionally, LionHeart will help organize competitive circuits and collaborate with local promoters to hold MMA events, which will serve promote the sport locally, motivate aspiring pro-fighters, and alter the local martial arts landscape.

 

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RISE of LIONS ’17 – Senegal, by D’Juan Owens

RISE of LIONS ’17 – Senegal, by D’Juan Owens

D’Juan “Dirty South” Owens is a highly experienced pro-MMA fighter, with a record of 26 professional fights, and a commited supporter of LionHeart’s vision to develop MMA, as means to create opportunities for combat sports athletes in Africa.

In that vein, D’Juan offered free MMA seminars to martial arts teams, as well as self-defense courses to local communities in Dakar, Senegal from 13 to 15 March 2017. D’Juan currently lives in North Carolina and fights out of the MMA Institute in Richmond, Virginia USA. With no previous martial arts or wrestling background, D’Juan began training MMA at the age of 23 while serving in the United States Marine Corps, after he was inspired by watching The Ultimate Fighter. In spite of many challenges, D’Juan stuck to his training and was unexpedly thrusted into his first amateur fight replacing an injured teammate. D’Juan traveled to Russia and Peru to compete in MMA, and on his own initiative later traveled to Africa to use his talent to make the world a better place. A conscious warrior, D’Juan’s love for Africa took him on missions to Uganda where he taught Jiu jitsu, MMA, and self-defense seminars. He organized his seminars at schools, youth centers, religious institutions, and gyms across the country. The focal point of his self-defense seminars were gender-based violence prevention, and once the technical portion of his self-defense seminars ended, he held group discussions about situational awareness, domestic violence, and common misconceptions about sexual violence.

“If you’re not ACTIVELY engaged in the dismantling or disrupting of the system that created the circumstances that you’re striving to improve, then you’re NOT serious about the revolutionary work” – D’Juan Owens

As a veteran of XFC, Titan FC, and Inca FC, D’Juan spent most of his professional career taking on fights as an underdog, and more often than not prevailing over crowd favorites. D’Juan is credited with beating UFC veteran Dustin Pague and TUF contestant Ran Weathers, as well as wins over Bellator fighters Jeremy Myers and Ian Rammel.

D’Juan attended the LionHeart 2017 Dakar Open where he and French pro-MMA fighter Sebastien Gueit showcased the sport in 3-round MMA exhibition.  This MMA super-fight is designed to demonstrate the close relationship between BJJ and modern MMA to the local audience which otherwise was never exposed to competitive MMA.

This project contributed to LionHeart vision to lift deserving and talented athletes from poverty by driving a long-term development of MMA in Africa with the aim of creating local and international opportunities for young athletes to excel in the world’s fastest growing sport and mainstream entertainment. A unique strength of the LionHeart Initiative is its ability to motivate volunteers and connect experienced martial artists with talented athletes in Africa. Over the years, the MMA for Africa movement, which grew out of the LionHeart Initiative, has led to dozens of volunteer instructors worldwide traveling to Africa and offering free seminars in MMA or underlying grappling and striking arts. In return, these foreign visitors are afforded a life-changing experience in training with local martial artists and being exposed to the rich culture and traditions of African communities.

While continuing short-term projects led by foreign volunteers to grow MMA and underlying martial arts (thereafter cited as MMA) in Africa, but recognizing its limitations, the LionHeart Initiative will also fund long-term MMA travelers to live and train in African communities. Concurrently, LionHeart will promote and support pan-African exchanges for African MMA fighters to travel to neighboring countries to share their skills, which represents a cost effective and sustainable long-term concept of operation. Additionally, LionHeart will help organize competitive circuits and collaborate with local promoters to hold MMA events, which will serve promote the sport locally, motivate aspiring pro-fighters, and alter the local martial arts landscape.

 

 

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