COMBAT INSTINCT ’17 , by Olivier Pereira

COMBAT INSTINCT ’17 by Olivier Pereira

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Top MMA coach Olivier Pereira from the team of UFC/Bellator fighter Paul “Semtex” Daley in the UK, joins the MMA for Africa movement with the LionHeart Initiative. Coach Ollie, as he is best known, traveled to Dakar and southern Senegal, as well as The Gambia from 9 to 22 April where he exposed local martial artists to MMA and gave free lessons to aspiring MMA fighters in order to help advance the LionHeart vision.

mma coach stands with Bellator champion and teammate in a cage in the UK

Coach Olivier Pereira (middle) stands next to his teammate Bellator Champ Paul “Semtex” Daley.

Aiming to introduce MMA to remote areas in the region, Coach Ollie gave free classes in the small village of Kabrousse in the forrest of southern Senegal, as well as the remote village of Kartung and the city of Serrekunda in The Gambia. Finally, he visited Mbour and Dakar where he will offer free seminars to aspiring MMA fighters.Coach Olie, aka Olivier Miipapa, is a member of Chute Boxe in Curitiba, Brazil. Trained alongside the likes of Vanderlei Silva, Mauricio Shogun, and Murilo Ninja, Oliver also worked with many prominent veterans MMA fighters, including Patrick Vallée and Cassiano Tytschyo. Since 2010, through collaborations, preparing for pro-fights, and exposure to different styles, Olivier has accumulated extensive experience and knowledge, which he used to create “Combat Instinct” a structure which serves as a fight laboratory seeking technical, strategic and tactical efficiency in the different disciplines of MMA (Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu).

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.

QUEST of LIONS – GENESIS by Eric Huebner

QUEST of LIONS – GENESIS by Eric Huebner

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Eric Huebner is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) brown belt, who was hosted by Team Bokk Jiu Jitsu in Dakar, Senegal where he led Grappling training sessions from 10 to 15 April 2017. Eric earned his brown belt under Tony Torres-Aponte, a Royce Gracie black belt out of Houston, Texas.

Since he was 12 years-old, Eric trained BJJ consistently, as well as crossed-trained in MMA, Muay Thai, and Wrestling along the way. With his extensive competitive background in BJJ, Submission Grappling and Wrestling and his experiences training at academies across the U.S., Brazil, and Europe, he is truly a seasoned grappling veteran.In 2013, after completing his dream of training and competing in Rio de Janeiro, he began to look for work opportunities abroad and has been living in Spain since 2014. 

Currently living in Madrid and training under 3rd degree black belt Davi Cavalcante, Eric has had the opportunity to train with Gunnar Nelson black belts at Mjölnir MMA in Reykjavik, Iceland and competed at the European championships in Libson to name a couple ventures. Eric has a passion for teaching wherever he is: From offering BJJ, Self Defense, and MMA classes at his university’s recreation center, as well as teaching as a guest instructor in Vienna and helping with beginner students at his home academies in Houston, Texas and Madrid, Spain.

“I can say without a doubt that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has enriched my life and it’ll be a special experience to pass along what I’ve learned while visiting a new place, absorbing a totally different culture and creating new friendships along the way through arm bars and chokes” – Eric Huebner

Eric first discovered the LionHeart Initiative last March when it was featured in the BJJ Globetrotter newsletter and the organization immediately caught his attention for a variety of reasons. He had always been interested in exploring Africa and what better way to do that for his first trip, than training and teaching Jiu-Jitsu? He immediately saw the LionHeart Initiative as the perfect opportunity to share the knowledge that he accumulated over thousands of hours on the mat to those who are hungry to learn and who haven’t had the sameresources and opportunities that he was blessed with. 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.