mindbodyandroll® had a rather special and blessed opportunity recently to speak with someone we know and who some may say pioneered and steered the growth and development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Romania and in-part some of Eastern Europe. He has schools throughout Eastern-Europe, but now has a network of clubs expanding as far as the Netherlands and Kuwait, to name but a few …
You might recall back to 2018 when the 1st ADCC European Trials took place for the first time in Bucharest, Romania – Who do you think was behind the scenes helping out with the organisation and ensuring that a great event took place?
He has also helped shape the careers of highly-talented and known athletes, who have come through his academy-doors, such as: Ion Pascu (Bellator and Cage Warriors), Camil Moldoveanu (A former World and European Champion in BJJ), Dinu Bucalet (MMA and big on the UK/European BJJ Scene) and Alexa Teodorescu (A young rising star with European BJJ and World JJ Titles under her belt).
He recently returned from a successful trip with some talented Romanian athletes from the ‘Ju-Jitsu’ World Championships 2019 hosted in Abu-Dhabi.
We welcome …
Firstly tell me your name, age and where you’re from and what part of town?
My name is Tudor Mihaita. I’m 42 years old and I’m from Bucharest (Romania).
Where do you currently train and who gave you your blackbelt?
I have my own academy in Bucharest named Absoluto and I received my black belt from my Professor, Eddie Kone.
Were you a good kid at school and at home?
Good at home, not that good at school 🙂 I was good only at the courses that I liked: Romanian, foreign languages, history and of course… sports.
What’s an interesting fact to know about you that no one else would know?
I don’t have any secrets…
When did you first start training BJJ?
Did you do anything before you started to train BJJ?
Nothing important. Just a few classes of boxing and Krav Maga.
What is your most memorable moment so far since you began training BJJ?
Oh, there are lots of them. Having my first student, Camil Moldoveanu, win IBJJF Europeans in 2009. He then became the most famous Romanian Jiu-Jitsu athlete winning Europeans at every belt except black (because he stopped competing after receiving the black belt and focused on his business). Then the first World Championship won in Abu Dhabi by Camil and Ion Pascu. I’m also proud of my career as an MMA coach. As a small academy, I managed to sign athletes to UFC, Bellator, Cage Warriors, etc. and has more than 100 fights in the corner as an MMA coach.
What’s one of the things you find most frustrating to do with BJJ, can be anything?
What is frustrating in BJJ is also challenging for me. I don’t like things that come too easy. But one of the frustrating things, that I can’t do anything about is that IBJJF World Championship is held every year in USA. This is favouring a lot of the Americans, the Brazilians that live there and the countries that are financially powerful. It’s hard for us to attend it because of financial reasons.
Who would you say are your top 3 idols past and present? And why?
I don’t have idols, but I have people that I admire. The first one is Bernardo Faria. I’ve studied his game long before I met him and I implemented his half guard game into my own and into my students’ games. I then met him and he is a very nice and smart guy. Other people that I admire are Nicholas Meregali, Thalison Soares and the Munis brothers.
When and how did you come about starting Absoluto?
I was the first person to train BJJ in Romania, in 2003. I saw a few techniques on the internet and I applied them on my cousin, sparring in my living room. And I was able to submit him easily although he was bigger than me. I realized that if I could do it just by seeing some pictures on the internet, it would be something else if I could learn it the proper way. And I enjoyed a lot the sparring. The feeling that it gives you. So I made it my goal to give this gift that BJJ is to as many people in Romania as I could. I created Absoluto in 2004 and now I have 18 affiliates in Romania, Moldova, Kuwait, and Netherlands.
How many students do you have now since beginning?
Thousands since 2003. We have right now over 400 students in both academies in Bucharest, one that I run along with other 7 instructors and the other that is run by my first black belt, Camil Moldoveanu, also along with the other 5 instructors.
You have some big names as well in that of some of your students, most notably and known to many is Ion Pascu, how is it having someone like him around?
He is an inspiration to everybody near him. He is a hard working guy that never complains and always has a smile on his face. I think if he was born in a country where MMA was more developed he would be an UFC champion by now.
Also here in the U.K. Dinu Bucalet is a highly talented former student of yours, who now lives here, how proud are you of some of his achievements on the big stage?
Dinu is one of the athletes that grew since the early beginnings in Absoluto. He competed very succesfully in MMA and then switched to only BJJ. I am very proud of him and I’m glad that he can live his life by focusing only on BJJ. What not too many people know about him is the fact that he is very good coach and his technical knowledge is impressive!
It’s amazing that you brought the ADCC European trials to Romania? I heard some great things by some of the athletes that competed, how did you end up hosting it?
I am good friend with Marko Leisten, the President of ADCC Europe and the person that brought ADCC to the level that is today in Europe. He noticed the good level of competition organization we have in Romania and asked me and Cristian Mastacan, my partner in organizing competitions, if we want to do ADCC European Championship. We were very proud to have been chosen and I think we managed to organize a high level competition that was for the first time aired live on flograppling.com
You have experience of hosting tournaments, I know, but how was hosting such a world-known tournament in your home city?
It was an honour for us. I was glad that was easier now for Romanian athletes to compete in such a big event. We, as Absoluto, managed to win the Best academy among all the big academies competing.
What is your favourite submission and why?
I like kimura as it a very versatile submission. You can catch it from almost any position, you can transition easily into armbars, triangles, wristlocks, etc. and you can also get the back from it.
What would you say was your most notable performance and was the most significant in your journey?
I am proud of my achievements as a coach: over 35 World and European titles. As an athlete, I am 2 x ADCC European Champion, 1 x WBJJA European Champion and 1 x JJIF European Champion. All these in the master division. I have also 4 IBJJF Open gold medals.
You have a number of big achievements to your name, but can you name one in particular that stands out to you and why, it can be to do with you, a student or even your family?
There are many, but I would choose the Romanian Cup last year that gathered over 700 competitors, most of them kids. After 15 years of starting BJJ in Romania, I was so happy to see so many people enjoying this sport.
How do you prepare for a fight on a big stage?
I increase my training sessions. Focus on my A-game and on strength and conditioning. I also like to study my opponents.
What’s the worse injury you’ve had?
I have two herniated disks. I also came recently from a complete ACL tear.
How did you overcome that?
I get help as most of our athletes from Centrokinetic a recovery clinic focused on orthopedics run by Dr. Bogdan Andrei. I did 3 months of recovery for my ACL and now I’m fully healed without the need for surgery.
What other adversities in your life have you had to overcome and how did you?
Training and competing with 2 herniated disks was and still is a big challenge. I still get completely stiff from time to time and that is very annoying as I have to stop teaching and training for a couple of weeks.
Do you do any conditioning training?
Yes. I do weight training and Yoga.
How many times a week?
2-3 times per week.
What does a normal week for you look like to someone that doesn’t know you?
My life is spent between my family (I’m married and have a 4-year-old son), my academies and other businesses that I have. I don’t have too much free time and I rarely get the chance to see my friends.
How is your diet?
I try to stay focused on this because I like food a lot and tend to gain weight easily. I try to eat as healthy as I can.
What food do you like most and why?
Sushi. Good protein and healthy.
What food do you hate and why?
Anything that is too flavored.
What’re your next plans for BJJ?
I have a lot of instructionals on many positions in BJJ.
We truly are very grateful to have had someone like Professor Tudor give us an insight into his personal story, of both his successes and some of the adversities he’s had to overcome.
We look forward to seeing even more success with his already highly talented squad of athletes and agree that we hope in the future more opportunities are granted to talented athletes to compete at the World-Championships, with perhaps it traveling overseas such as other sports, we welcome that day!
Also, we are waiting for those instructionals and being someone who has trained with Professor Tudor, I can assure you that YOU WILL NOT be disappointed at all, as he has some very cool techniques that obviously come from years of experience and refinement, and they are some I still personally use myself!
Do you ever find it hard to compete, perhaps due to distance or cost, we want to hear your thoughts?
Leave your comments below …