Professional jiu-jitsu athlete Bobby Sandhu is one of Australian grappling’s biggest breakout stars of the last few years.

Mr Sandhu trains at one of the world’s best pound-for-pound Jiu-Jitsu gyms, B-Team, located in Austin, Texas.

B-Team is led by ADCC medalists Craig Jones and Nick Rodriguez and boasts multiple world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes; Nicky Ryan, Jay Rodriguez, Ethan Crelinsten and many more.

Bobby is 23 years old and Indian-Australian – originally born in Sydney, he grew up on the Central Coast and is now living in Melbourne, Victoria.

He continuously travels back and forth between Melbourne and Austin, staying at either location for months at a time in pursuit of his goal “to be a Jiu-Jitsu world champion and world-class comedian”.

“When I was 15 I went into an MMA gym, I was doing quite a bit of striking … Muay Thai and boxing, a little grappling here and there, the grappling kind of interested me a lot more,” Sandhu told The Inner Sanctum.

“I moved to Melbourne when I was 18 and trained under Lachlan Giles, there I meet a lot of people who I’ve known since and a lot of those people are here in Austin now, which is the Mecha for Jiu-Jitsu.

“That was the same time a couple of Australians had broken out on the international scene doing Jiu-Jitsu and the fact that they were training in Australia competitively was pretty inspiring.

“I thought who best to teach me how to do this than the two people who are doing it.”

In the Ju Jitsu landscape, Bobby Sandhu refers to two Australians.

Lachlan Giles, an ADCC champion and pioneer of Australian Jiu-Jitsu who is credited as one of the country’s first icons in the sport and Craig Jones, who is currently one of the most prolific and successful BJJ athletes in the world.

Sandhu’s training under two of Australia’s BJJ greats could very well be the catalyst that pushes him to become submission grappling’s next big breakout star from Down Under.

Bobby is a ferocious competitor who trains for a variety of rulesets because Jiu-Jitsu has many different competitions and organisations, each with its own rulesets – this can be confusing for athletes because one technique could be legal in an IBJJF match but illegal in ADCC or EBI.

“Different rulesets will emphasise different positions and strategies” he said, “people often criticise the fact we don’t have a uniformed ruleset… I like that I have to be more well-rounded.

“The emphasis in my training is really on learning, trying to understand why things are working, why they aren’t… trying to come into contact with all this new information,  trying to analyse… getting different people’s takes and I’m really lucky that in the training room, there’s many world-class guys.

“I get up pretty late, noon practice is the first commitment of the day … depending on if I’m going to be cutting weight soon, so this means skipping breakfast and going straight to noon practice … I’ll just drink some water and electrolytes in the morning.

“Noon practice starts with a bit of technique, followed by quite a bit of rolling, I’ll roll for up to an hour, two-minute rounds, that varies on every day… I’m doing multiple sessions throughout the day.

“There’s no off-season for Jiu-Jitsu, often I’m on the mats seven days a week… even just being on the mats and observing, there’s a lot to be learned from that.”

The time this interview was taken was 10 pm, Texas time and Bobby had finished the day’s training and spoke to Jack Egan of The Inner Sanctum live from a comedy club, moments before his set.

“I do a little comedy on the side …  I’m at a little comedy open mic and in a bit I’ll get up and try to get some laughs,” he said.

“It’s nice to have something else” Sandhu admitted “if all you’re thinking about is Jiu-Jitsu, it can be frustrating, especially when a lot of the gains and progression can get incremental, so being able to have a different kind of game that I’m playing is really useful.

“Here in Austin there’s some of the best comedy in the world… after training there’s quite a lot of socialising, hanging out with the team…  sometimes we just sit and watch tape, watch instructionals, sometimes do a second session or I head downtown and try to get up and do some comedy.

“That’s kind of a luxury I have, not having my first commitment until around midday I can stay up later around town doing some comedy.

“Quite often, unfortunately, injuries, skin infections and random acts of God can take you off the mat, so having something else that I can do… it’s nice to have something that can take my mind off it.”

Alongside his competitive career and comedic aspirations, Mr Sandhu also travels the world teaching BJJ to combat sports athletes and delivering high-level Jiu-Jitsu seminars to eager martial arts gyms.

“Jiu-Jitsu is really accessible to everybody… to people of all ages, with different physical handicaps who can find a way around with Jiu-Jitsu, so it’s really special in that sense,” he said.

“I feel like Jiu-Jitsu has given me so much… that’s how I’m going to make a living, by teaching people techniques, so the more I know the better.”

Bobby Sandhu described his previous experience at ADCC Trials as one of his best moments.

“I surprised myself, I expected myself to do so much worse” Sandhu told The Inner Sanctum, “being able to perform above my expectations really made it a special tournament.

“My last ten matches here in Austin, I’ve had a bunch of submission wins”.

Bobby’s next tournament will be on the 1st of June, at 10th Planet, South Austin.

“I’m excited, I just did the 175-pound bracket they had and now I’m going to be cutting some weight and doing the 155-pound bracket … I’m around 165 … so it makes it a lot easier to do both,” he said.

Be sure to keep an eye on him during the next ADCC Trials, where the winners are selected to compete in the prestigious ADCC World Championships.

“To be a Jiu-Jitsu world champion and world-class comedian, that’d be pretty incredible … teach Jiu-Jitsu by day and do comedy by night, that’d be the perfect life for me.”

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