Look, Up In The Sky… It’s A Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s Edwin Najmi!
If you caught some of the highlights from last year’s IBJJF Worlds, chances are you had the opportunity to witness one of the biggest highlights of the event that didn’t involve a black belt. During the event and afterwards, this highlight was constantly getting viewed on iRoll.tv and other streaming sites.
Earlier that same day, Romulo Barral’s pupil, Edwin Najmi of Gracie Barra Northridge was on his knees, his face in his hands on the mat feeling like his dreams had been taken away. He had the opportunity to take home, what would have been his first ever world title, but he lost. What made it more difficult to accept was the winning streak he had been on prior to that moment. Taking second was a crushing blow and it appeared that Edwin would have to wait until 2015 to get another opportunity for gold. His other dream of being promoted to brown belt on the podium also appeared out of reach. Edwin had hoped to obtain this goal following in the footsteps of his friend and teammate, Felipe Pena when he was awarded his brown belt.
Later that evening the majority of the competitors at the 2014 Worlds had finished their day and many had already left the building. Edwin entered the absolute division, but his chances seemed slim as he was advised that no purple belt before him, at featherweight or below, had ever won the absolute division at the Worlds. With silence in the arena, and only him and his opponent the only competitors on the mat, something awesome happened. Maybe it was the frustration, maybe it was a bit of anger, maybe the song “I Believe I Can Fly” played in his headphones prior to the match, but whatever it was, the flying triangle (www.iroll.tv/?p=5964) thrown up and locked in by Edwin, advancing him to an extraordinary win, sent the crowd into a frenzy. He had reached the finals and won (plus he got that coveted brown belt on the podium).
Now, you may think that was the only time it’s happened, but if you Google “Edwin Najmi flying triangle” under the video section, you’ll quickly recognize that this isn’t an isolated incident, but something he does constantly. With that in mind, we sought out Edwin to figure out how he gets the flying triangle in competition on such a consistent basis. He obliged (with the help of Felipe Pena) and clued us in that he actually started doing flying triangles on accident. In the past, Edwin hurt his ribs and could only perform one takedown (to not hurt himself), which was to grab one side of his opponent’s collar with both hands, pull him forward, move his body out of the way, and then trip him. During a sparring session his attempt didn’t go as planned; his partner’s feet didn’t move much and so, he postured back up. The rest is history and you’ll see in this article what Edwin did next. To find out more about Edwin, follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @edwinnajmi.
2014 IBJJF Worlds Featherweight Silver Medalist
2014 IBJJF Worlds Open Weight Champion
2014 Abu Dhabi Pro Featherweight Champion
2014 IBJJF Pan Ams Featherweight Champion
2013 IBJJF Pan Ams No-Gi Lightweight Champion
2013 Abu Dhabi Pro Runner Up
2012 IBJJF Pan Ams No-Gi Featherweight Champion
2012 IBJJF American Nationals Featherweight Champion
Favorite Technique/Position: Triangle chokes, foot locks, spider guard or De la Riva guard.
Weight Division: Meio Pesado (70kg/154lbs)
Team/Association: Gracie Barra
Now, before you get all excited and start jumping wildly in the air like a crazy person trying to pull this move off, Edwin suggests learning some basic principles first. He explained to us that this next drill teaches you where your feet and grips should be placed to jump properly, when to jump (timing is important), how to be comfortable falling back, how to shoot your legs up to snatch the shoulder, and how to isolate the head along with one arm in order to get used to all the individual movements involved in this technique.