Sharing over 20 years of international coaching and training experience, Amin Yaqubi is the master behind Extreme MMA’s wrestling successes. Guiding students to win multiple state and national titles, we sat down with him to talk about his love for the sport and his approach to growing the wrestling culture in Victoria.
Extreme: Thanks for catching up with us, Coach! Let’s start with finding out what it is, that makes a good wrestler?
Coach Amin: Hard work makes a good wrestler. Hard work and practise. Someone with discipline, and respect, who’s humble and listens to what the coach says.
Extreme: You’ve taught a lot of athletes in the past, and now you’re coaching Nikos for the upcoming AFC card in March. What’s it like to play a part in his career as a young fighter?
Coach Amin: Yes, for several years in a row, Nikos has received first place in the Australian championships. He’s a great wrestler, with great results and a big career. I feel really proud. Nikos is a very talented kid. The students love him, respect him and want to be around him…that goes for the rest of the coaches as well. Boxing coaches, MMA coaches – everyone likes to help him because he’s such a great student.
Extreme: So, what makes a champion wrestler like Nikos? What is it that sets them apart from everyone else?
Coach Amin: He’s got a hunger, he’s ambitious, he wants more and he wants success! If you really want something, no one can stop you because you have a goal. Your coach is there to teach you, but you have to want it bad enough and like being pushed hard.
Extreme: What goes through your mind when you see your students about to compete?
Coach Amin: Oh, everything…I’m nervous, excited, I’m watching them to make sure they don’t make a mistake. That’s why I always lose my voice in competition!
Extreme: As the leader of the wrestling program at Extreme, what’s your goal for your students?
Coach Amin: My goal is to one day see my students in world championships, the Commonwealth Games and to see them compete in the Olympics. That is my big goal. 2018 is the Commonwealth Games in Queensland. Right now, I keep pushing students like Irene, Nikos, Richard, Javad and Josh to push for that. It is my goal to put these guys in the Commonwealth Games to represent Australia and Extreme.
Extreme: What’s the hardest thing about being a coach?
Coach Amin: There’s a lot of responsibility. You have to learn how to be a specialist. I teach my students differently. I study the body and I teach different ways for different body types. Bigger, smaller…it’s about making the technique easier for them and being patient. Most importantly it’s all about teaching with heart. It doesn’t matter if you have 75% more knowledge the someone else – if you don’t teach with heart, it’s useless.
Extreme: What can you say to people who have never started wrestling before, but want to give it a go and feel intimidated to try it?
Coach Amin: It may look scary from the outside, but you have to try it. Give it a go! Join the team because everyone’s friendly. Everyone will help you because everyone started themselves once. Me, my students and everyone had to start one day. You can also use it for any martial arts. It doesn’t matter what [martial arts discipline] you do. If you’re a wrestler, you can do any martial art easier. In boxing, you’ll get balance and you’ll hit hard because you’ve got strong hips. Wrestling is a big part of MMA and BJJ, too.
Extreme: The kids wrestling classes have just been introduced at both Chadstone and Ringwood academies. Now that you’ve had the chance to work with the younger students, do you sense that there’s a lot of potential for them as future wrestlers?
Coach Amin: Yes, of course! Especially the other week, I saw a few of their [jiu-jitsu] fights on Facebook, and their takedowns were beautiful. As soon as they stood up, they were very confident. They know that no one can take them down. These kids are the future of Extreme because they they’ve started from a young age to make it to somewhere they want to go. They train hard. I can see a bright future.
Extreme MMA are one of the few academies in Australia that offer a full wrestling program. Running 6 days a week, Coach Amin challenges students as young as 3 years old to stay fit and grow through one of the oldest sports in history.
Whether you’re a beginner who’d like to try wrestling as a new hobby, or an experienced fighter wishing to bring your stand-up game to a whole new level, call 1300 TRY MMA to join in and test yourself on the mats today!