Where are you from (hometown)?
– Orhei, Moldova 

What age did you start training BJJ?
– At age 25. Been training since 2015

How did you get into grappling originally?
– Since childhood, I was fascinated by secret Martial Arts techniques, that will give you power to defeat your opponent with minimum effort and maximum efficiency. Maybe I was watching too many movies, but the fact that I didn’t know it didn’t leave my mind, among with multiple other stunts and dangerous tricks. As the time goes, I moved to USA I got an opportunity to learn the most deadly Martial Art that I found.10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. Purest form of contact without any weapons, gear or clothes.

What age did you get your current belt?
– 29
[read more] Your long text [/read]
What is your favorite submission?
– In our gym we call it – The Ego Crush. It’s a spine breaking move, where your legs wrap your opponent in Figure 4, behind his back, upside down, so you facing his legs from behind, then you pull the leg like in Knee Bar and put a lot of pressure on his back. It creates a lot of tension in the ribs, makes it hard to breath and lastly – Spine Breaking pressure that no one can ignore. 

What gym do you train under?
– 10th Planet Head Quarters.

What is your typical competition weight?
– 170 pounds. 77kg.

Who is your current teacher?
– Master Eddie Bravo.

What is your best achievement to date?
– 15X Got Talent Shows.
– Black Belt
– Owner of two 10th Planet Schools in Russia. @10thplanet_krasnodar and @10thplanet_spb
–  I just started to learn music production, so the best achievements are yet to come.

What is your worst injury to date?
– The worst injury was from Sword Swallowing.

Who is the hardest opponent you’ve ever fought?
– I would say – myself.

Most influential grappler on your style?
– I try to find my own Jiu Jitsu.

Plans for the future? (Goals etc)
– For my Jiu Jitsu goals, besides continuing to evolve in this art, I wanted to open the gates of our system in Russia, so every member of our team could travel and train in any of our 120 schools around the world. 

Any other comments you want to be mentioned (if you want us to link to your gym website etc)?
– I am currently working on website 10thplanetrussia.com And wanted to ask to link it, when the website will be ready.

I understand you’re from Moldova, a country not many people know about. Could you tell us a bit about how life in Moldova was for you, what is a typical day like and a typical salary?
– Eat, Sleep, Train, Repeat. That was my typical day, at that time I trained Breakdance. Type of activity, where you don’t need much. No need for equipment or any other gear, maybe except your shoes. I got to the 3rd place in championship of Moldova in 2008.

I saw a video where you said you won the green card lottery. Before I researched it I always thought this was a scam or a joke. What were your feelings when you won this? Also do you think it was luck or destiny?
– I think you are in charge of your destiny, wherever you are.
About Green Card – Thats the craziest story, because I just clicked on the banner, named “USA Immigration” on pirate Torrent website. Then filled the application in 5 mins. 6 months later I am getting a call, where I was told I won a Green Card. I thought that it’s a total scam and everyone around me, including my parents told me that it was a scam. But I was so curious and gave it a shot. And BOOM, now I live in Hollywood, California.

Regarding your BJJ Mantis Style, did you create this? If so how? Do you think it can be successful at the highest levels or is it just something people do not know how to counter very well?
– I think all of the above are true. Mantis Style is the unorthodox approach to every aspect of the fight, I think donkey guard has some similarity, starting with stance, it creates a lot of discomfort in your opponent’s approach and many of his attacks become ineffective, like jumping into a triangle. My front leg creates the distance that allows me to control the first engagement, without any surprises. It narrows your opponent’s options and he becomes more predictive. Taking it to the ground there is also  inverted approach, which makes you opponent solve additional upside-down positions before starting to attack. That gives me time to learn his weakness and attack first.
 About successful techniques at the highest level – I noticed that it goes in trends.  Our gym became obsessed with Leg Locks from 2015 and that’s the first thing I started to learn in Jiu Jitsu. Because at that time it was unorthodox and not many people had an answer for this. After 11 months in Jiu Jitsu I submitted a black belt with a Leg Lock. So this explains it all. It’s all about knowing techniques, that people do not know how to counter very well. Because my experience tells me – there is a counter to everything.

Also how are you able to balance doing reasonably high level bjj with your performance work? I think it’s pretty crazy how you can travel doing this sword swallowing shows and also be a good competitor – most of us can’t do one of these well.
– I don’t know how I chose these two disciplines, they are both opposite to each other. The muscles are working in different directions. When performing you have to do body extension/stretch, when doing BJJ your body does retraction/squeeze. But I perform and compete back to back with no problem. I created set of workouts that complement each other and make me stronger.
Diet is also different. One is for the good looking body, other is for dropping weight and stay in good condition for a whole tournament.
Both, performing and competing wears you out equally. But the end of all this, I am proud to have a sword and to know Jiu Jitsu. When I am on the stage, sometimes I can’t believe how I figured out a way, to walk around with a cold weapon and know most deadly Martial Art like no one else in the audience.  These two complete each other like Yin Yang. All this I share in my performance.

I also read that you have stabbed yourself  internally on accident in the past. How serious are these injuries and how dangerous is swallowing swords compared to some other things in life?

My list of dangerous things:
1) Danger Stunts/Sword Swallowing
2) Motorcycle accidents.
3) Jiu Jitsu injuries.

In 2013 I started to perform and combine Sword Swallowing with other disciplines, like Breakdancing, Pole Dancing, Fire Breathing, etc.
After a dynamic set of action on the pole I couldn’t calm my breathing, and the sword couldn’t go down, when I tried to swallow it. When there is 5000 people watching your act. You don’t really feel tired, or in pain, so I had to push it down. That move cut my throat. I can explain in more details but they are too sad. …Pain, Recovery, being in constant hunger, You loose weight, lose your muscles and you gotta work twice as hard, to get back in performing shape. I’ve been very close to death, and some my Sword Swallower friends were on the edge of life and death. My friend got in coma for two weeks, after passing out from a Sword injury. It is strange but the throat injury hits you like a fever. You get high temperature. Feel hot, then cold, then hot again…
To my knowledge there is 3 types of Danger that comes, when swallowing a sword… Most of them makes you not able to eat for up to a week. The rest of them you are not gonna make it alive from the stage.
1) When the Blade goes thru your throat and cuts it.
2) When you swallowed the Sword and pierced your stomach.
3) The Blade of the Sword, when Swallowed is located one centimeter away from the heart, any movement to the sides can pierce thru and you get a Fatality without seeing the end of your show.
4) And 4th. THE BONUS. I hold the Sword in front of the audience press the trigger and reveal the Spikes from the Sword handle.
– These 4 Spikes will penetrate my face including both of my eyes.
Each of these scenarios are going thru my mind when I am stepping on the stage with my sword. I never described it in so much detail, but when the Sword is Swallowed, the tears fill your eyes. And when I reach the top of the pole and get into upside down position, ready to dive down, the tears are right in the middle of my eyeballs and the vision becomes very blurry. Then I have to execute the Fatality Drop. On my last show I did my drop hanging on one leg only!

Lastly, is there any reason why you didn’t have a normal job like an accountant or something like this? What would you be doing if you weren’t allowed to be a performer?
I have other businesses, streams of income, all of them directed to make passive income, so I can focus on my shows and my Jiu Jitsu.

Thank you !