The FREEROLL team recently met and trained with Tarik Hopstock, an up and comer who is making waves with his impressive performances in international competition.
Here's an interview with this Jiu-Jitsu phenom!
Name: Tarik Hopstock
Rank: Purple Belt
Lineage: Carlson Gracie-Ricardo Liborio-Eduardo Rios-Tarik Hopstock
Affiliation: Frontline Academy
Competes at: International level (mainly in Europe)
FREEROLL: How long have you been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? What led you to the gentle art and what motivates you to continue?
TARIK: I have been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 2011. What led me to the gentle art must be my fascination with martial arts. I first started out training judo and then a friend of mine introduced me to Jiu-Jitsu at Frontline Academy. After a week or so, I was addicted and kept coming back for more. I love the thrill of competing, but I believe it’s the playful side of training and learning techniques that motivates me. I never get bored of Jiu-Jitsu, it’s an ever-changing puzzle and you can never really master it.
FREEROLL: Having won a number of prestigious competitions around the world, you are steadily developing into a rising star and top competitor. Which achievement means the most thus far in your Jiu-Jitsu Journey?
TARIK: So far in the purple belt division these are my biggest achievements:
Silver medalist in IBJJF Nogi Worlds 2015
Double bronze medalist in IBJJF European championship 2016
Gold medalist in IBJJF Nogi European championship 2016
Bronze medalist in IBJJF Worlds 2016
Bronze medalist in ADCC European 2016
Silver and bronze medalist in IBJJF Nogi Worlds 2016
Gold medalist in IBJJF European championship 2017
FREEROLL: What other competition goals do you have?
TARIK: My main goal is to compete eventually at the highest level against the very best athletes in the world.
FREEROLL: Do you have anything special that you like to do in preparation for competition?
TARIK: I like to prepare myself by making the training as specific to how the fights will be in the coming competition. As for mental preparation, I don’t really have any specific routines. But I usually close my eyes and visualize optimum performance the night before.
FREEROLL: What events will we be seeing you compete in during 2017?
TARIK: My next competition will be the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in London. You will definitely see me competing in the Europeans NoGi and Worlds as well.
FREEROLL: What advice do you have for people just starting out to train?
TARIK: Learn how to hip escape, take care of your training partners and wash your gi!
(Professor Eduardo Rios with Tarik Hopstock)
FREEROLL Who do you look up to or admire the most in the game?
TARIK: My biggest inspiration in jiu-jitsu is my professor Eduardo Rios. His passion for the sport is incredible and he always spreads positive vibes. What’s really is admirable is his dedication to his students.
FREEROLL: Aside from training in Jiu-Jitsu and being an active competitor, you are also a student. What are you studying (and where are you a student at) and how do you find the time to balance it all?
TARIK: Besides training Jiu-Jitsu every day, I study for a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education at Oslo and Akershus University College. As for work, I clean the mats at Frontline Academy and I am the instructor for the intermediate submission wrestling classes.
The best way to balance it all is to always plan ahead of time.
FREEROLL: You have developed your own submission, The Tarikoplata. What led to the development of that and how have you integrated it into your game? Any other surprises in store for the future?
TARIK: The improvised submission was a result of not being strong enough to finish the kimura. After practicing it and getting help from my teammates, we started to get the details. I started to see it from different positions and situations. My team started calling it the Tarikoplata, because I started to get it in multiple competitions.
FREEROLL: If you could roll with anyone throughout history (real or fictitious), who would it be and why?
TARIK: I would maybe roll with the daredevil to see if he would dare not to tap.
FREEROLL: Outside of training, what do you love to do?
TARIK: I love to travel and see new places. I’m a big fan of hiking and trying different sports during off-seasons. I love to have some lazy days too, where I eat good food and relax with some movies or series.
FREEROLL: Any Shout-Outs (Team, Sponsors, etc. and any links you want promoted)?
I want to thank everyone at Frontline Academy for all the support throughout these years. A big thanks to my professor Eduardo Rio for always helping me out.
I would also like to thank my amazing sponsors for making this possible;
Rios Gear for always keeping me fashionably updated with the best Gis and fightwear!
Voss Kiropraktorkontor (chiropractor) for always having my back and all the support throughout my travels and training!
Defense Soap for keeping me on the mat with a euphoric feeling of freshness and cleanliness, and a healthy hygiene!
BJJ Fight Gear for supporting my travels and for all their great grappling products. I highly recommend all of their products and services. Please visit their website for further information.
And Sumo Restaurant for helping me out and always serving the best food!
Photos via @tarik_bjj on Instagram.