UAE Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has just become the first person to practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in space after taking his gi and his purple belt to the International Space Station in order to keep up on his training. He actually became the first BJJ practitioner in space earlier this year, when he became one of two men to take part in the UAE’s first long duration space mission. Now he’s decided to take it an extra step further though, and he’s recorded some footage of him keeping up with his training while he’s up there.
He started out the video by explaining exactly why he’s taken part in the mission, and what his job is while he’s in space. Al Neyadi was actually selected out of a stunning 4,022 candidates who originally applied for the mission to live on the International Space Station for a period of 6 months. He then goes on to explain how much Jiu-Jitsu helped him prepare for the mission into space, as Al Neyadi has actually been a practitioner of the sport for over 7 years now and has managed to reach the rank of purple belt too.
There are actually several ways that Sultan Al Neyadi believes that Jiu-Jitsu has helped him prepare for his mission into space. He mentions that the ability to feel comfortable under the pressure of an opponent helped him cope with increased G-force, and the ability to use his legs independently has helped him move around without gravity. Interestingly, these two things are actually among the most difficult concepts for new people to learn when they start out in BJJ and it can often take several months for people to learn how to deal with discomfort and how to use their legs as confidently as they would their arms.
Sultan Al Neyadi shared the video of him wearing his gi and doing some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu drills in space in a recent post to his official Instagram account: