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July 2 2022 7:48 PM ˚
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Zaid Granduke and the making of Knights Martial Arts

(Photo: Handout from Zaid Granduke)
(Photo: Handout from Zaid Granduke)
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AMMAN — Upon completing his college education, Zaid Granduke, CEO of Knights Martial Arts, stood at a crossroads; He could either pursue a career in engineering or put his business knowledge to use in Jordan’s sports field.اضافة اعلان

He realized he “could have a more significant impact on society as an athlete rather than as an engineer, so I founded the Knights Martial Arts,” Granduke told Jordan News in a recent interview. “The school's goal is to bring back martial arts culture, self-development, and principles.”

(Photo: Handout from Zaid Granduke)

And martial arts, said Granduke, is beneficial because it teaches you about yourself.

His school specializes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and teaches grappling, freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, judo, and jiu-jitsu, among other sports.

"I began practicing martial arts in 2008, and Aikido was the first martial art I learned. Then I started watching mixed martial arts events and realized that everyone who was winning was doing jiu-jitsu. I went online and looked up jiu-jitsu and discovered the Circassian Charity Association," where he met his coach, Jahed Toughj.

With Toughj at his side, Granduke grew to appreciate the sport. Next, he began his career as a professional athlete by receiving education and training from Brazilian specialists as part of a contract with the Jordanian Army to train the Army, training with civilians while also working with the army in the Jordanian Military Sports Council.

Granduke likes to take risks, so he tried Muay Thai, an attrition sport, and came in second in his weight class domestically. He competed in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling and was Jordan's champion for three consecutive years. He also competed in judo and won a bronze medal in a local championship.

Honing his skills over the years, Granduke decided to pass his knowledge on to the next generation. He told Jordan News that martial arts have impacted his personality, attention, and progress, keeping him away from destructive habits.
Despite this, Granduke said, the sports industry does not provide sufficient income, and faces disproportionate taxation, while lacking support from official agencies. 

"Unfortunately, even though we are one of Jordan's most successful institutions, the sports income is low," he said.

"We pay the entire 16 percent tax like any other business, and sports federations and Jordan’s olympics committee offer no assistance. Preparing players for martial arts is financially and mentally demanding. Most of the athletes in this field are there because they are passionate about the sport.”

Over the past ten years, Granduke has played four sports in Jordanian federations. His experience made him realize that “no one can work alone.”

“The second issue is one of perception. Changing people's minds about mixed martial arts (is difficult). They believe it is a bloody and violent sport, but it is not,” said Granduke, adding that it is a sport built on the principles of brotherhood, love, and mutual respect.

Despite these misconceptions, Gradnuke remains optimistic about future generations, “because these sports are in high demand among parents and children, and our goal is to be an active and robust nation.”

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