One of the most successful European Black belts Espen Mathiesen was born in the small town of Egersund on the west coast of Norway.
While always pursuing athletic endeavours, originally football, he would find Jiu Jitsu at the age of 16 and fall in love immediately. He would soon give up football to devote more time towards BJJ, his first instructor would have limited time to teach therefore Espen would buy his own mats to drill at his home. He would soon be introduced to Jose Carlos at a seminar and would soon begin visiting the Nova Uniao academy in Haugesund. Espen had always planned to go to university but before that he took a year off to focus on BJJ totally, visiting the USA and training extensively at the Mendes Brothers academy and Gustavo Dantas's academy in Arizona, this would eventually result in a silver medal at the IBJJF World Championships.
It was this result which convinced him to pursue a full time career in BJJ, and he hasnt looked back. He would move to Haugesund full time to train with his friends Tommy Langaker and Vegard Randeberg It was at brown belt where Espen would begin to gain some notoriety, winning the IBJJF Europeans and Pans alongside his team mate Tommy Langaker. Espen would make a splash on the black belt ranks while only a brown belt at the Copa Podio making his way to the finals, losing to Isaque Bahiense by a narrow margin of 2 points. Espen would continue the success he had at brown belt, at the highest level, winning multiple IBJJF Opens, winning the 2018 UAEJJF World Pro in the u77kg division beating established black belt competitors such as Edwin Najmi, Yan Cabral and Jake Mackenzie in the finals ! He would follow this performance on with a IBJJF World Championship Bronze medal, beating athletes such as Atos JJ's Michael Liera Jr and submitting Edwin Najmi before losing to Lightweight legend Lucas Lepri by a single advantage !
After a quiet 2019, with a highlight reel worth finish on Polaris Pro, Espen recently won the IBJJF London Winter Open 2020, and we cant wait to see him win an IBJJF World Title in the future !
We caught up Espen and gave him some quick fire questions to finish the Blog!
Favourite competition you’ve done - My favourite competition has to be European Open IBJJF. The energy in the venue is always amazing and it is nice to compete in Europe. My favourite year would have to be in 2017 when i was able to win the competition as a Brown belt!
Favourite technique - Matrix backtake has to be my favourite technique. You can get it from everywhere and is it very effective, both me and my team mate Tommy have used it extensively in Competition, you can learn it at Wulfinghouse.com !!
Favourite submission - My favourite submission is the armbar.
Any sporting heroes? - I don't have any particular heroes.
Gi or nogi ? - I prefer the Gi and I always have. The gi gives more options and I find it more technical.
Favourite Gi - Balistico 3.0 is my favourite gi. It is solid and looks good.