1. How did you get started in BJJ?
I originally signed up under Cung Le’s kickboxing gym for their cardio kickboxing. Our coach at the time, Jane Estioko, was adamant about pushing people against their own limits and eventually got me to start sparring competitively. Striking lead me into trying their mixed martial arts technique class where I noticed that grappling was something that came naturally to me. I signed up for a jiu jitsu program and was hooked ever since.
2. What is your current rank and who gave it to you? Where do you currently train at now?
I’m currently a third stripe blue belt under Josh Thomson at Knoxx Martial Arts.
3. Is there a person you would like to roll with if you were given the opportunity?
I love the aspect of playing with guards systems so I fancy those who are famous for their guard games. I’ve already gotten a chance to roll with Michelle Nicolini. My original style was heavily based on her game so I studied every detail of her matches. Lucas Leite plays a guard that contrasts Michelle’s open guard game, so I want to roll with him to further understand his techniques so I can have a well rounded guard game overall.
4. Do you compete in BJJ?
5. How did you do in all your tournaments? Accomplishments?
I did extremely well as a white belt and always placed, but my time as a white belt was short lived. Nerves and lack of confidence got the best of me for the majority of my blue belt career until now. I even took a year off competing because I felt unsure of myself despite placing now and then. After doing worlds, I feel more confident about the competition pace and hope to see an improvement of how my skills transition from training to the actual competition.
6. What do you do for a living? Work? School?
I’m currently a college student who works part time at my gym.
7. What do you enjoy doing other than BJJ? Hobbies?
The creative side of me loves to read and paint. I’ve also dabbled in graphic designing for fun as well. As an endorphin junkie, I’m always looking for something challenging like weight lifting and new ways to break a sweat.
8. How has BJJ changed your life?
I never thought a hobby could take over my life the way jiu jitsu did. I used to be a typical college student. I went out and partied so I spent a few nights a week under the influence of alcohol. I was even a smoker. Being a full contact sport, jiu jitsu is best when you can perform in your optimal condition. You don’t want to feel sluggish because it hinders your progress. It’s brought a lot of discipline to my life physically and mentally. I still indulge and have fun once in a while, but I spend most of my time making sure I’m functional for training. Being healthy overall has made everything easier for me because I’m always full of energy.
9. Any advice to the new white belts that recently started BJJ?
Don’t miss class if your schedule allows it. I know it’s difficult when you don’t have very many tools under your belt, but it’ll stay that way if you never show up to learn anything.
10. What do you like most and least about BJJ?
What I like least about jiu jitsu is that it’s easy for some people to get ahead of themselves. If you train regularly, of course you’ll see progress you’ll have moments where you’ll fall into slumps and you’ll have moments where you’re constantly dominating. Sometimes I get caught up in the good moments and being shower with praises. I’m one of those people who can get too confident but my favorite thing about jiu jitsu is that there’s always, always, always someone there to humble you. It could be your coaches, your training partners, and even your opponent. It’s alway nice to get a reality check.
11. Do you train any other martial arts or exercise other than BJJ?
I occasionally dip back into kickboxing for conditioning but have considered about getting competitive with it again. I have a love-hate relationship with the airdyne but it has done wonders for my conditioning and asthma. Weight lifting is also a challenge I enjoy.
11. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of this interview?
Jiu jitsu gets tough. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too invested in it because it can be quite draining mentally and emotionally. It’s okay to step back for a little bit, but I hope you’re at a place with a team that makes it hard to stay away for too long.
Jiu-Jitsu Spotlight is to allow one’s personal opinions, advices and journey into their Jiu Jitsu training and lifestyle.
If you train Jiu-Jitsu, and would like to be featured on our website and share your love and passion for BJJ, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All belt ranking are accepted as long as you love BJJ and you feel that it as impacted your life for the positive in any way. Osss!
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