Jiu Jitsu Spotlight by KNOXX with Joel Vital

1. How did you get started in BJJ?
I was jogging one day and on my route I passed by a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dojo. I was getting really bored of running and going to the gym that I just wanted to switch things up. I felt positive vibes as I entered and decided to try it out. Rest was history.

2. What is your current rank and who gave it to you? Where do you currently train at now?
I just recently received my Blue Belt earlier this summer from Professor Sergio Silva (3rd degree black belt) at his facility, Team Silva BJJ.

3. Is there a person you would like to roll with if you were given the opportunity?
Helio Gracie, Rickson Gracie, and Ronda Rousey. All for obvious reasons.

4. Do you compete in BJJ?
I have competed but nothing too big. I’ve done Jiu Jitsu By The Bay four times in the past year as a white belt. I’m hoping to do a larger event as a blue belt.

5. How did you do in all your tournaments? Accomplishments?
My first one I ever did, I got shut out by points but felt okay because I got over the hump of competing and didn’t tap for the whole 5 mins. Lol. I set my goals higher after that. The next three I got silver, then bronze, and got the gold in my last tournament. No matter the outcome of every tournament I did, I felt my game get better just because my focus was a bit tighter leading up to those matches. That’s what I like most about competing is that your better regardless of the outcome.

6. What do you do for a living? Work? School?
I work in rehabilitation as a licensed Occupational Therapist. I work mostly with geriatrics.

7. What do you enjoy doing other than BJJ? Hobbies?
Spending time with my family which consists of my wife and two daughters. We are expecting another daughter later this year so I’m hoping to earn a black belt before they all start dating lol. Besides that, I love sports and getting my girls involved in active activities. Who knows? I might have them try BJJ when the time is right and if they want to.

8. How has BJJ changed your life?
Wow, it has really changed my life in such a positive way. Other than the obvious health benefits, it has helped me tackle life’s curveballs in such a calm and calculated way. On the mats, you have someone trying to choke you out, arm/leg lock you, or put you in uncomfortable and difficult positions. During these times I found out it’s better to stay calm and focus rather than panic and spazz out. I carry that philosophy over to life. Little things in life rarely phase me now since they are usually not worse than someone choking you!
Also, because of BJJ, I eliminated a lot of other hobbies and I’m now only focused on important things like family, health, work, and BJJ! I feel like it helped me simplify my life right now.

9. Any advice to the new white belts that recently started BJJ? Keep going and go consistently as you can, especially in the beginning to build that foundation. As a blue belt, I’m still building mine. Also, write down any techniques, drills, philosophies, or anything helpful after class. For me, writing it down lets me reflect and think about what I learned ,which helps it stay in my memory.

10. What do you like most and least about BJJ?
I’m a health/Kinesiology major and work in healthcare. Kinesiology is the study of human movement. I thought I knew all about what the human body can do. However, after doing BJJ, I’m completely blown away of what the human body is actually capable of doing. By doing BJJ, I feel I’m using my potential in that sense. That’s what I like about it among a lot of other things!
What I like least is the injuries, big and small, whether it’s me or someone else.

11. Do you train any other martial arts or exercise other than BJJ?
I did do Muay Thai kickboxing for 2 years prior to BJJ which was really fun but now focused on BJJ for the long run. If I exercise its probably BJJ related in ways that can help my game.

12. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of this interview?
One last thing I want to say is that with BJJ, I learned how to take a loss. As a white belt you take many losses. It’s what you do after that loss is what makes you who you are. A lot of people are afraid to do things because of of the fear of losing or looking bad. In BJJ you really can’t have that mentality. If you did then we would all quit the first day. Win or lose you are humble and learn from it. I believes this applies to anything in life. It doesn’t have to be BJJ. It can also be applied to other passions people may have.

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 info@knoxxfit.com. 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!
Check out http://www.Knoxxgear.com


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