I started my Jiu-Jitsu journey in January 2019. Martial Arts, in general, also fascinated me from a young age. I remember watching Dragon Ball Z always wanting to learn to fight like them, putting on Jackie Chan movies and watching in awe as he flipped around destroying everyone who tried to fight him.
I took a handful of karate classes when I was young, but due to a knee injury from kicking a soccer ball, I had to stop going. I was too shy to try wrestling in Jr. High and High School because of the singlet you were required to wear.
In my past time, I just continued mountain biking and skateboarding until I got to college where a friend got me to start working out with him in a gym. I gained a bit of muscle but also some confidence in going into a fitness-like-environment.
So, when the time came and I was asked by another friend to join them at their Taekwondo class, I said Yes!! The Taekwondo class was once a week and I did it for 4 months before it stopped for the summer months. In that time I managed to get my yellow belt!
As summer came to an end, Taekwondo classes would soon start. But, I was going to move away to pursue Computer Science which meant I would not be able to continue the Taekwondo class.
A year went by and I managed to catch up with a good friend from back home. He told me how he started doing Jiu-Jitsu and a bit of boxing. We did a few exhibition boxing matches in his dorm room – which was a blast – before he invited me to join him for one of his Jiu-Jitsu classes.
I joined him of course and we did some drills across the mat which unfortunately caused my knee (the one that was injured way back!) to get irritated. I finished the class and thought it was a lot of fun; but, the instructors were more interested in talking to each other than they were in my friend and I.
The experience was a bit dishearting. The instructors not caring about the only two students in their class made me not want to work around my knee in order to train. And I decided that maybe this sport just wasn’t for me. I continued to train powerlifting and get as strong as possible instead.
Fast forward 10 years.
I turned 30 years old and felt like I missed out on a lot of things I always wanted to do. The fascination of martial arts never left me and training in the gym just felt like I was training with no real purpose.
I was eying up a local MMA gym for 10 years and I thought it was finally time to just throw myself into MMA, Muay Thai, and BJJ. I signed up for 6 months and no matter what happened I was going to give it a fair chance.
MMA was amazing. It had everything I liked. You could use a strategy to try and force the opponent into a fighting style that was more favorable for you and the training sessions were intense. Unfortunately, my tendons did not want to cooperate.
Muay Thai was a great striking martial art that not only used striking but also clinching which opened up a lot of different possibilities for sparring matches. As much as I thought I would enjoy Muay Thai, getting punched in the head after a day of work and then going home with a headache just didn’t seem worth it if I wasn’t going to compete.
Finally, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Grappling in MMA class was my favorite aspect of that class so I immediately wanted to learn how to perform better on the ground. BJJ gave me this opportunity.
I enjoyed how I could slow down the pace so I could really think about my next move and attempt the techniques taught. I didn’t have to worry about getting smashed in the face if I messed up or took a bit longer to think about what to do next.
Jiu-Jitsu – to me – was like a strategic battle of technique that you could speed up or slow down depending on the tactic you wanted to utilize. Of course with all of the other martial arts, you can do this, but BJJ jived the most with my brain and how my body works.
And so, my journey with BJJ started.