Marc is a blue belt who coaches Little Tigers and Tigers classes at the Littleton Academy. He has been training jiu-jitsu for over 5 years. We sat down with Marc to ask him about his jiu-jitsu journey.
How did you get into training?
I had just graduated from high school. It was the summer of 2013. An old buddy of mine got me into jiu-jitsu. I had wrestled with him, he actually wrestled at my high school’s rival school. He know I liked to grapple, and he knew I wasn’t so certain what I wanted to do with college. I couldn’t afford to go away and wrestle somewhere. Jiu-jitsu kind of filled that competitive hole for me.
I started training at New Breed Academy in Chicago. I trained under Professor Mark Vives. He was a huge influence on my jiu-jitsu, as well as my friend Ashur Darmo who got me into jiu-jitsu.
What brought you over to Denver and Easton?
I moved to Denver in January of 2016. It was quite a personal endeavor. It was the first time I’d ever been out of my parent’s house. I had just graduated from community college, and I kind of came here to find myself. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere, like I belonged where I was, and I needed to go out and explore the world a bit.
I heard Easton was a really good school, the best in the state. So I stopped by an open mat. I was going through a lot in my personal life at the time, I was going through a pretty life-altering breakup with a girl I was seeing for a really long time. I remember Professor Jeff Suskin giving a speech after class about being vulnerable with the people you love and finding strength through that, that true strength was being able to show emotion with the people you care about. That really spoke to me. I didn’t expect to hear something like that after an open mat. That’s how I knew I needed to be a part of Easton, to be part of a community of people who can be so open with each other.
The quality of jiu-jitsu at Easton is also amazing, and I feel like my game has really evolved since I started training here.
How long ago did you start coaching the Tigers?
I started coaching last summer, so it’s been almost a year. Coaching here has become such a big part of my life. A big part of my coaching experience, of my growth as a coach, has been battling negative mindsets that I’ve found myself stuck in. It’s the little things, like remembering to smile in the middle of class. When I find myself getting into a funk or a bad mood, always remember to smile, to be conscious of my attitude and remember to have a good attitude. And find solace in little victories. Even when something in my life is not going well, I can find little ways that I’ve grown from it.
What are your suggestions for someone who is just starting out in jiu-jitsu?
Jiu-jitsu is not always intuitive, there’s a lot to learn, and in the beginning it can feel like we’re always failing. I think it’s a great metaphor for life in that we should always find the opportunities for growth within our failures. It makes for an all-around healthier human being.