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Michael Phipps

Michael Phipps

Specialties: Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai
Location: ,

Current Belt/Rank:
Purple Belt/Blue Shirt

What year did you start training?
I started training in 2016, but I wrestled when I was young and practiced a little Muay Thai in college.

How did you get started?
I had wanted to train Jiu Jitsu since I was a teenager and dabbled in Muay Thai somewhat in College. In 2016, I moved to Des Moines, Iowa and decided that if I was going to learn martial arts, that time was as good as it would get. I didn’t have any money after the move, so I went to the Des Moines Jiu Jitsu academy and asked if I could make some videos in exchange for a few months of training. I’ve never looked back.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your training, and how did you overcome it?
Injuries have been by far the biggest challenges in training. They don’t happen that often, but when they do happen it’s never at an opportune time. As someone who always wants to be training, having to take time away from the mats is the worst. Every time I have been injured I’ve taken a week or two completely away from training, then I start figuring out what I can do to keep learning and improving while continuing to heal. The most important thing is to avoid doing nothing while you’re injured!

What’s your favorite thing about training/teaching, and why?
My favorite part about training and teaching is the same: the relationships you build. The bond between training partners and coaches + students is one that is built and reinforced upon trust and reciprocity. Everytime I walk into the academy I am genuinely happy to see and speak with everyone I coach and train with.

What are your personal goals on and off the mat?
I want to compete more. Competition motivates and inspires me like almost nothing else. I would like to get as many Muay Thai fights as possible in the coming years and also work my way back into MMA. I’m also excited to start competing as a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu tournaments.

However, my biggest goal on and off the mat is to help and inspire as many people as possible. Hopefully, they will go forward and do the same for others. I want to help build relationships and communities that make others feel like they’re not alone, that they’re supported, and that they’re cared for.

What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
Most people who know me know that I played football and wrestled growing up. What surprises them is that I was a pretty big kid as well. My junior and senior years I wrestled heavyweight, and at the end of my senior year of wrestling I weighed 250lbs. Now my standard weight is closer to 190lbs.

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