What year did you start training?
How did you get started?
I worked at a bar with Eliot and he invited me in to train after I told him about an amateur MMA fight I did on my own.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your training, and how did you overcome it?
I think for me the biggest challenge was being super competitive and trying to win in the academy rather than trying to learn and get better. My instructors were mainly Professors Amal, Eliot, and Chaun, and they helped me learn to check my ego and train with the intention of improving my techniques.
What’s your favorite thing about training or teaching, and why?
My favorite thing about BJJ is that there’s something for everyone. People like me who were overly aggressive and needed a positive outlet get a brutal ego check and learn how to be ok with losing and gain confidence to be ok with tapping early and often. For others who might be struggling with confidence, BJJ helps you learn to protect yourself and to stand up for yourself. I love seeing the transformation of timid, shy, or even broken people come in and grow stronger and more comfortable in their own skin.
What are your personal goals on and off the mat?
On the mat my personal goal is to teach someone from white all the way to black belt. Off the mats my goal is always to try to leave people, places, and things a little better than when I found them. Often times I fail at this, but the times I’m successful are so rewarding that I can’t help but continue to try my best to accomplish this goal every day.
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I was very skinny and nerdy in high school. I didn’t have many friends, and I got picked on a lot. I didn’t do myself any favors by joining band, choir, knowledge bowl, etc., but getting bullied throughout school was probably the number one contributing factor to me starting to train Jiu Jitsu. Although I initially did it to become a fighter, I have grown into a much more level-headed martial artist over the years and I’m grateful for all the experiences that lead me to where I am today.