Holiday Closure: All Easton Schools Closed Dec.14 & morning classes cancelled Dec.15

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December 22, 2022

Community Members of the Month: Expanding Horizons Beyond Perfection

Tatyana Grechina

Community Members of the Month: Expanding Horizons Beyond Perfection

Editor’s note: Each month we’ll be profiling three key members of our community.

We truly value our community at Easton, from our students to coaches and staff and all who put in extra time to help around the academy. Our community is arguably the heart and soul of the whole operation.  

It’s always the people – our friends, partners, and classmates — that keep us coming back. The disciplines we teach are important but serve as tools. They’ll only go as far as the people who use them, and how.

This month, we highlight three members from our Easton Longmont community: Abraham Ezzat in our Kids Program, Ezra Cox in Jiu Jitsu, and Alecs Bell in Muay Thai!

Abraham Ezzat, Easton Kids

Abraham Ezzat

Abraham, 12, first started martial arts nearly almost exactly a year ago, when he and his cousins first came to Easton Longmont.

Abraham has played soccer since he was three years old, and while he still loves soccer, he wanted to try learning something new. So when his cousins, Wais, Qais, Shaheen and Rastin all wanted to try Jiu Jitsu too, he was happy to start.

In addition to being a good steward of any training partner he’s paired with, Abraham has made a mark as one of the most intelligent Jiu Jitsu practitioners on the mats in the Tigers class, which has earned him the nickname “Megamind.” 

Watching him at the most recent competition showed great example of the sort of heart he brings to the mat — and not just in winning.

“He was hyper aware of taking care of his training partners,” Coach Jordan tells us. “You’d see him gently setting people down when he hit them with a good take down. It was really cool to see, especially in an environment where he didn’t have to be so careful but he was anyways, and I feel like that says a lot about his character.”

The Tigers will frequently ask coaches to show new moves or techniques before class starts, and while Abraham may not be one to ask, Coaches Jordan and River notice that he’s always watching. 

“He will take those techniques he sees us teach, and systematically apply them,” says Coach Jordan, “using training partners that have less experience than him to start developing that technique. He has this progressive system where he ramps up the difficulty by choosing new and stronger training partners and new moves.”

Abraham’s style of learning and application has helped him figure out how to progress through Jiu Jitsu and makes him a very impressive student!

“With BJJ you learn so much cool stuff,” Abraham says, “I just love doing it.”

As of today, Abraham holds a grey belt with a white stripe, and he’s only leveling up!

What drives Abraham

Like many of us, the coaches, our teammates, and love for the sport keep Abraham coming back. He wants to learn more and get better, and sometimes he switches it up and jumps into Muay Thai.

In life, Abraham’s family drives him. One day he hopes to earn his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

“I want to show my family that I can do anything,” says Abraham. “Jiu Jitsu has made me grow and made me strong and confident for anything — the black-belt mindset.”


Ezra Cox, Easton Jiu Jitsu

Ezra Cox

Ezra has called Easton Longmont his home gym in 2020. Growing up wrestling and watching the Gracie brothers beat everyone in the UFC, Ezra had always wanted to try Jiu Jitsu.

He finally began training at a gym in Waco, Texas in 2019, and when he and his family moved to Colorado, joined the Easton family. And lucky for us! Ezra is consistently one of the best training partners you could ask for — willing to give you a run for your money or slow down and flow, talking you through a move and helping you with your technique.

It’s no wonder that this October, Ezra, who now holds a blue belt with two stripes, began coaching morning All-Levels Jiu Jitsu classes!

What drives Ezra?

Whether in life, at work or in the gym, Coach Ezra constantly sets new goals to give himself something to strive for. These include both short-term and long-term goals — from weekly projects to learning Spanish or earning his black belt.

Ezra’s driven mentality has often pushed into perfectionism, manifesting into a fear of trying new things — wanting to get it right the first time. Confronting and moving through this inclination towards perfectionism has formed an ongoing challenge and focus.

“As I’ve gotten older, I realize that’s not how it works,” says Ezra. “However, I can keep reaching new, small goals to be perfect at that little thing.”

With a wife and two young boys, Ezra has also become more family, friends and community-oriented.

At some point along our journey, we realize we’re not going to be perfect. We all have to start somewhere, and while it can be hard to reconcile perfection with beginning new things, if we shift our mindset from our ego to our growth, we can do a whole lot more than we ever imagined.

“I was really frustrated my first year of Jiu Jitsu,” Coach Ezra remembers. “I could only come in two days a week, and all these others were there five or six days.”

We’ve all been there. Ezra decided to make the best of those two days and do his best to study on his own outside of class. Now he coaches mornings two days a week and comes in on his lunch break another two days for class!

Coach Ezra and Coach Ashley running through a demo for class.

You really can’t compare yourself to anybody, but especially on the mats. Not everybody has the same schedule or free time to devote to learning a new sport, and people are going to excel at different rates — especially initially. 

At times we might envy those who have one thing really mastered — be it constantly training or constantly in the studio painting and cranking out new work. However, when we want to hold ourselves to a standard of perfection in every activity we undertake, we really can’t compare ourselves to people who make even one of those their only activity. 

“In the end, those people won’t get to enjoy all of the other things,” says Ezra. “Everybody knows that proverb: a jack of all trades is a master of none. Rarely, though, do we hear the second part:  but oftentimes better than a master of one.” 

Ezra’s favorite part of Easton’s community is the richness in variety of backgrounds and paths that brought us all here.

“You don’t just walk in and find a room full of people who started Jiu Jitsu when they were kids,” he says. “I’m an accountant; we have artists, theater people — you wouldn’t guess any of that. Neal and Gelsey are out homesteading. You come together to do Jiu Jitsu, but everyone is so different.”


Alecs Bell, Easton Muay Thai

Alecs Bell with Coach Phipps

Alecs came to Easton Longmont in November of 2021, but he first started training martial arts in 2010 with Judo while studying abroad in Japan.

Growing up, both his dad and grandpa held black belts in Judo, and though Alecs’s household was heavily influenced by martial arts, he didn’t have the opportunity to really practice himself until later.

Alecs did, however, have the opportunity to do Karate as a kid, but it was so different than what his dad and grandpa studied that it was hard to relate to them; Karate’s emphasis on flashy movement didn’t hold the same weight that tough wrestling energy did in his family.

Today Alecs is a strong representation of our Muay Thai program with a green shirt ranking! He has also begun exploring grappling again, and when his recent rib injury fully heals, he plans to start back up with Jiu Jitsu.

Currently, Alecs is coaching the Tigers Muay Thai classes this month and continues to be our go-to guy for anything in the academy that needs fixing!

What drives Alecs

Like many of Easton’s fine athletes, Alecs is driven by the desire to constantly expand, learn new things and test his abilities when it comes to physical sports or anything else. 

“I definitely really enjoy the physical aspect of it and getting in a good workout,” says Alecs, “but at the same time, it does feel like a game I get to play with someone else — like mental chess.”
Similarly, outside the gym Alecs loves diving into anything he wants to learn. In high school, he studied Japanese and on a school trip decided he wanted to come back. He continued with his Japanese studies in college and studied abroad for two and a half years! After college, Alecs moved to Hawaii, putting himself closer and closer until eventually he lived in Japan again.
It was during this time that Alecs did Judo for half a year. We always love hearing how different martial arts communities are across the globe, and according to Alecs, the community here is vastly different than his dojo in Japan.
“Easton always feeling super welcoming, with new people always starting conversations,” Alecs says. “[In Japan] the moment I entered the dojo, it was strictly training for two to three hours — most of the time, I was just getting beat up and going home.”
“Here, we’re cheering each other on trying to get through class,” he continues. “I still remember doing Randori in Japan and getting tossed and no correction.” 
The fact that everyone was welcoming from the moment Alecs walked through the door — especially coming out of the pandemic and meeting new people — made him feel immediately comfortable, and this has continued to be one of his favorite parts about our community. On and off the mats, we’re a team.

Check out Easton Training Center’s nine locations and try one of our Kickboxing or Jiu Jitsu classes!


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