What’s New at the Denver Academy
“Easton people show up.”
This is something that I have said before. I did a small fundraiser for a coworker some time back and many of you gave (thank you, again). It was for a non-member, but I told her, “When folks are in need: Easton people show up.” Read about it here.
If you haven’t met Easton Denver Blue Belt, Rich Bartlett (below, far left), let me introduce you now. Rich has been training at Easton Training Center since July of 2018, earning his Blue Belt in November of 2019. He’s a dad. He is an outstanding teammate and friend. Rich is also an addict in recovery. He has been sober since Nov 14th 2016 and in the intervening time has gained both insight into himself and his own demons as well as the wisdom to help others. He has learned to give of himself and his experiences.
Every Sunday at 11:00 am, Rich hosts anybody with a substance abuse disorder who has at least 48 hours sober to come to the academy and learn some jiu jitsu. I don’t have to tell you–Easton members–that there is so much more than just chokes and joint locks to be learned on the mat. From perseverance, patience, decision-making under duress to the bonds that are formed–the friendships and beyond. It is a family, and sometimes families have to come together to protect and uplift the frailer members.
Modeled after the Phoenix Sober Activity community, Rich told me that the only requirements for Recovery Roll are “48 hours sober, a good attitude, and coachability.” The rest just kind of falls into place. Recovery Roll offers jiu jitsu scholarships for membership at the academy, as well as raising funds to provide gis for participants.
These folks are your teammates. Approach their presence with empathy–put yourself in their shoes. Can you imagine trying to pull yourself together and then walking into a place like Easton? All the people are fit. They seem to have it together. They all seem to be old friends. It could be extremely intimidating to put yourself (as an outsider) in that type of environment. Let them know that they are welcome. A kind word goes a long way. A simple “Hey, I’m glad you’re here,” or a “Welcome!” can mean the difference between someone feeling like a part of something awesome and them feeling more alienation–more of what drove them to their vices in the first place.
If you would like to donate to Recovery Roll–be it an old gi or a few bucks–you can contact Rich directly via Facebook Messenger or go to the Jiu Jitsu Recovery Roll Facebook group where there is a link to donate. You can also leave donations with the front desk in Denver, whether it is money or gear, and we will make sure it gets to Rich and his awesome cause.
More Specialty Training…
Speaking of sharing the mats with the greater community outside the walls of ETC, did you know that Easton Brown Belt Robert Chavez does a Law Enforcement Officers training class on Sundays? He has been doing them for about 15 years, starting them in Grand Junction and re-establishing the class here in Denver in 2016. The group recently presented him with a really cool gift: an improvised award for all the hard work that he has done in helping to keep police and the public safer. Robert is a fascinating guy and I got a chance to sit down with him and one of his students, an 18-year veteran of the gang task-force and other high-exposure roles in the DPD. I really enjoyed our conversation. Read about it here.
Instructor Highlight: Nick Mavrick
Height: 5′ 11″ Weight: 155 lbs Age: 43
Years training: 12 years, off and on
Current rank: Brown Belt
Date Promoted: February, 2019
When can we find you on the schedule?– I teach Tuesdays and Thursdays Fundamentals/Intermediate Split at 6:30 am in Denver. I also teach Mon/Wed/Friday noon All Levels as well as Wed 1:00 pm Randori in Littleton.
What do you love about teaching Jiu Jitsu?– I often get people at the very beginning of their journey, which means that I get to see the most profound period of changes. Watching people get comfortable in their own skin and then gain confidence in their jiu jitsu and in their lives is extremely gratifying for me. I also love creating an atmosphere in which people are comfortable going to war with their friends, but also where we are all supporting each others’ growth and improvement.
What are your personal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu goals?– At my age, goals start to change. I want to teach jiu jitsu until I am an old, old man! Also, I enjoy the challenge of growing classes in difficult time slots. I want to share jiu jitsu with as many people as possible, including my kids. I hope to have my Black Belt at 45. And I haven’t ruled out taking another stab at competing (I have never been a good competitor-and haven’t competed since Blue Belt), if only to show my kids that we are in this thing together and that fear is not a reason not to try!
Easton Staff Holiday Festivities!
As is tradition, Coaches, Front Desk Staff, and Support staff of all types gathered to celebrate another year of hard work well-executed. It was a year of growth for many individuals both within and outside of Easton Training Center. It was also a year of growth for the Easton brand as well as the Easton Community.
Hundreds of Easton employees and gathered at Mile High Spirits at 22nd and Larimer St. to blow off a little steam, enjoy locally-distilled spirits, and gorge on another delicious spread of tacos and chips and salsa served up by Easton member-owned local restaurant Dos Santos.
Cheers, all! Here’s to another amazing year ahead in 2020! When you see your First Impressions Specialists, Coaches, or maintenance crew doing their thing, make sure to stop and thank them for all of the hard work that they put in to make your Easton Training Center experience everything that it is!