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Interview with an Easton Training Center BJJ Department Head

Jake Hartner is a 25 year-old BJJ brown belt. He runs Easton Centennial’s Adult BJJ department and their advanced kids class. Jake is known for his fun and calm demeanor. We discussed his BJJ journey from starting to coaching. Jake tells us the benefits that have come to his life, as well as what he has seen BJJ give to others.

What got you into BJJ?

I started when I was 17. I struggled with partying and it gave me a healthy outlet to channel my emotions and impulse issues into. The thing I love most about BJJ is the family I have become a part of. I know there are people who will always have my back and it’s hard to find a community as inclusive and uplifting as Easton.

When and why did you get into coaching?

I started coaching because I was on the mat all day every day. My home life wasn’t too great as an adolescent so I would show up a couple hours before my classes to do homework by the heavy bags in the corner of the old Holly Street location. I loved BJJ and knew early on that I wanted to share it once I became proficient enough. I know how much BJJ has impacted my life. To have a strong mentor or coach on or off the mat is crucial to development as a youth and even as an adult. I hope to share the lessons and mentorship to those who come after me. 

Do you think coaching has changed your game?

I think coaching allows you to reinforce the techniques in your own mind, sometimes I have to teach something I don’t normally utilize and it forces me to learn techniques even if I don’t use them. 

Who would you recommend try BJJ at Easton?

I would recommend BJJ to anyone that is able and willing. I have seen people with special needs, physical disabilities, and those that are much older learn and grow on the mats!

What advice would you give to someone who is scared to start training?

My advice is to be scared and do it anyway. Even though you are walking into a building of killers, they are the sweetest, most kind and genuine people I know. I think most people have a predetermined idea of what it means to learn how to fight, but what we do at Easton isn’t what happens at some other MMA gym. If you are having a hard time, ask questions, show up early and leave late, and don’t look at other people’s journeys as milestones to your success. Comparison is the killer of happiness and success.

Why do you think people quit?

I think people quit because BJJ is one of the hardest things you can start. I think another reason might be that the staff or other students didn’t connect with them. To have a community like Easton that actively looks to integrate new members and make them feel accepted is huge. We’re beating the crap out of each other and to have the undertone of taking care of your partners and to make friends off the mat is imperative. 

What are the benefits you have found from training?

I think the main benefits of training are mental. The physical benefits are quite obvious, but the discipline, impulse control and peace of mind are invaluable and cannot be achieved elsewhere. 

Ready to Get Started? 

Easton Training Center’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program has classes for students of every level. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned brown belt, you’ll find training at our academies to be fun and challenging. 

Our Fundamentals program teaches the essentials of offense and defense from the foundational positions. You’ll learn self-defense techniques for real life situations. From there, you’ll start to build your own game in live training, or Randori. In our advanced classes, you’ll learn the finer points of sport Jiu-Jitsu from the best instructors in Colorado. 

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