Each month, we’ll be profiling three members of our community.
We truly value our community at Easton Training Center. From our students to coaches and staff, and all those who put in extra time to help around the academy, it’s the heart and soul of the whole operation.
Time and time over, we hear our members say how it’s the people — their friends, partners, and classmates — that kept them coming back. The disciplines we teach are important, but in the end, they are tools. They’ll only go as far as the people who use them, and how.
This month, we highlight Baris Eraslan, Ethan Nielsen, and Luke Roberts.
Baris Eraslan, Easton Kids
Baris (pronunciation: Barish) Eraslan may be 11 years old, but what we can say for certain is that he is one of the strongest members of our community. We would like to thank Baris and Baris’s mother, Gulden, for letting us share their story with you all.
In July 2020, Baris developed a shooting pain under his right knee. Assuming growth pains, Gulden initially waited for about a week, but the pain only worsened. First, an X-ray scan caught dark spots on his tibia. Then after some MRI and biopsy sessions, Baris was officially diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.
During the peak of difficult COVID-19 times, Baris had to start chemotherapy right away. He was in the hospital every 20 days for six to seven days at a time. Gulden witnessed her son lose his hair and weight. She remembers reassuring Baris that his hair would grow back. She would promise Baris that he would regain all his strengths after completing the treatment. “I was always positive with Baris because I know how strong he is. I knew he would kick the cancer away,” Gulden says.
Baris told his mother that he wanted to learn Jiu-Jitsu or Karate once he was done with treatments. “He wanted to know how to use his leg control against a stronger opponent and to increase his flexibility to escape a difficult confrontation,” Gulden recounts.
Baris’s treatments were finalized in December 2020. And with their doctor’s approval of resuming normal activities and of starting Jiu-Jitsu, Baris joined Easton Longmont in February 2021!
What drives Baris?
“I was seeking new experiences. I wanted to become more patient, too. And now every time I am on the mat I am so excited to train with my friends and my coaches,” Baris explains why Jiu-Jitsu motivates him. “My favorite part is when my friends or I get promoted. It means that we are getting better every day. I love learning new techniques!”
Baris is tough but he also has a soft heart. He is an empathetic and humble training partner as well as a friend. “When a new student comes into the gym, particularly one that is intimidated by the combat environment, Baris is at the top of the list of students that I want to introduce and partner the new student with,” Coach Mike Wooley shares. “In part because of his technical ability to demonstrate for newer students, but more importantly because his selflessness is reflected in how much he will teach at a beginner friendly pace, even at the expense of his own repetitions. Baris is the embodiment of a black belt partner, which is what allows our Tiger family to thrive.”
Baris recently started adding a couple of kid’s Muay Thai classes to his weekly schedule. He is excited about the new sport just as much. We feel so grateful to have him as a valuable member of our community and hope to continue supporting his growth in both sports!
Ethan Jaemin Nielsen, Easton Jiu-Jitsu
Having been a lifelong wrestler, Ethan Nielsen started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in November of 2020 to complete his skill set as a grappler. He found the sport as the perfect way to supplement his skills and to push himself as a competitor.
Since then, he has competed in 3 in-house tournaments. And so far, he has earned a gold in his gi division and one gold and two bronzes in no-gi divisions. “I’m looking to compete again as soon as possible,” Ethan claims.
What drives Ethan?
Competition is the reason why Ethan loves Jiu-Jitsu as much as he does. “I have been an athlete and a competitor all my life. Jiu-Jitsu has been the perfect outlet for me to showcase my skills and dedication,” he says. “We all only get one life, and this is the most meaningful way I can think to lead it.”
Due to the community, Ethan chooses to train in Easton Longmont. “Each gym has its own crew but Easton as a whole stills feel very much like one academy,” he describes.
Additionally, Ethan has been assistant coaching our Tigers program and finds it to be a rewarding experience. “It’s been amazing to watch these kids grow as martial artists and as individuals! I’m very thankful to be a part of this,” he mentions.
Ethan would also like to share his own words of wisdom with our community: Be like water. Always in motion.
Luke Roberts, Easton Muay Thai & Jiu-Jitsu
(Luke is currently recovering from an injury but you can still catch him at Easton, observing classes to take notes!)
Luke Roberts first encountered Jiu-Jitsu up close when his brother, who has been practicing the sport for some time, demonstrated (very carefully) how to do an armbar from mount. Curious (he didn’t even know what an armbar was at the time) and intrigued by his brother’s excitement over the sport, Luke showed up at Easton Longmont in April 2021, ready to learn and dive in.
Since he already knew he would start Jiu-Jitsu, he picked kickboxing for his first trial class, and was immediately hooked. Now he is a dedicated member we see on both sides of the mats.
What drives Luke?
Luke says to simply put it, he just truly enjoys Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu. “I am driven by a desire to always improve and become a better version of myself as well,” he adds on.
Even though Luke was a complete stranger to martial arts before joining Easton, he says it was easy to keep showing up thanks to the community. “The coaches are welcoming, and everyone is always eager to help,” he explains. He loves the atmosphere of being surrounded by others who are also passionate about Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu.
“I love the people at Easton and hope to keep training here for a long time,” Luke expresses. And we sure hope so too!
Ready to get started?