My training in martial arts started when I was 7 years old. I often tell people that I feel like I was born to be a fighter. My parents enrolled me in a Tae Kwon Do school because that was the only thing close to where we lived. It was fun and exciting. After just 4 years of training, I was promoted to black belt. I remember feeling invincible.
At the age of 13, I was already a 1st degree black belt with an organization called the ATA. It was at this time that I received my wakeup call. While standing in front of the local high school waiting for my sister, I was attacked by three teenage boys. Not only did I realize that I couldn’t fight, but I also realized my training wasn’t effective in a real-life scenario. I started looking for other styles of martial arts. I wrestled, boxed, trained Judo, and fought often in the streets. I continued to dabble in Tae Kwon Do while working my way up to 4th degree black belt. At the age of 28, I was promoted to a black belt in Judo. So, there I was a 28-year-old man, slightly overweight with two black belts and a lifetime of martial arts training.
At 30 years old, while eating at a restaurant with my wife, I saw through the window a sign for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Most martial arts enthusiast remember the day that changed martial arts forever. It was in 1993, when Royce Gracie defeated several much larger opponents from different styles using Jiu-Jitsu. I was amazed that this style was now in Louisiana. I went immediately.
On my first day of class, the mats were full of white belts. It was easy to defeat them using my Judo training. The professor who barely spoke English noticed and asked me if I had previous training. I told him about my background. He then asked if I would like to train with him? He submitted me easily at least 10 times in a one 5-minute round. I was humiliated, but I also knew that I had finally found what I had been seeking. I started training Jiu-Jitsu 4 to 5 classes per week. It was amazing. I started to see my body transform. I felt my cardio and flexibility improving each day. I fought in every competition that I could and trained as much as possible. After 10 years of training, I was promoted to Black Belt by a Jiu-Jitsu legend who goes by the name Jucao. His real name is Alison Brites.
In 2016, I officially started the Excelsior Jiu-Jitsu team. In 2017, I officially joined the TRUJITSU team with Professor Matt Baker. My focus is now to continue my quest to improve at Jiu-Jitsu and to use my knowledge to improve the lives of those who train with me.
The first three pictures are from 2009 and 2010. At blue and purple belt I fought as much as I could. Training twice a day and competing at least once a month. I will always be thankful for the years of training and competing. I am so thankful now to still be able to compete at the highest levels of this amazing art.
“You can pay for classes but you can’t buy Jiu-Jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu can only be earned.”