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Friday, July 12, 2024

My BJJ Coaches Tell Their Stories


MR: I can’t say I have really been surprised by anything in my journey. Seeing people come and go is somewhat surprising.

Would you tell us a little about yourself and your school?

MR: The best piece of advice I can give to someone just starting BJJ is to come to class and be consistent. I see so many students who may be at a certain rank for years, and it’s because they come to class for a month and take 2 months off. So, everything you learned in that one month was forgotten by missing the next two. Be consistent, and success will follow.

GG:Be humble. There’s always someone better than you ready to chop your head off.
GG: I was first drawn to jiu-jitsu as a means of staying active during the week while still being able to pursue my passion for surfing on the weekends back when I was living in Brazil. Additionally, many of my surfer friends were already practicing jiu-jitsu and would frequently invite me to join them for a class. After some consideration, I eventually decided to give it a try and joined a gym.
JC: The reason I have stuck with training is jiu-jitsu is a lifestyle and I couldn’t imagine a single day where I wasn’t able to train or teach. This lifestyle is something I want to pass on to my kids. Jiu-jitsu is an art that offers so much to so many people. This lifestyle has given me so much, along with meeting people that I’m closest to in my life that I can’t imagine my life without it.
Ian Lauer
GG: I have remained dedicated to training because I believe it has a transformative impact on my character. It has helped me become a more composed, patient, and self-assured individual in every aspect of life. Despite encountering significant injuries throughout my journey, I have always returned to training because I recognized its vital role in maintaining balance and harmony in my day-to-day existence.

What got you into jiu-jitsu?

Related Articles Around the WebGustavo Gasperin:1st Degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do

What’s the greatest challenge you have faced in your training?

Gustavo Gasperin:Of course. Thank you for the question. I hold a 3rddegree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the tutelage of Fabricio Werdum. I began my BJJ journey back in 1997 while residing in Brazil. In 2004, I relocated to the United States when I was a purple belt. Currently, I have the privilege of teaching at two prominent gyms in Los Angeles: Uprise MMA and Dynamix MMA. As both of these gyms primarily focus on mixed martial arts (MMA), our training emphasis leans more towards No-Gi grappling rather than the traditional Gi-based training.GG:For anyone new to jiu-jitsu, my best advice would be to prioritize learning the fundamental techniques of our martial art instead of trying to win every sparring session. By focusing on the proper techniques early on, you can develop a solid foundation for your practice and progress more quickly. It’s important to concentrate on technique rather than relying solely on your physical attributes.Mike Ross

Why have you stuck with training?

JC: The best piece of advice I can give someone new to jiu-jitsu is for people wanting to start, you must step outside your comfort zone and just try it. Don’t make excuses to put it off. When a new person comes into my academy, I try to get them on the mats that day. Once they experience it, they will know whether or not it’s something they want in their life. As for new students who have been training, don’t worry about anyone else. Worry about you and trying to improve yourself every day and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Jiu-jitsu is about bettering yourself and improving every day on the mats and off.1st Degree Black Belt HapkidoThe popularity of Brazilian jiu-jitsu has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. Roughly twenty years ago, Mike Ross, a friend of mine at work, was starting his journey in the expanding world of BJJ. A conversation we had piqued my interest in the art, but it was yet to be my time. Now, he successfully runs a school in Michigan. Many years later, while holding the rank of black belt in multiple systems, by a twist in fate, I found myself in BJJ class in Los Angeles, starting over once again at white belt for the fourth time. Those classes were with Professor Gustavo Gasperin. It was with Mr. Gasperin that I found my bearings in BJJ. I later moved back to my hometown in Ohio and searched for what would be my next grappling school. There, I met Mr. Cable, whom I train with to this day. GG:Becoming a jiu-jitsu instructor was a natural progression for me. Prior to achieving my black belt, I worked as a physical education teacher and personal trainer. Thus, transitioning to teaching jiu-jitsu was an organic extension of my teaching career, which ultimately led me to pursue it full-time.GG:The most astonishing aspect of my journey has been witnessing the remarkable evolution of our martial art/sport over the past three decades. When I first started, it was a niche discipline and often overlooked. However, it has now emerged as a prominent and widely recognized martial art/sport, reaching the mainstream status it enjoys today.MR: I got into teaching because I have a lot of knowledge I wanted to share with others. Being able to share your knowledge with others and hearing success stories of how your teaching impacted them to be a better person is very rewarding.

What has been the greatest surprise of your journey?

From Your Site Articles1st Degree Black Belt Coszacks KarateMR: The greatest challenge I have faced in my BJJ journey is overcoming injuries. Training back in the day was a lot harder on the body than it is today. I have had numerous injuries that will affect me for the rest of my life. I still wouldn’t trade the experience. Being able to train while you are injured is a big challenge, but it continues to make you better even though you can’t train 100%. Being able to do something is better than nothing. Understanding how to protect yourself and your injuries is an added benefit that you can use off the mat.

 What is the best piece of advice you can give for someone new to jiu-jitsu?

Jason CableJC: I feel the greatest challenge I have faced in training is time management. I did well in competitions and when I was awarded my blue belt I was told to open my own academy and start teaching. So being able to take time to train myself and the time I put into my students was difficult. It made it very hard to do everything I wanted to for myself. My passion to see others succeed has always been ahead of my own needs.JC: Back in 2003, I was driving back and forth to Columbus, which was a 90-minute trip one way. One day I asked my instructor if it was ok to rent a place in the town where I lived to see if I could get people there to train with me. So, once I had a place, people were coming in to train with me, and it was great. One day, one of the guys training with me asked if I could teach them what I learn when I go to Columbus, so my next trip to Columbus I asked my instructor he said I could go ahead and show them. So as a white belt, I had other white belts training with me and competing with me, and we did really well in local tournaments. In January 2006, I received my blue belt and was told to open my own academy. Back in those days, it was very hard to find a black belt to train with. My instructor was a purple belt. So, it wasn’t uncommon for blue belts and purple belts to be teaching back in those days.

What makes for a good student?

JC: I got a little training in jiu-jitsu while I was in the Marine Corp. I really enjoyed it but wasn’t able to really train like I wanted to. When I got out of the Marine Corps in 2000, I was fighting MMA. To be good at MMA, I really needed to find a jiu-jitsu school. I found one in Columbus, Ohio, but I had to drive 90 minutes one way to train. I drove this 4-5 times a week after I got off work. Once I started training, I fell in love with the art and knew it was something I wanted to do.GG:A good student is someone who demonstrates dedication and commitment by consistently attending classes and putting in the necessary effort. They focus on their individual progress rather than comparing themselves to others. Furthermore, they prioritize understanding the underlying principles and mechanics of techniques rather than simply going through the motions without grasping the reasons behind them.JC: What makes a good BJJ student to me is their willingness to learn and step out of their comfort zone. When they come to class, they ask questions. It’s different for everyone cause life is different for everybody, but the dedication to keep coming back to learn says a lot. Martial arts are something I wish everyone would do, especially kids. The confidence and character it builds are priceless. So, for me, a good student is one that keeps coming back and shows dedication.

What is the number one lesson you’ve learned through training or teaching?

GG: One of the most significant challenges I encountered during my training was mastering the ability to remain calm and patient while being trapped in dominant positions such as side control and mount, as well as when facing submission attempts. It was crucial to develop the confidence to navigate these situations without allowing negative thoughts to overwhelm me and create a sense of hopelessness.JC: I would have to say the friendships I have made and wouldn’t have made if I wasn’t in this jiu-jitsu lifestyle. I have made some of my closest friendships and still have them through meeting them in jiu-jitsu. Also, the experiences I have been able to have for myself and my kids are something that can never be replaced.MR: I got into BJJ as something to do to fill my competitive edge. After playing D-1 college basketball, I turned to BJJ/MMA to fill that void. BJJ was something that always interested me, but I never had the time to do it because of other sports. Once I started training, I became hooked. I wanted to get good as fast as possible. I consistently trained 5-6 days a week.Jason Cable: Sure, thanks for having me. I’m a 3rd degree Black Belt under Professor Clark Gracie. I have 2 beautiful kids, Brody and Chloe. I really enjoy teaching and watching others succeed and reach their potential and goals. I have fought MMA and have been teaching Gracie jiu-jitsu for 20 years. I still enjoy competing and watching my kids compete in jiu-jitsu. My Academy is Gracie Allegiance Ohio. Gracie Allegiance was founded by Professor Clark Gracie. Professor Clark Gracie’s dad is Grandmaster Carley Gracie, the first to bring Brazilian jiu-jitsu to America in 1971 when the Marines asked him to come over. Grandmaster Carley Gracie is the 11th child of Gracie jiu-jitsu Founder Grandmaster Carlos Gracie. I try to make my academy feel very welcoming and want everyone to feel like family. I want everyone to learn self-defense and to build self-confidence and have a fun time doing it. I opened Gracie Allegiance Ohio in 2020. We offer kids and adult classes.MR: I stuck with training because it’s a lifestyle. BJJ is addicting. The thing I love about it is that it is always evolving, and you never stop learning. I’m not sure how people quit BJJ. If I go more than a week without choking someone, I start to get the shakes, lol!MR: The biggest lesson I’ve learned through training and teaching is to respect your training partners. If you’re constantly hurting your training partners, no one will be left to train with. Train with control. The more control you have in training can easily transfer over to a street situation. Control your emotions, control your body movements, and control your opponent.MR: A good student of BJJ is one who is always at class, eager to learn, and works hard. The first part of that is key…Come to class and be consistent!Blue Belt Brazilian Jiu-JitsuJC: The number one lesson I have learned through training or teaching is that you never stop learning or growing as a person. You can always learn something new and find better ways to do things or teach things. Everyone is different, so you must be able to adapt. So always learn and try improving every day on and off the mats. Keep an open mind and learn as much as you can. I still learn to this day, which is why I still have the love for this art.3rd Degree Black Belt American Kenpo

I hope that you’ve picked up some useful chunks of wisdom from these respected jiu-jitsu professors and found the inspiration to become an even better student or coach. I can tell you that my journey in the arts has been greatly enriched by having crossed paths with these men. Salute,Mike Ross: I’d be happy to. I started training Brazilian jiu-jitsu/Mixed Martial Arts in January of 2006 under the Rigan Machado affiliation. I am the head instructor/owner of Mamba Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My training early on consisted of No-Gi BJJ, wrestling, Muay Thai, boxing, and kickboxing. I utilized aspects of all these arts and developed a well-rounded MMA fighting style. I went on to have my 1st MMA fight in August of 2009, where I won by first-round TKO. I later fought for the 185lb TXC title in October 2009, where I became an MMA champion. I have been teaching BJJ in Dexter, MI, since 2009. I was awarded my BJJ black belt in 2014 by my instructor Tyrone Gooden (4th degree Rigan Machado black belt). I’m blessed to have such a great group of students that train at my school.

My BJJ Coaches Tell Their Stories

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