What year did you start training and what was your attraction to BJJ?
My first tournament and training was in 2007, but hovered around MMA and no gi mostly until 2009 and since then I have been consistently training in the gi. I liked training in combat sports and was trying them out and at first honestly, the class time just worked better with my schedule.
What do you most enjoy about BJJ and training at LEMA?
Training at Lake Effect is a culture. It’s a place that I believe instils values in the students from the kids classes to the adults. The coaches and the students care about each other and tend to hang out with each other outside the gym and support each other in competitions and life generally. BJJ as a whole I like because it’s the more efficient way to get a great workout in, it’s the most efficient way to control someone in a self defence situation and helps with confidence and mental health.
Who is your inspiration and why?
For BJJ inspirations I’ll go with my NYC coaches like Fabio, Marcelo, Bernardo. Mendes brothers as well. Sure I like their Jiu Jitsu, but as I get older I like to see at a certain point they walked away from personal success in order to focus on their schools, their students and their families and I think that self sacrifice for others is so much better than chasing the dragon. Outside of Jiu Jitsu I have grown a fondness for John Paul II. The more I learn about him the more blown away I am by his resolve and fearlessness of the truth against two evil and hostile forces and the fact that he lived to see them both defeated.
What are some of your achievements?
I’m happy with my achievements in competition. I’ve done Jiu Jitsu, boxing, kickboxing and MMA to test myself. I’m proud to have gotten my blackbelt. Proud to be a defensive tactics instructor for law enforcement. No achievement is bigger to me than my vocation as a family man. I’m sure my experience with BJJ helps navigate those waters as well.
What is your favorite submission?
Up to purple belt I would have to definitely say the triangle. Now, maybe the spiral armbar? Heel hooks are fun, because you can look at the person and smile and wink. 😉
Black Belt Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Jr > Jean Jacques Machado > Fabio Clemente > David Szprygada