I was an active child -- so active my Mom put me in hockey at four years old so she could sleep at night. I played from then on until I left for the Navy when I was 25. Through hockey I found an outlet for my aggression and high energy. I played for ten months a year all through middle and high school eventually winning a state championship in the 11th grade. Hockey helped me grow as a person more than any other activity in my youth. I played baseball and ran track, but Hockey had the aggression, the physicality that fit my style. I met men who filled the gap of a father figure, as I was raised by a single mother. I learned how to work hard. I learned to understand defeat and enjoy felt. I learned to calm down, to deal with setbacks and to work around injuries. Hockey taught me how to deal with all of life's little issues and was the outlet I needed. After high school I played for a few years, and eventually joined the Navy, in that break I learned how to lift weights, work out, and develop my body in different aspects, but nothing filled the void hockey left, until I found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
In that short break from when I joined the Navy to when I started training BJJ, I didn't forget about working out. I became a First Class Swimmer in the Navy, a scuba diver, graduating from the Navy Scuba Class, as well earning certifications in Nutrition,Personal Training, Strength and Conditioning, and Nutrition.
I was deployed when a shipmate recommended I tried training MMA. We tried a self defence class in Guam, and a wrestling class in Japan. I rolled for the first time in Japan when a few surface sailors challenged us to matches, and through my limited experience, I managed to force out a few submissions and started to see the influences of BJJ and the power behind it.
When we transferred to the East Coast and got settled in, my friend Pat found us a gym under Kevin Watson to start training. I loved it. I went five days a week, pushing every-time. I did my first competition after only six weeks of training and won gold. I earned my blue belt in only nine months, which usually takes at least two years. I competed four times winning gold twice, a silver, and a fourth place finish. I trained in Boston then after I was promoted, flew to Seattle to train with my instructor's original teacher, and began to realize how far BJJ could take me. Shortly after that I moved back to San Diego and met Alfredo Barum, who is my current instructor.
Alfredo, Harlan, Neco, Chad, Frances, and many other black belts helped shaped me into the grappler I am now. I was a blue belt for two years, won some small competitions, as well as learned a lot, developing my own style of BJJ, as all practitioners do. In that time period I also herniated two discs in my back which was my worst injury. I was out for only a month, and during that time the only sports I practiced were BJJ and yoga. I made a full recovery, and was able to ran a mile and a half in under ten minutes again (Navy fitness tests). Thankfully I have had no problems since.
I am now a purple belt having won my first super fight last weekend. It was an amazing experience and I continue to learn more and more about myself. Jiu Jitsu has shown me how to be calm, to handle situations, to see the small opportunity to get out of bad situations while training, or and has taught me about life in general. I teach kids a few days a week with my instructor and my friends, and it amazing to watch them understand techniques and learn how to move on the mats. Being an instructor (BJJ teacher) is amazing and I would like to be one in the future. Watching people learn and progress and understand Jiu Jitsu is awesome. It changed my life for the better, helped me to be a better person and I know it can allow others to be better as well.