Athlete School / Affiliation: Apocalypse Jiu-Jitsu / American Top Team Connecticut
Athlete current rank: Brown Belt
Athlete’s Professor: Steve Olivier
How did you get started training Jiu-Jitsu and how long ago was that?
I have always been involved with team sports growing up and so when I met Professor Luigi Mondelli Of American Top Team CT / Kore BJJ, it seemed like a natural fit to continue in a team environment through martial arts. I have been training BJJ for roughly 7 to 8 years.
What drives you in your Jiu-Jitsu life? What makes you want to get up in the morning and go train?
As a child I suffered from severe anxiety and since starting BJJ, I have had not one panic attack!! I am also driven by the love of my teammates and the family atmosphere that they bring. Jiu-jitsu made me develop into the person I am today and I’m grateful for that! It gave me a purpose in life and that is what motivates me to train everyday! If I can share that love for the art with others who share my passion, there really isn’t anything else I need in life!
If there was one thing you would change about your Jiu-Jitsu, what would it be?
I tend to get caught up in my thoughts. So if I were to change one thing in my jiu-jitsu, it would be to embrace what comes my way and flow into the movement like riding a wave!!
If there was one thing you would change about your life, or the world in general, what would it be?
I am a HUGE health advocate and believe that athletes in the martial arts community would thrive if they would embrace a lifestyle of holistic living.
As a health coach, I would love to provide an environment where you can train in your art, but also have access to a wellness community (that is affordable or free). This offers an opportunity to educate yourself on how to enhance your life geared towards healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices that are built around your training!
This was the tournament that got me hooked for life (2009 Pan-Ams as a month old blue belt)! It was a moment that I’ll never forget and the bonds that I made that weekend will last a life time!
What thing about Jiu-Jitsu brings you the most joy? What sets it apart from other things you enjoy?
My team brings me the most joy! They are not just friends but they are family! These are the individuals who accept me for my faults but celebrate the good in me! They are the people that influence me to be a better person! This is what separates this feeling of completeness to any other!
How would you categorize your BJJ Style?
This is a tough questions considering I’m still developing myself as a practitioner.At this moment, I would say I am a top game player, but I am looking to evolve in all positions in the art to become a well rounded athlete! I strive for a balance of technique / strength / speed and agility!!
Oh god! There are so many!! Do I really need to choose one!!!??? haha Definitely Gerzary Matuda! Ge has been a HUGE influence in BJJ and I look up to her simply becaue she is the most humble/kind person you will meet! I have always loved attending her classes anytime she’s in town!! She’s technical, powerful and aggressive! (Editor’s note – Use code : “RBJJ10” to get 10% off in our store at www.yolobjj.com )
What are your goals in Jiu-jitsu? In Life? Are the two connected?
My goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to forever be a student! My life on the mats blend into my life off the mats. There are many lessons learned that can be applied to everyday life circumstances. Jiu-Jitsu gives me a purpose and it has given me a platform to offer support to others and make positive changes in people’s lives by simply sharing my love for the art!!