What’s your name?
How long have you been training?
This past July would be 3 years, with some time off in 2020 during the initial Covid lockdown.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in East Tennessee, I then moved to Milton, Florida in 2008 to be closer to family.
What do you do for a living?
Real Estate Broker. I could not ask for a better career that allows me to set my own schedule, “most days.”
What gym do you train at?
Team Remedy BJJ in Milton, Florida underneath our black belt, Tra Alidor, who was trained by Helio Soneca.
How did you get into BJJ?
Growing up I tried karate for a couple years around the age of 9 or so. It was a decent hobby at the time but I didn’t have a passion for the sport. As I got older Jiu-Jitsu stood out to me as a more practical and interesting martial art, however I never took those first steps to get on the mat. Life happened and fast forward to 2019, now with a 7 year old daughter, I was looking for our next hobby to do together. When we came across Team Remedy, that first question to her was, “Would you like to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?” She immediately hit me with, “I’ll try it out if you do too.” I could not argue with that so we dropped in the following week for a trial class. I fell in love with the school, sport, and community after our first visit.
What are your goals for this year?
Win gold in a competition, no preference if it’s a local or smaller promotion. I have competed a few times up to this point, with my first one being a few months after starting training. I lost all my matches that day but had an absolute blast. I have competed a few times since then but just can’t seem to pull out a win when it comes to “competition” matches. At the end of the day, analyzing my matches afterwards I have realized that I “get in my own head” too much and overthink the roll when the bell chimes. In all reality my goal for the upcoming year should be to work on not overthinking each roll, treating even competition matches as just another roll.
What is your biggest accomplishment and why?
If I had to think of what moment or culmination or moments has brought me the most joy over these past few years would have to be seeing the students from our kid's and teen’s classes compete. From working with this next generation throughout each week on techniques and drills, to seeing their faces when their hand gets raised for the win is one of the best feelings. I have been so fortunate to have a gym that allowed me the opportunity to be on the mats helping our kid’s/teen’s coaches as an uke. That extra mat time has been BEYOND beneficial by not only improving my own game, but giving me the chance to see the growth in these kids day in and day out.
What do you want your legacy to be?
To keep in simple, I just want to leave behind a name that brought joy to the lives of the ones that I had the chance to spend time with. Each connection made on/off the mat is a new opportunity to make a new friend, a new training partner, or just someone that needed you at that moment in their life.
How has BJJ impacted your personal life?
I have always tended to be a more introverted person who enjoys the outdoors but would pick a movie at home over a club or party scene any night. Forcing myself to start Jiu Jitsu in 2019 has been a complete 180° for me social wise. I have made countless new friends, pushed myself to be involved more with group activities. Not too mention the health aspects physically and mentally. My daughter and I joined a local gym, The Bar, last year to add in some extra cardio and weight training. The whole Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle has been a positive influence on my life and I am ecstatic to see what the future holds.
Who has influenced you the most?
I have definitely had a TON of those “ah ha” moments whether during a class or conversation where something clicked and the certain movement or principle just made sense now. However if I had think of one person who has put in time with me daily since the beginning not only on the mats but in our conversations off them, would be one of Team Remedy’s black belts, D.J. Roberts. He has been one of the most selfless persons that I’ve been fortunate enough to train with over these past few years. Grabbing lunch together after a good training session not only gives us the chance to discuss how the day’s rolls went or what the game plan is for teen’s class that night, but it also gives me the chance to hit him up with all of those random “what if” questions. I do not think my level of Jiu-Jitsu would be where it is today without the time and work D.J. has provided me.
How do you spend your free time?
We try to get out of the house as much as possible when my daughter is not in school and I’m off of work. Spending time with friends at the pool or going out to Krul Lake is some of our favorites during the summer. Year round the weather is nice here though so we go on a lot of bike rides on the Blackwater Heritage State Trail.
Any advice for our readers on or off the mats?
None of my own that I can claim credit for. There have been countless books and professors over the years that have provided advice worth its weight in gold, however one those that has stuck with me the most is “the magic of believing.”
“Think of all of this in terms of the so-called material things. You know that two objects cannot fill the same space at the same time. Your mind can be compared to that space: you can’t keep your mind filled with negative thoughts or doubts if you have it filled with positive, powerful, and creative thoughts.”
― Claude M. Bristol, The Magic of Believing
Favorite submission or position?
If you asked me a year ago my answer would have easily been straight ankle lock from single leg x-guard. Over this past year though I have really enjoyed playing with different guards; lasso or rubber guard. This past month my favorite sub would have to be the gogoplata.