One of the best parts about running a company serving jiu-jitsu players is the incredible stories we hear from our customers.
We love Dan's story because of his amazing journey to learn self-defense and strengthen his physique through Jiu Jitsu.
Flower Mound, TX. White Belt.
Why did you first get into jiu-jitsu?
I'm a 44 year old, "skinny" marathon runner that somehow got in his head that he wanted to learn self-defense. I first attended a class in Fall of 2016 at Kama Jiu-Jitsu in Flower Mound, Texas. I attended until January 2017 and then took 12 months off to focus on my marathon training (another topic, but I was able to break all my records in 2017).
In January 2018, I returned to Kama Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Ryan Young's leadership and I haven't regretted it at all. He encouraged me all during 2017 to come back and I promised him I would after I completed my last marathon in January 2018. I've been attending Kama 2-3 days a week and while I feel I have much to learn, I do feel more confident and I can tell you that Jiu-Jitsu has been amazing for my physique (see pic showing progression, specifically in 2018), my strength, my agility and overall stamina.
My core is the strongest it's ever been and it has blown me away to have made the physical progress I have since I currently don't go to the gym (though I should).
What has been the biggest obstacle in your journey and how have you overcome it?
I could sum this up in four words, "outside my comfort zone" Jiu-Jitsu has been one of those things that I have wanted to do for quite some time (5 years or more), but I was afraid to commit to it because I'm not a "tough guy" and I've never been in a single fight before. In my head "only tough guys can do Jiu-Jitsu" and so I can honestly say, it wasn't until I spent a few weeks with Professor Ryan Young and his team that I realized I did have what it took (will and desire) to join and learn a skill that may one day protect me or my family.
Tell us about your best (or worst) submission story.
Just three months ago or so (May/June-ish 2018), I was rolling with a 17 year old blue-belt and he had me in worst position and was going for the choke...I thought to myself, I can "make it" as I tried to roll through it...what seemed like 5 seconds later, I was talking and telling the class that I was feeling a little light headed on that one and I almost got choked out...that is when they proceeded to tell me that I had, in fact, been choked out and it had been a good 20 seconds or more...I laughed and said, "that was a great nap and I've decided that would be the way I'd like to go out"...
A week later, I had by first opportunity to choke someone else out and it honest scared me, but I also learned a lot from it...it was an educational week for sure! I recently got an ear injury (go figure) and I had to drain my ear (myself) to keep from getting cauliflower ear, that was a "fun" experience, that experience led me to GoldBJJ and to buy their headgear...It has been AMAZING and I'm no longer worried about ear injuries...thanks for making such a great product!
Share one piece of advice you have for our community.
Never let your fear of failing or someone seeing you struggle, get in the way of your desire to learn...I've learned that the Professor Ryan Young and his Kama Jiu-Jitsu team are there to help me learn and I'm sure any club you join with will have the same focus...
You can find Dan on Instagram at @danpbarnes2.