One of the best parts about running a company serving jiu-jitsu players is the incredible stories we hear from our customers.
We love Daniel's story because of his undeniable strong will to overcome struggles in life and his career serving his country, finding solace through BJJ.
San Francisco, CA. Purple Belt.
Why did you first get into jiu-jitsu?
I was in the Marine Corps and grappling was a part of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. I had a really bad supervisor that liked to prey on junior Marines and one day, we were made to spar against each other. I sunk in a rear naked choke. It was a super powerful feeling to make him tap out because he was bigger and stronger.
I was later stationed in Iraq and a few blue belts offered to teach some moves to anyone who wanted to learn. I got hooked and when I was rolling I would forget that I was in Iraq. I later returned to my duty station in Japan, but couldn't find a no-gi school. I thought the gi looked like pajamas and I was watching a lot of UFC. I was hesitant to try gi.
I walked into Axis Jiu Jitsu in Fukuoka and they convinced me to put on a gi. I was immediately re-humbled by Jiu Jitsu and left that class and immediately bought a gi. I found Jiu Jitsu required total focus and no matter what I was dealing with in my life. Iraq, unemployment, work and relationship problems have all been pushed to the side once I put my gi on, tie my belt, and step on the mat.
I have found improved mental focus and resilience through Jiu Jitsu. I feel it's great tool for military and law enforcement to not only enhance combat skills, but to deal with mental problems. https://www.wedefyfoundation.org/
What has been the biggest obstacle in your journey and how have you overcome it?
Life gets in the way. For me, I was an active duty Marine when I first started Jiu Jitsu and I was trying to get my bachelors degree. I'm now employed as a police officer and work long hours while trying to balance being a new father.
I've been able to over come these obstacles by viewing Jiu Jitsu as lifestyle and not just a workout. I've had injuries that required surgery. I've had to battle back and that's how I found Gold BJJ finger tape. I won't step on the mat without taping my fingers.
Tell us about your best (or worst) submission story.
I recently competed at US open in NorCal. It was a 5 minute match. I was up on points, but was able to pass, take my opponents back and submit him with 10 seconds left with a modified bow and arrow choke I had just learned that week.
My coaches, my wife and my son were there. It was a very proud moment. I got submitted my next match with a kimura. I got third in the tournament. It was a very good experience and felt great to get on the podium.
Share one piece of advice you have for our community.
Stay consistent. Jiu Jitsu is a long journey & just like any long journey the road isn't always easy. Sometimes there are some up hill battles, injuries, and other bumps in the road.
Stay loyal to yourself and to your team. Egos kill. Jiu Jitsu is not just about getting submissions, but about the relationships you build in the academy. Your team becomes an extended family and may not be perfect, but still family.