Student Spotlight: Brian


Meet Brian!

Refuge BJJ coaches nominated students to participate in a student spotlight. They are a few of the examples of what makes our school great! Read below to learn more Brian and his jiu-jitsu journey.

  • What is your name and rank?
    Brian, 1 stripe brown belt
  • How long have you been training jiu-jitsu?
    8 years +
  • What made you decide to try it?
    I am a smaller guy and watched Royce Gracie dominate larger opponents with his martial art called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so I wanted to give it a try! Ironically, just up the street from my home, I saw a sign on the side of the road that said, "Gracie BJJ Training Here". The rest is history...!
  • How do you balance family, work, and training?
    In general, balancing anything with kids in the mix is extremely difficult to manage especially when you have two full-time working parents. With training, you just have to stay motivated to come to class and work hard when you can. With some weeks, you may have the opportunity to train 3-4 days and other weeks maybe just a single one day. In my experience, it is extremely important to keep training even if it is just one day that week. One day is better than zero days. Like anything in life, the more you procrastinate to come back to do something, the less likely you will. Life gets in the way for sure, but I will always find time to fit at least some training in my week (physical training or studying online content). 
  • What are your BJJ goals?
    Honestly, I have exceeded all of my BJJ goals that I thought I could obtain being in my mid-40s. With that said, getting my black belt would be amazing and beyond believable. Rank aside, I just want to continue to be competitive against the other higher ranks regardless of the school or affiliation. Earning the respect of my training partners that I am tough and a good person on and off the mat is a personal on-going goal I set for myself each year.
  • What type of training or preparation do you do outside of Refuge to support these goals?
    On the side, I hit the gym 2-3 days a week and/or train a few days a week in Judo (I am a brown belt in Judo as well). 
  • How often do you train?
    2-3 days a week
  • Are you a competitor? What drives you to compete?
    I used to be a competitor when I first started training and the 1st years of my purple belt. Unfortunately, I was not able to advance further into competing due to the fact that I did not really have a BJJ competition style coach to help me. With all my competitions, I was self-training toward the end, so I gave it up. However, I am really looking forward to competing more representing Refuge BJJ. The coaches here are fantastic and very experienced!
  • What is your favorite thing about jiu-jitsu?
    By far, my favorite thing I enjoy about jiu-jitsu is the camaraderie of training with the guys and being able to train with my wife. So lucky!!! Also, it is so fun to watch everyone grow and get better. 
  • What do you think is the hardest part of jiu-jitsu?
    The hardest part about jiu-jitsu is trying not to get too down on yourself as you go through your BJJ journey. There are so many peaks and valleys when you train as long as I have that you sometimes question yourself. At times, the mental aspect of this art is really tough to push through. I have to constantly convince myself that I will eventually move forward to get better.
  • What would you tell others is the best reason to train?
    I may be biased here, but BJJ is the best self-defense martial art in the world. How many martial arts can say they train their art every day at 100% effort from a hand-to-hand combat perspective? Also, if one wants to lose weight quickly and get in shape, jiu-jitsu will help do that and then some. I was never a runner and loved how I could get my "cardio" in by doing something so much fun. For me, jiu-jitsu allows you to bond with your training partners, coaches, and even black belt legends. BJJ and all those people along the way had a positive place in my life. Whether it is going through a hard time in my life, giving me more self-confidence in my job, or being an overall more calm person... training BJJ has helped me become a better man, father, and husband. I have been around the block and a part of a few dysfunctional training situations- I hope the students at Refuge understand how lucky they have it! Josh, Kanani, & Ryan are amazing on the mat and to have the ability to train with that type of talent day-to-day is extremely rare, on top of the face they are such good-hearted people.

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