Martial Arts has not only saved my life, but shaped it as well. As many young kids have done from the 90s, I grew up watching Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers and Van Damme movies. How could you not want to do martial arts? I got started doing an American style of kickboxing but do to my hometown being so far away from quality training, I didn't stick with it to much. I bounced around from discipline to discipline. Everything from karate to Phillipino kali. It wasn't until my uncle came from Washington DC to live with my mom and me that I found grappling. He taught me some basic submission grasping techniques when I was young until we both found judo at the same time.
That's where the obsession really took over. The local college had a judo club ran by my judo coach Randall Rhodes. I fell in love with the competition aspect. Competed in judo at a national level until I was 20(even went undefeated as a amateur MMA fighter in that time). When I was 24, my coach Brian Imholz opened up the first jiu-jitsu academy in my city. Again grappling took my life over. Fast forward a few years later, I am currently the assistant instructor at Gracie Humaita Southeast Missouri. I get to teach and share my passion of Gracie jiu-jitsu and judo. I owe all the opportunities I've ever had in life to judo and jiu-jitsu. Without these wonderful arts, I'd still working at some job I didn't enjoy.