Student Interview with John, A Gracie Humaita Alexandria white belt, about what brough him to training and what he’s gotten out of training so far! Keep up the great work John.

Gracie Humaita Alexandria: Why did you become interested in training BJJ?

John: I’ve always liked boxing as a kid and still do today. Then the UFC came along and when I got into that, I found the ground fighting the most interesting aspect of it, most of it being Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And I’ve been a bar manager for 5 years and every fight I’ve been involved in has ended up as a wresting match or on the ground. Unless someone gets knocked out with the first punch, it always ends with both guys on the ground. A couple of months ago I got into an altercation at work, and a guy much larger than I am grabbed me in a headlock. I didn’t see it coming. I was standing too close to him while I was telling him off for something and he grabbed we around the head. We both hit the ground, and after a few seconds of wrestling he ended up on top of me. I basically pinned his head to my chest and squeezed until he stopped struggling. I was able to eventually kick him off me, by which time I was too tired to do anything but tell him to leave. Lucky for me though, the guy was too tired to fight anymore and he left the premises. A week later I realized I needed to start training in ground fighting, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was the obvious choice.

Has something like that ever happened before?

Yeah, like I said before, quite a few times.

How did u feel during the attack?

During the attack I was running on pure adrenalin, which lasted about a minute. After that all I could think was “S***, I’m so tired”.

And after the event, how did you feel?

I felt like it was time to learn some ground fighting. The attack made me realize how unfit I was, and if it happens again I want to be better prepared.

Since starting Gracie Jiu Jitsu how has your attitude changed toward the thought of physical confrontation?

The biggest lesson it’s taught me so far is the fact that good fighters come in all shapes and sizes. Also, the better fighter they are the more relaxed and chilled they are as a person.

What are your goals for learning Gracie Jiu Jitsu? Has this changed since you started training?

My immediate goal is to stay off cigarettes. I’m 38, and have been smoking for the past 16 years. Since I began BJJ, the thought of having a cigarette makes me feel sick. I can feel my cardio getting better and better, and my lungs are getting stronger for the first time in years. The guys I train with have been really patient and helpful, and even though my progress has been slow, I realize I also have to be patient, but the small improvements I’ve made keep me wanting to come back again and again.