What year did you start BJJ?
I walked through the doors of 10th Planet Melbourne on April 27th of 2018. Found my Sensei and team. Best decision I ever made!
Who/How did you find BJJ?
I have been an avid boxing and MMA fan since I was little. My uncle and I watched Pride FC, StrikeForce, UFC and just about every boxing match there was. I love combat sports and always wanted to learn the ground game since UFC 1 and the Gracie's. In 2018 between some downtime travelling and touring overseas with my band, a friend who trained in the Gi invited me to his dojo. I went to a class but didn't feel a connection with the Gi, I didn't see how using sleeves and lapels would crossover to an MMA fight where that wasn't available. I took to the internet and found a video of Eddie Bravo speaking about the 10th Planet system and how it is a clinch based system that is specifically designed to work without the Gi in MMA. I looked to see if we had a school in Melbourne and lo and behold, I found Sensei Frank Barca/10th Planet Melbourne. The rest is history.
What was your previous training/martial arts experience?
I had zero grappling experience before walking through the doors of the dojo. Besides the occasional wrestle with my little cousin at the family BBQ and mimicking what I saw on UFC, I was completely untrained, as white as white belt comes. I had been boxing for 4-5 years on and off between touring and felt comfortable in my ability to stand, but didn't feel as "complete fighter" like Yuri Boyka, and I wanted that.
Have you had any major setbacks or injuries on your training journey?
I've been quite fortunate that the only setbacks I have had during my jiu jitsu journey have been somewhat minor. Tapping saves you in training and I wish more people would tap when they get caught as opposed to rolling the dice and spinning out of that heel hook which they didn't think was tight. I've had a Grade 2 eversion medial deltoid sprain to my left ankle (which JT helped me rehab like a boss, thankyou big man), a few minor sprains here and there on my wrists and fingers in competition and one case of golden staph that set me back a little while as I wasn't diligent in identifying what it was. All in all I've been very lucky considering I train 5-6 sessions a week.
How has the Bulletproof for BJJ program helped you so far?
Bulletproof has allowed me to shift focus from typical linear movements in the gym, to more of a focus on mobility and functional strength.. It made sense to cross train movements that would help my jiujitsu and I've seen direct results because of it, my guard is better, flexibility is better and I'm recovering much quicker. I firmly believe that injury prevention and functional strength/mobility go hand in hand by fortifying the body and preparing you for the rigour of jiujitsu. Doing the mobility work daily has helped me remain injury free, even in some precarious positions where I might not have come out ok if I didn't have the strength through range of motion. I've also never done this much kettlebell work and I'm really loving it, so is everyone at the dojo as we recently signed up the entire school to program.