What made you get into martial arts?
I did taekwondo when I was very young, maybe 6 or 7, but I quit because the instructors wouldn’t let me throw any punches during sparring. I remember being yelled at many times for this and eventually decided to start boxing. That’s when my parents got me a pair of American flag, Wal-Mart gloves. I used to hit the bag and learned a little here and there, but I never got too into boxing. I was always a fan of watching combat sports on TV. Boxing mostly but a lot of WEC too. That’s what got me into MMA, is watching WEC all day and thinking to myself “that’s something I can get into”.
Tell us about your journey/background/accomplishments?
I came to HAMA when I was 17 and feel like I haven’t taken a day off since. I was at the gym after school, over the summer in the mornings and evenings, hitting the bag I had at home, Anytime I could train I would.
I moved to Boulder to get my Psychology degree and studied at the Easton BJJ in Boulder until I moved back down here.
When I first started, my whole goal was to have people talk about me the same way they talked about Professor Christian Allen. I wanted people to say “that’s the best guy I know” or “he’s gonna be champ one day”. In the beginning, that was my motivation, I never thought I would be as good as I am now. I’ve won some prestigious tournaments, like the WKA’s North American title, and even the WKA’s World title, as well as CO’s biggest MMA promotion’s title, PFC. I don’t have a proudest accomplishment, when all my goals have been reached, then I’ll be proud.
What is your goal as a coach?
Every time someone walks into the gym, I want them to know how special HAMA is. This is not just a gym to me, this is where I lived through the hardest and best times in my life. HAMA has brought such happiness to my life that when people come in I want them to understand that. Whatever goal they come in with, I want them to surpass that goal. I want my students to feel the same way I do about HAMA. It’s more than a gym with mats, it’s special and important to me.
What makes High Altitude Martial Arts special?
HAMA has the best coaches at what they do. They have the top guys that have been through a lot to gain the knowledge they have so they can pass it along. The coaches are passionate and always learning. We don’t do things the same as other gyms. HAMA does things the HAMA way, and it makes us unique. To feel what it’s like, you have to come in and experience it.