What made you get into martial arts?
I got into martial arts for a few reasons. One, it is a necessity. I always like to joke that I grew up fighting because of my many older brothers. But more significantly as a child I experienced quite a bit of bullying and similar issues. I would watch a lot of fighting (UFC, MMA) and thought I wanted todo that. I didn’t have self-confidence or high self-esteem. I think it’s a struggle that a lot of teenagers experience, not believing in or even not liking oneself. One day I just decided to take that essential first step and started training. It quickly changed from a workout and learning self-defense into something that I felt I wanted to pursue as a career and a lifestyle that I wanted to continue for the rest of my life. I got into martial arts because it makes me believe in me.
Tell us about your journey/background/accomplishments.
My martial arts journey so far has been quite the ride. Looking back even though it has only been a few years its really amazing to see how far I’ve come. Walking in the door on my first day in High Altitude I took a kickboxing class with former UFC fighter and long time coach at HAMA, Jared Hamman. I had so much fun and could barely wait to be back and train more. Later that year under the guidance of all the coaches at High Altitude I competed in my first kickboxing bout. An amateur tournament for the Colorado Muay Thai State Title. To my surprise, I won! It was a huge step for me mentally, realizing that I am much stronger and better than I tend to think I am. Since then, my competition focus has been largely onBJJ. I’ve gone undefeated in Colorado with numerous gold medals at the regional F2W tournaments and won triple gold at the state championships. I competed at the World Championships last year in California and brought home a silver and bronze. My favorite moment to date is winning the first ever F2W Pro Sub Only BJJ match in history. I stepped onto the stage again and submitted another opponent. I ended my teenage career ranked number 1 for gi and no gi in the pro rankings. Throughout this all it hasn’t been easy, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of injuries and bumps in the road along the way. But I’ve enjoyed all of it and am so excited to continue it.
What is your goal as a coach?
My goal as a coach tends to differ depending on the student. I always want to have anyone I’m teaching sweating, smiling, and learning. I want them to enjoy the training they are doing while getting a good workout and learning real skills. More specifically, if I’m teaching kids, a huge part of what I want is to give them the skills to defend themselves and be able to stand up for themselves should they be in similar situations that I found myself in when I was younger. I love seeing their confidence in themselves grow as their skills do. If I’m teaching one on one or more advanced students, my focus is mainly to share as much of my competition skills and knowledge as I can. The better my training partners are, the better I am so in a way it’s a selfish pursuit.
What makes High Altitude Martial Arts special?
High Altitude is so special to me because it’s so much more than just a gym, where people just come workout and leave. It’s a community and a family friendly place where whatever your goals are they can be met. You will have an excellent platform and support system to improve yourself , make friends and learn martial arts. Whether you want to become a professional fighter under the tutelage of our world class coaches or just want to get in better shape and have fun, it’s catered to everyone. High Altitude is my home away from home and I wouldn’t want it any other way.