What made you get into martial arts?
I didn’t grow up around or watch martial arts movies. When I was about fourteen years old one of my older brothers, who was a fan of MMA, introduced me to the sport and I fell in love with it. I was captivated by it and knew right away it was something I wanted to pursue. It’s hard to pinpoint one exact thing that makes martial arts special. The camaraderie and friendships you make with your teammates and coaches is invaluable, the confidence and discipline, work ethic, and numerous other virtues martial arts can give you are also very important. I think for me personally, the competition aspect of the sport is very special, having to put your work and skills on the line is the ultimate test of your abilities and the payoff is an amazing feeling. The other reason would be the opportunity to grow with your martial arts family and the continuous daily grind of getting better and learning.
Tell us about your journey/background/accomplishments.
I started training at HAMA when I was fifteen years old and have been here ever since. I absolutely love it and try to train as much as possible. My first ever class was a kickboxing class with former UFC fighter and HAMA coach, Jared Hamman. It was an amazing experience and I knew I would definitely be coming back for more. After about six months of training my brother and I signed up to compete in the Annual Colorado Muay Thai State Championships. The moment of victory in that first fight is a very special one for me and a moment I will absolutely never forget. After that, I set my eyes on doing the local jiu jiutsu state tournament. My brother and I came in early, stayed late, and tried to get in as much training as we could. I remember the actual tournament being nowhere near as hard as the training, and that’s how it should be. We both won all our matches and brought home medals to our proud parents and teammates. Since that time, I have had three more kickboxing fights and won the state title for a second time. I also competed and won the Colorado jiu jitsu state championships two more times. Everything I have experienced and learned in my martial arts journey has been amazing and it has absolutely improved my life in so many different ways. It’s a huge part of who I am today.
What is your goal as a coach?
My goal as a coach is to try my best to make sure students achieve whatever goals they have for themselves. Whether that be to compete, learn self-defense, build confidence, physical changes, or anything else they would like to achieve. I’ve had so many people pour information, advice, and time into me over the years, and I am more than happy to give any back I can. I’ve found a lot of joy in coaching, I love seeing something click with a student, and teaching people a technique and seeing it work. A big part of martial arts for me is giving and spreading it to others, and I have found it to be a great aspect of the sport.
What makes High Altitude Martial Arts special?
If you asked anyone who has trained at HAMA for a long period of time, they will all give you the same answer to this question. The atmosphere at High Altitude is what sets it apart from other gyms. It’s full of world class coaches that have been there, done that, and know what they are talking about. Everyone here are truly teammates and that’s how everyone gets better. The tight-knit, family atmosphere in the gym is an amazing thing and I think it is what makes us special.