I wanted to write this and recap our weekend at Igloo Cryotherapy. First off thank you to the owner of Igloo Cryotherapy and 10th planet blue belt Dan Spyridon for hosting us and treating everyone to discount freezes. Saturday night we had about 50 of our students come hang out at the lab. We hung out for a while and then Zach and I had the pleasure of doing a few promotions for some of the guys. Promoting people is one of the better parts of my job, people train with us for years night after night and we get to recognize all of their hard work and you get to be apart of this huge transformation for them. When people come to us they are definitely looking for something or for something to change. I can guarantee that if you ask any of our ranked guys they would tell you that by the time they got their blue belts they were most certainly an upgraded version of themselves. So I wanted to just write a little bit about each guy who we promoted on Saturday to share and to once again congratulate them.
Devin Vogel- Blue Belt - We had to promote Dev to blue. When he first came to us he had some prior experience but we thought he wasn't going to be staying long. Next thing I know he signs up for a year and he's in the gym practically everyday with us. Dev is perfect for me to roll with as we are practically the same size and is always pushing me in my own training. I always see Dev working with new guys and helping them get through the beginnings of their own journeys, which is not only important for them but also to grow the school, without guys like Dev helping out we couldn't do what we are doing. Lastly, Devin crushed the blue belt division at his last tournament winning all matches by submission.
Kevin Mcgill - Blue Belt - Kevin started with us about 18 months ago when his girlfriend who gets her haircut next door mentioned us to him. He came in and believed in us and started training not only in jiu jitsu but in striking as well. In that time he's down 30 lbs and his skill went way through the roof. Kevin again always holding it down for us if a bigger guy comes in to train. When a guy comes in that 6' plus and over 185 it's nice when you got a student like Kevin roll with them and show them how good he can move and especially only training for as long as he has. Not only that but Kev is always showing up for when Zach has a fight or whatever event is going on to support us. Kevin congrats man well deserved.
Jon Blank - Purple Belt - Jon is an absolute savage, this guy could easily be making a career out of jiu jitsu in a few years. Competes above his rank and destroys under pressure, helps with the beginners and taps out all the black belts we have in for seminars. Jon has come a long way from knowing zero and has the potential to be a serious professional competitor and maybe one day a school owner. To not give this guy a purple would be a slap in the face I'm pretty sure his only loss is to Gordon Ryan who is an absolute beast as well, look out for this kid.
Gregg Henry and Matt Koch - Purple Belt - These guys believed in us when we first started teaching as blue belts. Not only that but they were training for years and competing at NAGA since before that. These guys aren't stud athletes they are normal guys and they come to class twice a week consistently for the last I don't know how long. They compete, they help with newer guys, and they're an example that a lot of people can draw inspiration from and I'm proud to have them representing us as purples.
Mike Ortiz- Purple Belt - Again this guys has been with me for years. One word that I associate with Mike is heart. To beat him you gotta kill him and it shows in his jiu jitsu. His body type is pretty opposite of ours so he has definitely had to develop his own style and things that work for him. Mike is also an instructor at my school and is a natural leader, without him the school would not be what it is. Congrats man
I wanted to share each of these because of how different they all are. In jiu jitsu everyone has their own journey and its really important to know that if you don't train you can still get belted without having to be an absolute monster. It might take a little longer but everyone I just mentioned is a badass in their own right, who've put in some serious work. Proud of you guys and I cannot wait to see where we go from here.
Original Post Date 3/28/2016