Will Johnson is a 10th Planet Bethlehem blue belt and trains in both the kickboxing and jiu jitsu programs at the school. He found his start with 10th Planet because his younger brother was training in the kids program at the time and JM, in his typical fashion, gave him a hard time until he started training as well right along with the kids. That was about 2 and a half years ago now and Will has pretty much been helping out as a kid’s instructor ever since. He also helps by teaching some of the kickboxing classes at the school and is there working on his own game just about every day of the week. Will has been at the school day in and day out and has made himself an integral part of the squad.
At only 18 years old and a senior in high school, Will has a solid head start on his martial arts training, with an end goal of becoming a professional mma fighter. On top of his training and regular schooling, Will is also enrolled in the Career Institute of Technology’s (CIT) welding program and has done some amazing things with his metal work in recent years. Back in February of this year, CIT competed in the 5th annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? contest for the Lehigh Valley area, which featured 30 teams from 22 school districts. Will was in charge of the group from CIT, which consisted of 36 students and 4 teachers across 4 different programs. After a lot of hard work and coordination, they created the impressive display below.
Unfortunately, CIT's culinary program had already won the Sweet Manufacturing Cupcake Award for the cupcakes themselves, which disqualified CIT from receiving first place for the display, since there is a rule against one school winning first place for both cupcake awards. Even so, Will doesn't let that technicality get him down and he continues to manufacture some amazing metal pieces. He even created the art piece below in his spare time, which is hanging up at Finishers MMA on one of the walls in the back.
It’s extremely impressive that Will finds time to balance all of his schooling demands and still make it into the gym to teach and train as often as he does. Will’s discipline and determination has allowed him to make a lot of progress in his training in a short period of time. He has even competed already in both disciplines with 2 amateur kickboxing fights and 2 jiu jitsu tournaments under his belt. Will really found his groove with teaching though, and hopes to be a full time martial arts instructor one day. Even though he could clearly have a bright and likely high paid future as a welder, Will believes he will be much happier following his passion for mixed martial arts rather than chasing money. He has really found a family atmosphere at Finishers MMA, which is what he believes sets the gym apart. Everyone is real with each other about things they need to work on, and even the higher ranked and more experienced guys at the school are always willing to take time to explain techniques or help out if you get lost. Will is a perfect example of that, and is a great person to ask if you are ever looking for someone to help you understand a technique.
RAPID FIRE Q&A
Who or what got you into training jiu jitsu?
I was playing football at the time and the school was located right next to a Jimmy Johns and me and my brother love Jimmy Johns. Once he started training JM pushed me to start too.
How long have you been training?
Do you have certain positions or submissions that you focus on a lot when training and competing?
Stick to the basics like armbars and triangles. Also I try to stay on top since I'm one of the smaller guys.
What do you think is the most impressive submission to pull off in competition?
Rear naked choke from the crucifix position.
Do you have any jiu jitsu or mma heroes that you look up to?
JM as far as jiu jitsu goes. Sugar Ray Leonard and Andy Souwer for striking.
Which do you like better, jiu jitsu or striking?
I have to try harder with striking, which is why I’ve mostly dedicated the last year to striking.
Original Post Date 5/4/2018