Student Spotlight: Patrick Hassing

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Patrick Hassing is a mechanical engineer for Bradman Lake who has been training BJJ for six years. He was promoted to a purple belt in May 2013. Also in 2013, Patrick trained in Rio de Janeiro at Gordo Jiu Jitsu for three and a half months. Patrick loves the outdoors and takes delight in trying new things. His connection to other people is what he values most. His girlfriend just moved from Brooklyn back down to Fort Mill.

1. Did you train BJJ prior to coming to Great Grappling? If so, where and for how long?

I originally started BJJ at Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Harrisburg near UNCC. I trained there for eight months and then went to college at Clemson University where I taught BJJ and trained by myself for four years. After this I moved to Charleston for five months and trained at Charleston Krav Maga until I moved back to Fort Mill.

2. What sports did you play prior to training in BJJ?

I wrestled for two years in high school. I have lifted weights since I was 14 and I played football up until I entered high school.

3. Why did you decide to begin training BJJ?

I decided to try BJJ because I liked wrestling but didn’t want to do another year of it in high school. I had seen the UFC and was very interested in the grappling techniques the fighters were using and thus I tried BJJ out.

4. What are your training goals?

My goals are to compete for a time and eventually teach people. I would love to make BJJ the centerpiece of my life where it can provide an income without destroying my body. Hopefully one day I can do this by owning my own gym or assisting at another gym.

5. How has grappling improved your life?

Grappling has helped to open doors I never thought possible. It has given me recognition in the Charlotte community. On several occasions people have come up to me and said they have heard about my trip to Brazil or about my training. I also would have never been able to live in Brazil for such a period of time if I didn’t grapple. That was a wonderful experience that spans much further than just what I can do on a mat. Grappling has provided health, community, friends, goals, and a lifestyle. I would not be the same person without grappling.

6. What’s your favorite submission, position, or transition, and why?

I have some moves that I am an avid user of. The knee-slice pass has been a staple of my game for the past couple years. Reverse De La Riva, x-guard and half-guard are my favorite from my back. Bow-and-arrow chokes, as well as kimuras, are my favorite submissions. These are all high-percentage moves and flow well with my game. Thiago Gaspary and Jeremy Arel helped me a lot with these movements.

7. What’s your proudest BJJ-related accomplishment?

There are several moments I am very proud of. The first time I won an advanced division in competition was a great moment. Winning my first purple belt division was also a great moment for me, but I think my absolute proudest moment was probably being able to help Mario Sperry train for a super fight at ADCC. I was one of his main training partners and got the chance to help him prepare for his eventual win against Alliance founder and BJJ legend, Fabio Gurgel.

8. What would people be surprised to know about you?

I lived in Germany for a year studying and working as an engineer. I spent a lot of time refining my German language skill and can have a full conversation in German (that talks about more than just my name and how old I am). I have lived in ten different cities and four different countries as of now in my life and I hope to travel to see as much of the world as possible. One of my main life goals is to go to Cape Town in South Africa and swim with a great white shark. I am horribly afraid of deep water and sharks scare the hell out of me so I will make sure to do so while in a cage—but it is a must before I die.

Student Spotlight: Justin Caryk

Justin gets promoted

Justin gets promoted

Justin Caryk is a Technical Recruiter in the Telecommunications Industry who has been training BJJ for just over a year. He is a rarely observed white belt, one who does not resort to spazzing when he finds himself lost on the mats—which is frequently. If he is not training, he’s likely playing video games with his faithful companion, a boxer named Miss Piggy.

1. Did you train BJJ prior to coming to Great Grappling? If so, where and for how long?

Great Grappling was my first experience with BJJ.

2. What sports did you play prior to training in BJJ?

I was born into a hockey family but ended up playing soccer my entire life. Apparently, hockey equipment is expensive!

3. Why did you decide to begin training BJJ?

I stopped playing soccer in organized leagues after high school, and with the exception of kickball and some pickup leagues for soccer I have not competed since. At 27 years old, I found myself missing exercise and physical competition. After a combination of an old friend talking about his training and years of watching the effectiveness of BJJ in MMA, I found myself walking through the doors of Great Grappling to try it for myself.

4. What are your training goals?

My main goal is simple: to keep training as long as my body will let me. With any luck, I have many years of challenge and learning ahead.

5. How has grappling improved your life?

Since starting BJJ, I quit smoking, lost 30 pounds, and am unquestionably in the best shape of my life.

6. What’s your favorite submission, position, or transition, and why?

As a white belt, my favorite submission is the one I can get. The Pedron Choke from side control is the first one I surprised a partner with. I can’t always hit it, but this is what I’m looking for every time from side control. Most recently, I’ve been enjoying playing with butterfly. I can’t think of a more gratifying moment than lifting with a hook, feeling my partner’s base give, and ending on my feet with my partner on his back.

7. What’s your proudest BJJ-related accomplishment?

I’ve been training a little over a year, which is not much time to have a truly noteworthy accomplishment. I’m most proud that I’ve continued training. The atmosphere of the gym and excellent training partners make it easy to find small successes to stay motivated, but having become more active in BJJ communities online, I’ve found the turnover rate of white belts is pretty high.

8. What would people be surprised to know about you?

I love drawing and am not terrible at it.

Student Spotlight- Jake Boehmann

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Jake Boehmann is a waiter at Maggiano’s in SouthPark who has been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over six years, since he was 25. He’s a purple belt who has made Great Grappling his home since January 2013. Almost immediately upon coming to GGBJJ he was nicknamed “Jake the Cake,” which has since been shortened to just “Cake.” When he’s not working you can find him at just about every single class offered at Great Grappling, where he loves training two-a-days when his schedule allows. Jake spends his time outside of BJJ with his parents and younger brother and sister, and especially loves hanging out with his German Shorthaired Pointer, Dixie.

1. Did you train BJJ prior to coming to Great Grappling? If so, where and for how long?

I got my start at Unified BJJ in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was the original school where Pedro Sauer taught. I trained there for around 3 years before moving to Rock Hill, SC, and picked my training back up at East Coast Fighter in Charlotte, NC, where I trained for several years before finding Great Grappling.

2. What sports did you play prior to training in BJJ?

I played baseball and basketball my whole life, but I’d have to say outside of BJJ my most notable skills are in beer pong. I’m really good at it.

3. Why did you decide to begin training BJJ?

I’ve always wanted to do martial arts. As a kid I idolized Karate Kid, and wanted to be a ninja. Then the UFC started getting big and I started seeing all of these submissions. I knew I wanted to learn subs and get into this style of martial arts. I researched my area of Salt Lake City to find a school and came out with two options: Jeremy Horn’s Elite Performance Gym, which is a full MMA school, or Pedro Sauer’s Unified BJJ. At the time Sauer had just been recognized with an award for being one of the best instructors in the sport and I really wanted to focus on that part of the game, so I went to check it out and really loved it from the first time I got on the mats. It was such a well run business and very friendly to beginners. It was a great place to get my start in BJJ.

4. What are your training goals?

I feel like my game and strategy has changed completely since coming to Great Grappling. My general knowledge, foundation, and basics were pretty solid from my training at Unified and ECF, but other than that sometimes it feels like I’ve gone back to the drawing board. Jeremy has shown me different strategies that have completely changed fundamental aspects of my game. Every now and then it seems like everything I felt good at prior to coming to GGBJJ I don’t get to do anymore. Working on standing up and passing has been a main focus of mine for several months, so spending this time in the open guard block has been very helpful in letting me work out some kinks. Standing hip pressure like in the motorcycle pass, working the leg drag, pretty much all of open guard is what I’ve been working on lately.

I also want to compete more frequently next year. I learned this year that what works in class doesn’t always work in competition, especially at the IBJJF level. I’d really like to do six or more tournaments next year, with a focus on the local tournaments like Newbreed and NAGA. I really want to integrate myself into the local BJJ community and get to know the players. It’s gotten personal at this point for me to medal and succeed at the local level.

5. How has grappling improved your life?  It’s something that all the high level guys say about BJJ-—there’s no bullsh*tting on the mat. It’s humbling. There’s no lying to yourself or anyone else about where you stand. It shows you who you really are, and what you’re capable of. Physically, it’s helped me live a healthier life, and avoid bad habits. BJJ has gotten me into great shape.

6. What’s your favorite submission, position, or transition, and why?

I want to answer all of these.

Submission: I’ve had a romance with the armbar since the early days of watching UFC; it’s why I wanted to learn BJJ. I absolutely love dominating the arm from every position. I can’t even pick a specific armbar to say it’s my favorite. Just armbars.

Position: Mount. It’s the pinnacle of the triangle that symbolizes BJJ; it’s at the top of the pyramid. From a self-defense aspect it’s the most degrading, dominant position. The core of BJJ is position before submission, and it’s hard to go wrong from mount.

Transition: Mount to triple threat. There’s so much you can do there, and it’s a great place to get an armbar.

7. What’s your proudest BJJ-related accomplishment?

It sounds cheesy, but winning double gold at the South Carolina State Open in 2012 was a really big moment for me. Just getting out there with other guys and coming away with nothing but wins in both gi and no-gi felt great. I definitely want to experience more success in competition. Also, getting promoted to purple belt under my instructor at ECF was huge.

8. What would people be surprised to know about you?

Well, I’m 32. A lot of people tell me I look (and act) a lot younger than that, so some people are surprised to find out I’m in my 30s. Also, I was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so I come from a Mormon background. But probably the most surprising is that I really love taking long hot baths, especially after training. Seriously, I love a good bath.

 

 

Student Spotlight: Robb “Weeble” Adams

Student Spotlight: Robb “Weeble” Adams

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Robb Adams is a production supervisor for Schaefer Systems International, and has been training BJJ since December of 2012. At Great Grappling he is known as “Weeble,” and is currently a four-stripe white belt. With the support of his girlfriend Cathy, he has been able to train a minimum of three days a week since he started. Robb can usually be found watching Prof. Jeremy’s YouTube videos, or working on his flexibility and core strength by learning Yoga and PiYo at a local gym—all in an effort to improve his abilities on the mats.

1. Did you train BJJ prior to coming to Great Grappling? If so, where and for how long?

I was brand-new not only BJJ, but to any martial art when I joined Great Grappling.

2. What sports did you play prior to training in BJJ?

The only sport I took part in since my 20s was Madden Football on my PS3. So as you could imagine, I was in tip-top shape.

3. Why did you decide to begin training BJJ?

I had recently separated from my wife of 10 years, and was tired of being a 42-year-old man who felt like he was in his fifties. I was never able to go to the gym and “pick things up and put them down” and feel like that was accomplishing anything. I would get bored with it and stop going, so I knew I needed something that would push me. That’s when I decided to try a martial art—I wasn’t sure which one—but I am so glad I found the one I did. And when I say “found,” that’s exactly what I mean. I live in the Steele Creek area of Charlotte, so I sat in my car and typed in “martial arts” in the GPS on my phone, and it took me straight to the front door of the academy. I walked in, talked to Megan for about 10 minutes with what I know had to be the dumbest questions ever. She patiently answered my questions, then told me I could watch the class that was in progress. After watching, I came back the following Tuesday, signed a waiver, put on a gi, and two hours later I signed up. I was done; I was addicted from the first time I rolled, and have been ever since. If I’m not on the mats I’m thinking about what I could have done differently the last time I was.

4. What are your training goals?

First and foremost, I want to be the training partner that everybody likes to roll with. Not that I want everybody to be able to beat me up, but the partner they know won’t try to hurt them or get mad if they tap me. I want to be the guy that helps everyone get better, so that I can get better, as well as the training partner that leaves his ego outside the gym, and never stops learning. Along with that, my second goal is to be good enough to someday get my black belt and follow in Prof. Jeremy’s footsteps. Not to put a timeline on it either, because I feel if I get caught up in just getting the belt, I miss out on the journey of achieving the ability. If I become good enough at jiu-jitsu to earn a black belt, it will come.

5. How has grappling improved your life?

When I started training, I weighed 230 lbs., and couldn’t run across the room without stopping to take a break. I am now a healthy 175lbs, and can ride my bike six miles a day without a problem. BJJ has helped me understand that life is about more than the daily grind. And if you think that a day in the office is stressful, get on the mats and have another man sit on your chest and try to choke you unconscious. Once you learn that you can survive that and not “spaz” out, it makes life at the office seem kind of boring.

6. What’s your favorite submission, position, or transition, and why?

The Ezekiel Choke has become my favorite submission, mainly because I have had some success with it. It’s a pretty powerful choke, and if I’m sneaky enough with the set-up, they never see it coming. I will say though, my second favorite would have to be the crucifix set-up. There are so many different things you can do from that setup, and it plays off a lot of what I try to do when rolling. As Prof. Jeremy says, taking the back is number one over anything else.

7. What’s your proudest BJJ-related accomplishment?

Not quitting. I haven’t been doing this long enough to say “submitting this guy” or “winning this medal.” For me, it’s just surviving. So to put it in a sentence? My proudest BJJ-related accomplishment is every time I don’t feel like going to class for whatever reason, I put on my gi, get on the mats, and do it.

8. What would people be surprised to know about you?

I like to dress in women’s clothes on the weekends. Just kidding, I think they would be surprised to know that I have always had issues with people being in my personal space. If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I would be doing a sport that required me to do the things that jiu-jitsu does, I would have laughed at them.