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Cristobal Hernandez uses BJJ to lose over 140 pounds!

I first read about Cristobal Hernandez in a short article on the Meerkatsu Blog.  He was featured in an issue of Jiu Jitsu Magazine and I was really taken by his story.

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As somebody who has struggled with eating, weight, and body issues all of my life, it was really cool to hear somebody else’s story of BJJ helping them with weight loss.

I was really keen to get his thoughts on the whole weight loss and beginning BJJ process, as well as some things not covered anywhere else online.  The interview is quite long, but a great read if you have the time.

Without further ado, I present the Ok Kimonos interview with Cristobal Hernandez!

OK: A lot of people were surprised at the recent graphic chronicling your incredible weight loss from 315lbs to 175lbs.  What prompted you to start losing weight and where were some of the first things you did?

CH: Well I grew up obese all my life. I dealt with the usual stuff: Name calling, being shoved around, picked on, picked last for sports, rejected by girls, you name it haha!  When I was in my second year of high school it all became way too much for me. I started looking for excuses to skip school. I’d tell my mom I was sick, I had the flu, diarrhea, fever, anything to avoid showing up and getting bullied. I got into a real bad depression and started suffering from severe anxiety.

I ended up getting set up with some home studying and I spent a lot of my days just doing my school work, sitting around and nerding it out (I was a HUGEEEE World of Warcraft junkie) and just eating the worst foods in the world. I kinda shut myself out and by staying in and not being at school my weight was just getting obscene. I was around 280-290 when I attended highschool, but when I started home studying that’s when I hit my top of 315.

My mom thought it would be a good idea for me to finally get my lazy butt up and find a job. I started working at a game stop and it was great. My manager at the time was this really great guy named Dan Little and honestly I’d say he was one of the top motivators for me at the time. I was still dealing with anxiety, still getting depressed, but I lost a few pounds just from being up and around. I started being more social and even talking to girls a bit. I would always go to Dan for advice and he always had really great inspiring words for me. Thanks to him I mustered up the courage to ask this girl out that I had a crush on at the time… and well.. It sucked really bad but it’s what set off my weight loss journey.

She rejected me and gave me the usual “you aren’t my type” , “you’re much better as a friend.” Speech and I was sick of it. I snapped and yelled and said “I know it’s all a lie I want to hear the real reason!”

Ser exact words still echo in my head and they went like this : “ You want honest? Fine. I only date TALL and SKINNY FIT guys. You aren’t tall, skinny or fit.”

Ht stung, it hurt, and it got me really fired up and angry..

But for the first time in life it made me want to do something about it. I remember I got home and I was just heated and red and I could picture steam coming out of my face and I looked in the mirror and said “Fine! Tall, skinny and fit? I’ll do that! Then all the girls who never gave me the time of day will regret it!”

It was a selfish and shallow reason to start but it was good that it had happened. I started talking to friends and getting advice on how to lose weight and researching different things on the internet.

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OK: How did you go about losing weight prior to BJJ?

CH: I cut out soda first thing. I was really bad with soda, I would drink close to a 6 pack a day.  I started drinking a lot more water and I even did fruit juices and smoothies like the Naked brand ones when I really needed something with taste or flavor.

I immediately cut out junk food. Since I was a bit of a gamer and hung out in the house all day most of my meals consisted of fast food, pizza delivery, and out random takeout foods.

I started eating more of my mom’s home cooked meals which consisted of things like white rice, chicken or steak, and different kinds of veggies. It wasn’t 100% perfect or clean but it was a HUGE start because within a month people really started to notice a difference.  I still remember going into work one day and having dan give me an XL work shirt he just got from a convention.  He said “here dude, this would look sick on you man.”

I got a little mad because at the time I was still rocking XXXL and XXL shirts and I was thinking this was some kind of joke. I liked dan though and didn’t want to offend him so I put the shirt on and honestly.. it didn’t look half bad, he even said so. A lot of regular customers started to notice my weightloss and kept telling me “dude you’re starting to look good!” or “have you been working out?” or “you’re looking slim man!”.

I was honestly on the verge of giving up on my diet when I just kept hearing all this positive feedback. It really fueled me and fired me up.

I think at this point I managed to drop about 20-30 pounds and was close to 280. I went on a shopping spree buying new t-shirts in the size of XL and just feeling pretty cool about it.

I had a few buddies that I used to play World of Warcraft with and we would always chat all the time. They started hearing about my weight loss and were really stoked and happy for me. We all decided to have a real life guild meeting and hung out. These guys ended up becoming some of my best friends, and to this day two of the people who give me some of the BEST advice in jiu jitsu.

Their names are John and Michael Berriman. They are twins and I always joke with them saying they could be the next mendes or miyaos haha!

It was one day I was hanging out at his pad and I was talking with john and  I go “dude, what else can I do to start losing more weight? I want to look like you man! I want to have muscles and abs!! that stuff is cool!” he laughed and picked up a pair of dumbells and showed me some really basic exercises. Curls, Hammer Curls, Upright Rows, Shoulder presses, just really basic things I could do in my free time.

It was during this period I also experimented with diet and became a vegetarian for a few months.  I started eating A LOT of fruits and vegetables, brown rice, eggs, and fat free cheese. Through all this I got down to about 215-220 pounds.  It felt great, I started feeling great.  I looked in the mirror and saw this new person… it was unbelievable.

I had a bit more confidence in myself, I started making a lot of friends, and I just felt really motivated.

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The problem was I still didn’t feel it was enough. I would talk to my close friends asking them more questions like how much more weight I should lose, what’s a healthy weight for my height and body type, why can’t I see muscular definition, what other exercises should I do? That’s when I started to plateau.  I was maintaining my current weight and not getting to far.

I tried adding meat back into my diet, changed the types of meat I ate (more chicken and turkey, less red meat), got cleaner food sources (whole grains, unprocessed foods) and I even got a membership to a gym where I started swimming and doing really basic weights.  I was still maintaining 215 and looking a little better.. but that was it. I kept asking myself  “ what’s going on? I’m doing a bit more now, but nothings coming off? What happened I was losing so much at first?” I just told my self maybe if I keep at it, it will change over time. I figured the first amount of weight is the easiest to burn off so maybe this last bit takes longer or something.  I was honestly getting really frustrated.

OK: What made you decide to start training BJJ and how much weight had you already lost?

CH: April 9, 2005 is probably an important day for most MMA fans, and for me it’s the day that really set things off for me for Jiu Jitsu.

Me and a good buddy of mine name Gilbert Garcia used to watch UFC from time to time. This is a fight me and him ended up watching that literally blew us away.

Bonnar and Griffin went toe to toe and just unloaded on each other for 3 rounds. I’d watch UFC, but I had never seen anything like this fight. Blood, crazy punches and kicks, an insane pace, the cut on the face… It’s like when I first listened to The Beatles it kind of blew my mind in terms of music.. that’s what this fight did to me for MMA.

I got the crazy idea of wanting to be a cage fighter, I totally was dead set on doing it hahahah!

I was just really into UFC for the next few years watching random fights and PPVs and developing favorite fighters. I never took the cage fighting thing too seriously cause a lot of people started telling me it was impossible, I was nowhere near in the right shape or condition,  I was “a nerd who played games all day and super uncoordinated”. I listened to the negative stuff and it put me down. I sort of just took it easy and kept doing the things I stated early in terms of diet and exercise. I managed to stay at 215. I was just working part time jobs, not really taking things seriously in life and doing the lost discovering yourself thing haha.

It was around 2009 when a Gracie Barra opened up in the city of Culver City. I’d still been watching UFC, and at this point in time I was barely starting to get into the origins.  I remember hearing a lot of people mention names like BJ Penn, Randy Coture, and Royce Gracie.

I had no clue who these dudes really were. I had seen one BJ Penn fight and thought he was great, but no idea he was pretty much a legend at the time. And besides knowing the Gracie’s created Jiu Jitsu I never heard of Royce Gracie or the Gracie name. When I watched UFC I was really into the flashy KOs and head kick knockouts and things like that. I enjoyed submissions when they happened, and I thought ground and pound was an amazing way to finish a fight, but besides this I never really paid much attention to the fancy details of the ground. I just knew there was the guard sometimes, and people like Tito Ortiz would throw crazy elbows from it and end fights.

I looked Royce up and once again, another mind blowing experience.

What I say just left me speechless. There is this tiny, skinny, and seriously I thought maybe even starved Brazilian dude going up against these HUGEEEEE meat heads and buff guys.

I said there was no way in hell this dude was going to win his fights. I was wrong. Very, VERY, wrong.

Seeing what he did literally was insane. Just taking these big dudes and throwing them into all sorts of these locks and choke holds and just finishing the fight maybe throwing one or two strikes..

That was just unreal to me. Seeing what he did to Shamrock was just crazy. I kept watching more footage and this fight in particular really was my favorite:

He just moves so quickly and lands right into the mount.. he just takes his time, throws strikes, gets the back, and even ends up reversed. Then he lands a great triangle and flips him over and just keeps punching him in the face… He is left helpless and with no chance of escape.

That’s when I sat there and said “I want to learn jiu jitsu.”

I might not have been the tiny, skinny, person. But one thing me and Royce had in common was that we were thrown against very big, angry, and stronger people.
To see the smaller, “weaker” person put in such a horrible position and survive and win? It was just reaching out to me in a special way.

I didn’t have a lot of money at the time and wasn’t working many hours. I made my first goal to find a new job and save up some money. My friend gilbert ended up joining the school and at the time wanted to help me out.

He bought a few cheap old mats and taped them together, and let me use his spare gi (which barely fit me lmao!) and started showing me all the fundamentals.

For a year I was just practicing basics of closed guard, passing the guard, side control, mount, transitioning from the positions and basic attacks like the armbar, kimura, and Americana.

He showed me how to properly grip the gi (no gripping on the inside, pistol grip for the sleeves, how and where to grab the collars for specific attacks) and we would drill simple things.

I finally had enough money in 2010 and a decent job that I was able to sign up at Gracie Barra Culver City.

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OK: What role did BJJ play in your weight loss?  How much did you train?

CH: When I first started I wanted to go every day, but you quickly learn that even when you try and condition yourself it’s still VERY grueling, and VERY intense. I’m still thankful for Gilbert showing me the basics because it did get my conditioning up from rolling with him that I was able to NOT puke at my first class haha!

Honestly that’s one tip I’ll give everyone. It’s not going to be easy your first class, but trust me it DOES get much better afterwards.  I would go about 4 times a week, about 2 days in a row, rest, then another two days at first. I started to pick up in pace and recover a bit quicker so I was training about 5 times a week. I wasn’t super on top of my diet because at this point in time I was one of those people who thought if I was exercising this hard, I could slack off on my diet a bit.  I’ll warn you now, if you want to perform the best you can, you need to put the best you can inside of you in terms of food.

I managed to get to 195pounds and was pretty happy about it. I started considering competing and had the opportunity to compete at a small in-house tourney.

I was really excited and got super on top of my training the two weeks before and even cleaned my diet up a little. The day before the tourney I guess I was just really amped and rolling hard. I was sparring with this one guy and kept getting in guard, scooting out, and catching him in a guillotine from it.

He got smart on caught on and when I tried to do it again things ended up worse then just a blocked sub attempt. I’m not sure if it was the way my arm was positioned but I had posted my arm to scoot out. At the same time he started to drive forward into me to try and keep me pinned on the mat. Maybe it was how I was posted, or how hard he drove in but I just remember hearing a LOUD snap and pop and that’s when a huge pain hit my hand.

If you’ve ever seen the episode of family guy where peter gets hit in the knee and falls over and just takes deep breathes and is like ahhhhh! That was pretty much me.

I was just grabbing onto my hand, taking in huge deep breathes and trying to figure out what had just happened.

I finally got the energy to stand up and we still had time to spar. I looked at it and it didn’t look too bad so I figured maybe it was a sprain, nothing serious. We tried to roll again and the minute I tried to pull guard when I gripped his Gi a HUGE pain shot through my hand. We had to stop rolling.

it was the day before the comp, we all were staring at it and trying to figure out if it was a sprain or what. It wasn’t really swollen at the time so everyone told me to just wrap it up and instead of gripping with my hand use under and over hooks. I was trying to be tough and honestly I was too excited for the comp that I said screw it! Let’s do this!!

I went to work that evening with my hand in a brace and tried to ignore it. At one point a customer came in and said “dude.. what the hell happened to your hand?!” I said, “oh just a sprain from jiu jitsu.” He goes “dude.. it’s swollen.. like bad.. you might want to get that checked.”

I looked down and my hand literally was inflated to the point of a balloon. I started freaking out and they let me go to the hospital where after an xray the figured out it was fractured.

I got my hand wrapped up in a splint and didn’t get to compete the day after. I was out for almost 4 months and when I finally got the splint off and the okay from the doctor I jumped right back in. I took my time a little more, paced myself, and get into the groove. It was about 3 or 4 weeks in I started talking to one of the instructors of the advanced class at the time (and who is now my current instructor) Kris Novell about competitions. I knew worlds were around the corner, and I still had competition on my mind even after the injury.  I asked him if I wanted to train for that when I should start, what should I do, How often should I train? Etc, etc.

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It was thanks to him I got really fired up and motivated to train for the 2011 Jiu Jitsu World Championship.

I started working out twice a day doing weight training circuits at home and going to jiu jitsu in the evenings. I would train jiu jitsu 4 times a week for about an hour and a half, and then cross train (the circuits, yoga, cardio) about 6 times a week. Looking back it was an odd schedule and not the best (should have trained more jiu jitsu, less cross training hahaha!) but I learned and grew from it.. and it was the first time ever planning my workout and training schedule on my own and really setting time aside in my day and even having my work schedule revolve around it. I made it a part of my life. I even dropped to 175lbs.

I competed at worlds and it was a great experience. After that I ended up having to take a break from training due to financial problems (work was cutting back on hours, etc.). I was away for a few months, came back in 2012 for about 3-4 months when I got a new job to train for US Nationals which I sadly did not make weight for (first time trying to make a weight cut and it was.. very rough!). I was about 167 and the limit was I believe 166.. so an entire pound off haha.  I this point I  had to stop again due to financial issues.

I’ve finally found a great stable job and as of February 2013 I’ve been training full time at my new home Westside Training Center.

My work schedule is hectic now but in a good week I do about 4-5 2 hour sessions of jiu jitsu (lots of drilling, conditioning, and rolling) and an hour of kettle belts 3 times a week. Some weeks I can only get in about 3 times, but I try hard to at least go a minimum of 4 times a week. In the end you can work out and do anything you want to stay in shape but the only way you get better at jiu jits is mat time. The more time you spend on the mats drilling and rolling, the better you are going to get.  At this point since February I’ve also been on a vegan diet and at 174lbs and still dropping weight so I’m next time I do compete I’m considering 165 or whatever the lightweight division is at the time.

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OK: What injury prompted you to take a break from BJJ?  Did you have any trouble preventing weight gain while you were injured?

CH: It was when I fractured my hand. My second left metacarpal to be exact (which is one tiny little bone.. but oh does it hurt!).

Honestly I gained a few pounds but it wasn’t too bad. I would just take walks around the block, try and eat clean, and when I finally got the okay from the doctor I’d do basic jogs, some body-weight squats, core exercises, etc.

Honestly when you injure yourself and it’s pretty serious listen to the docs and take some rest. You might gain a little weight but as long as you take care of yourself, don’t pig out, and if you are able to do light exercise do so, you won’t gain much weight.  Plus when you get back you slowly get into the groove of things, you ease back into your pace, and if you took care of yourself the weight comes off pretty fast.  I say this because I was 190 before the injury, about 200 after, and when I competed at worlds weighted in at 170 with my Gi on for the middleweight division with about 3 or 4 months of some good hard training. Honestly when you are gone for a while from an injury when you get back you are a little more fired up and motivated because you want to make up for lost time.

Like I said as long as you take care of yourself, if you gain the weight you can eventually bring it back down and then some!

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OK: Why do you think BJJ is great for weight loss?

CH: There are a lot of reasons in my opinion that I feel BJJ is great for weight loss.

In terms of exercise it’s insane. I don’t have a number of calories you’d burn per hour but I’ll break down what a class is like for me.
Fundamentals is the first class that is about an hour. We start with an intense dynamic  warm-up that is about 10-15 minutes of jogging, high knees, jumping jacks, push-ups, and basic body-weight movements to give us a good sweat and get us warm. We will then spend a good portion of the class drilling moves for specific amounts of time, and spar or do positional rolling.  By the end of it all your gi is left soaked and drenched and wet. Some people will go home after this and have gotten a nice killer brutal workout, and others like me will stay and get ready for the next hour long advanced class.

Some people at this point will be coming in, others will have just taken fundamentals. Advanced is about a hour, sometimes just a wee bit longer and we start our warm-ups very intense. Afterwards we will sometimes do circuits where we are each set up at a station doing a specific drill or exercise for a set time then change station after each set. After these fun  circuits we will then drill, but drill hard. We go for good technique but also try to rep it out and get it in. We will then do positional training, and spar for a few good rounds.  By the end of it all I’m beat.

I’m not sure how many calories that all just burned but I’m sure you are going to want to fuel yourself up with some good healthy eats afterwards because your body will be craving it haha.

In weight loss I also think there is a mental aspect to it.  You have to really discipline yourself and create good habits.  You have to train yourself to make good choices with what you eat and learn how to stay away from things you shouldn’t but treat yourself from time to time. You really have to make this a habit and for some people it’s hard to get accustomed to.

In jiu jitsu you make things habit. You become very disciplined.  When you are drilling you are doing the same move over and over again. You make it habit, and it starts to become natural, very easy. The more you do jiu jitsu you start to realize if you keep at it you get much better.  You start to look at your diet and want to do the same, you start to show up to class every day, and eventually you even start to look at your life and make good choices and develop positive habits. It boils down to repetition and it was said

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

OK: What would you say to people who feel they need to lose weight (or get “in shape”) prior to joining a BJJ class?

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CH: BJJ alone can bring a lot of weight loss itself but if you really want to try and get into shape before you learn BJJ I think some of the best things you could probably do are yoga, and kettlebells.

You could run, swim, really do anything that gets you in shape but to me I feel these things are very helpful for jiu jitsu. Yoga helps you gain a lot of flexibility and can even help loosen and strengthen your hips (which is really helpful for jiu jitsu), and it also teaches you to control your breath which is key. Being able to control your breathe helps you function more efficiently, remain calm, and not tire as fast.

Kettle bells I like because while you can lift weights and get stronger these things kind of hit all the right spots.  You gain cardio, functional strength, and even explosive power. Plus the way the movements are used they are full body and really teach you how to use your body together or more functionally if that makes sense. Lots of swings, cleans, presses, all those motions really transfer well to jiu jitsu. We actually teach something called Combat Kettle Jitsu at WSTC which is amazing because the workouts are really catered to Jiu Jitsu and MMA. We have a lot of people who do the classes and don’t even train jiu jitsu and are having great results in terms of weight loss and fitness. If they ever decide to make the leap they will be in great shape.  Jose Diaz is a great teacher and really helps us focus on proper form and technique which I can’t stress is essential with any sort of exercise. This is the face book if you want to know more about it.

In the end if you really want to train jiu jitsu, just go for it! It’s a lot of fun and will help you lose weight and get in shape. Plus it really brings a lot of discipline and focus to your life which I feel is a great benefit for anyone.

OK: Where do you train currently?  Why do you like training there? Have you ever trained anywhere else?

CH: I currently train at Westside Training Center. I absolutely love it, it’s like my second home. I’ve been training with a lot of these people since I’ve started jiu jitsu and I honestly they are like family to me. We get a great workout, we train really hard, we learn a lot, but most of all we have so much fun. The energy, the environment, it’s just really motivating to be there.  They offer a lot of classes including striking and kettlebells which is great too. I’m one of those people that really enjoys and has fun training so having all this available to me is amazing.

When I began jiu jitsu I trained at Gracie Barra Culver City. It’s a great school and I really learned a lot and made a lot of great friends, some of whom I still train with to this day. It’s where I got my start, and my instructor was a really cool guy.  Plus it’s where I fractured my hand.. I’m never going to forget that hahahaha!

OK: Who are some of your favorite BJJ players?

CH: I have quite a few. To name some Keenan Cornelius, The Mendes Brothers, Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, Renan Vital, Marcus Almeida “Buchecha”, Ken Primola, and Garret “The Deaf Grappler” Scott.

Keenan has such a great attitude and work ethic and he really inspired me when he was interviewed and talked about how he felt “time away from the mats is time you can never get back.” And he really wanted to train as much as possible. Plus when he put Joao Miyao to sleep in Lisbon at the very end of their fight.. man that was intense.

The Mendes Brothers have some of the most positive and uplifting attitudes ever. They work really hard, and I feel are not only some of the best champions around, but very talented instructors. The art of jiu jitsu looks like a beautiful school, and I’ve seen the videos on you tube where they break down the techniques and the way they explain things in detail, it’s very helpful. It would probably just as great to train in person with them.

Cobrinha is also another positive and motivating individual. He’s a great champion, he works very very hard, and he’s got a great and inspiring blog as well. He’s had an intense rivalry with Gui and both of them have put on some of the best fights I’ve seen in jiu jitsu.

Renan Vital is a beast and I’ve actually had the honor of being able to train under him for a few months. I really learned a lot from him and the time I spent training with him was when I was getting ready for worlds and he really took the time to help develop a good game and learn attacks from the guard. He recently won gold at the las vegas open and he even beat Buchecha  at the 2009 ADCC Trials.

Buchecha is just a monster. He fights at the heaviest weight class and just moves so fast and is explosive!  His fight against Galvao at the 2013 Pan Ams was amazing. Plus his nick name means chubby cheeks, and he used to be a fat kid.. something I can relate on haha!

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Ken Primola has such a great attitude and work ethic. He runs an excellent facebook page called ILove BJJ and he has some of the best DVDs and Ebooks out there. I’ve checked out a few and they are very detailed and descriptive. The man is very motivating and inspiring and has been competing recently and traveling to brazil to learn more techniques to pass on to his students. He is filled with a lot of knowledge and constantly trying to share, and that my friend is truly a great teacher. Oh yeah, and he’s the guy that clark gracie was omplataing when the Clarking meme exploded haha!

Garret “The Deaf Grappler” Scott is a really talented and growing player. He recently won Gold in Gi, and Silver in No-Gi at the Texas Open (I think that’s what it was called). He’s also had one MMA fight which he won via rear naked choke, and is training hard for another one. He teaches jiu jitsu and mma, and he also teaches deaf kids jiu jitsu. I really see this guy going far he’s got a great work ethic and came from a wrestling background. He trains hard and gives it his all.

OK: Tell us more about your BJJ competition experiences!

CH: I did Worlds in 2011 and it was probably one of the greatest experiences I ever had.  I really got on top of things in terms of training and my diet. Like I said earlier I was training jiu jitsu 4 times a week, and doing circuits and yoga as well.  I remember showing up and just feeling really excited. My friend drove me there and I remember it was at the cal state long beach pyramid. It was my first time seeing the thing and it was insane! I remember walking up and using the competitors entrance, it felt really cool.

I got down to the competitors area and met up with my friends Michael and John Berriman. Michael was there to compete at the time. We were hanging out, chatting a little, warming up etc. Michael was getting ready for his match and I was just listing to music on my head phones getting amped while staying warm.  He came back and started telling me all about it and I was really getting pumped for my fight. He did another match and finally I got called for my fight. I remember stepping on the scale nervous to weight in and finding out I was slightly underweight (I fought middle weight which was about 183 and I was 170) and it was a huge relief. I stepped on the mat, shook hands with my opponent and we started the match. It’s sort of like an out of body experience to be honest. Your heart is racing, the adrenaline is pumping and you sort of go into autopilot and all the muscle memory kicks in.

I remember grabbing the guys gi and pulling half guard. I ended up getting his back twice from there but never got my hooks in. In the end he won by points. I got up we shook hands again and even though I lost I felt great. It was an amazing feeling and such a great experience. I’m really looking forward to doing it again. Competitions get expensive so honestly that’s the only thing holding me back. Mentally I’m really excited and looking forward to whatever competition I decide to jump into next and I’m going to train hard and get myself ready for it. To anyone considering it I suggest you do it at least once. It’s something everyone should experience and you may end up enjoying it more then you think!

OK: What advice would you have to other BJJ players who may be on a journey such as yours?

CH: Stays focused, stay dedicated, and stay passionate about it. Never lose sight of your goals and remain disciplined. Surround yourself with positive influences and most of all find a great place to train. These are people you are going to see every day and they are going to be some of the most biggest, and positive influences on your jiu jitsu career and game. Show up every chance you get, and drill, drill, drill. The only way you get better at jiu jitsu is to keep doing more jiu jitsu. If you ever loose motivation remind yourself why you are doing this. For me, I do it because it makes me happy, I do it because it gives me a purpose in life, I do it because it’s helped shape me into the person I am today, and I do it because it has helped me through some of the roughest points of my life. I keep reminding myself then, I tell myself where I’ve come from and how far I’ve gotten.  Never compare yourself to anyone else, always look at your progress. It’s all about self-improvement and being better then you once were.

That helps keep the ego out of it, that helps keep you more focused, that helps keep you motivated, and most of all it keeps it fun.

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OK: Where do you plan to go from here? Are you planning to lose more weight or do you have other future goals in BJJ?

CH: I want to compete and train as much as possible. I really love jiu jitsu and have made it a part of my life. I want to become a big name and open my own school. I want to be able to teach and motivate and inspire people.  I want to be able to give back what was given to me.

In terms of losing weight I’m considering of trying to get down to about 165 and sticking there to compete as a lightweight. I feel like it’s a weight I can attain and maintain, and fight well at. I’m really happy with where I’ve gotten so now for me it’s more about performance and getting the most out of my body. Being able to push hard in training and recover quickly. It’s no longer about a number on a scale and more about building myself into a fine tuned machine so I can perform to the best of my ability. Like I said I really want to be a big competitor in the future so I want to take all the steps possible I can now. One day I’ll be on the podium with gold at worlds!!

About the author: Lover of Jesus, Bowties, and BJJ. Founder of Ok! Kimonos.

3 comments… add one
  • AJ

    > Without further adieu

    Should be ‘ado’. Adieu is French for ‘goodbye’.

  • John

    Proud to say I know this guy!

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