The Aftermath of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu @ Wareing’s Gym: A Conversation with Wareing’s Member and Former Wrestler Evan Martin

The following is a conversation I had with Wareing’s Gym Member Evan Martin following his attendance of our 1st Official Hosting of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Class for beginners this past Friday, April 22nd with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt and 2 Champion Professor Diego Bispo. As both a former wrestler and member who is well immersed in Wareing’s unique culture of fitness and community, I thought it would be a snazzy thing to pick his brain and see how he felt about the class.

Carlos: So what’d you think?

Evan: I definitely enjoyed it. It was a great atmosphere, first of and all around. You got to meet some people from the gym that you see in here every day but haven’t necessarily talked to or gotten to know.

C: So you did? You got to interact with some other members you wouldn’t normally have?

E: Definitely.

C: That’s interesting, when we were beta testing Martin Rooney’s Training For Warriors fitness system at one point, one of the cool things we noticed was just that. How it got people interacting and building relationships with other people as opposed to with a piece of equipment. Even today there is a small group of members who started training together for TFW, but who didn’t really interact before that. I mean, they would see one another on the gym floor, and maybe give one another a, “ Hey. What’s up”, but they didn’t know each other. By name even. Then we started training together and you just naturally form those bonds.

E: Which is awesome, because you get to meet a bunch of people you see in here, especially myself who comes in at such a differing range of times that I see a lot of different people, and now I got to interact with some of them. Got to meet some people outside of the gym as well, which was great.

C: Was it intimidating? The actual Brazilian Jiu Jitsu part, that is.

E: Not intimidating at all. Diego couldn’t have been better. He was just so welcoming and, you know, helping people. He couldn’t have been friendlier. I had a great experience with the guy I was training with, Corey. He was extremely helpful. Just wanted to help you learn and make you better, encouraging you to train and workout with them more often.

C: It’s interesting because it’s been my experience that fighters, in any combat sport, tend to be some of the chillest dudes and dudettes, off the mat anyways….

E: Which you think it would be much more difficult to interact with them…

C: Right!

E: -because of the battle ground and it being a contest, one on one.

C: I think it’s because you get so much out, aggression wise in a constructive and focused manner out on the mat, that then it translates into… you kind of empty yourself of aggression. It definitely makes you appreciate your training sessions more if for no other reason than that.

E: And it’s such a great workout though. I mean physically, it’s so draining. But then mentally it’s so draining too, but it helps you physically and mentally react quicker. In both cases. Thinking of things before they happen, planning on executing moves before their open to you.

C: Having trained BJJ for a couple years a long time ago, I remember how everything seemed to move a lot slower the longer I trained. My mind and body were more relaxed. Now that I have been out for long while and am only getting back into it, I notice that everything is moving a lot faster that it used to before I stopped training.

E: Coming from a wrestling background, there’s definitely more aggression on my side. And then seeing how, you know, qualified guys there who had been training JIu Jitsu for bit of time, I mean you can just see how calm and collected they are throughout the whole process of rolling around.

C: Cool. So you actually saw that in effect?

E: Yeah, definitely. It makes you wanna learn more, do better, and take more time out to actually practice.

C: Funny Because i noticed that about the wrestling guys. The wrestling guys always seem to be the strongest and most explosive of the beginners in BJJ, and I guess you use the term aggressive. I always thought that wrestlers, well, when they decided to go for something, they commit. It’s all or nothing.. a lot of wrestlers are good at not giving you a lot of room to breath or wiggle, they just close in on you. The Jiu Jitsu fighters get there too, but it seems that the BJJ guys tend to do it with more relaxation and seems to throw the wrestlers off a little bit.

E: Yeah. You find that they’re fine being on their backs, and they’re relaxed. You know, grabbing onto the gi and using that for leverage and torque. From a wrestling point of view, all thats foreign but exciting and interesting to study.

C: I know that wrestling is a sport. BJJ is also a sport, but it can be more than…..

E: It can be a philosophy and way of life too, right?

C: Well yeah because of the way in which you begin to perceive conflict, how you react to it, and achieving relaxation while in it, reflecting on whether you helped initiate it or not, and what you can do to avoid or resolve it. As a matter of fact, it actually didn’t start out as a sport at all. Do you think wrestling allows for that as well?

E: I think that it does, you know it depends on the individual’s mindset.. I think that Jiu Jitsu may have more of a philosophy that you would follow, some sort of a credo that they teach. Wrestling is a little bit more diverse…

C: It’s more about what kind of mindset the participant brings to it…

E: Yeah-

C: Not that you can’t have that kind of mindset, but just that it’s not necessary or a pre-requisite.

E: Exactly.

C: So tell me, would you do it again?

E: Definitely. I hope that Wareing’s has more of this in the future, and that I can continue to meet more people from the gym and outside of the gym.

C: That’s great. I mean nothing is set in stone until it happens, but both us and Diego are interested in having Jiu Jitsu play a bigger role here at Wareing’s.

E: That would be awesome.

C: Yeah, I just think that he fits in. He’s a highly motivated dude who is passionate about what he does and wants to help people. He’s a hard worker and he feels he can do that with Jiu Jitsu and we believe he can to. A lot of Jiu Jitsu guys that come here from Brazil, they leave their homes with a black belt- that they’ve earned– and a few dollars in their pockets to come here and teach Jiu Jitsu with the idea that they can earn a living doing that and generate enough money from it to sustain a living and raise enough money to travel to tournaments in which they can test their skills. I won’t speak for every Jiu Jitsu instructor out there, but I know that’s Diego. He’s not out to get rich. He’s out to be the best he can be and make everyone around him better in the process. And that’s what we do here at Wareing’s. We do what we do because we love it and we believe we are doing it for all the right reasons.

E: Definitely. Especially as good and as qualified as he is. It’s a breath of fresh air to experience how friendly and kind he is.

C: Well Evan, thanks for taking the time out to speak to me and for sharing your thoughts.

E: Anytime.

If you’d like to learn more about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, feel free to check out the following links:

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on Wikipedia

International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation

For more information on Professor Diego Bispo, click here.