[social][/social]Due to the fact there were no schools in his area, Barlow started his grappling career training with friends, going to seminars and doing whatever it took to grow in the art. It wasn’t until his experience at a seminar with Erik Paulson that Barlow travelled to Los Angeles to train with Paulson for a month, soaking up tons of knowledge during his stay. While training at Paulson’s he met Paul Kelley who trained in Birmingham under Braulio Estima who had gave him an invitation to train with him in the UK, although it took Tom a year to start training with Braulio due to his teaching schedule at his own independent academy
Once he was finally able to train with Braulio, Tom’s life would changed and after a few sessions with Braulio he decided to switch to Gi based Jiu Jitsu hoping to expanded his love of Jiu Jitsu and submission wrestling.
Although his name is not well recognized here in the states Barlow has already reached many achievements in his five years in the game. Some of his accomplishments include becoming the British Open Gi & No Champion. National Grappling Champion (2007 & 2008),and the Fila World Grappling Games (2007 & 2008).
For Barlow, competing has been one of the best learning experiences that has helped him grow tremendously in the sport. It has taught him to deal with pressure and overcome obstacles standing in the way of achieving success. In addition, it has given him the great opportunity to travel and meet new people. All his accomplishments and accolades would soon be recognized, as he would be given the opportunity of being eligible to compete on his home turf at this year ADCC event.
“I am so excited to be competing in the ADCC, particularly as it is in Nottingham. I have narrowly missed out on qualifying a few times. I still can’t believe I’m in it. When I found out I ran around my gym did some 'yes' cartwheels and then phoned Braulio to check it was actually happening. I began training for it at the start of July, and training is going well, I'm starting to feel stronger, and my technique is getting sharper. If training continues to go well, I will be in great shape and ready to compete with anyone." Barlow said.
Ultimately his future goals in the sport are: To get his black belt, continue competing at the highest level, make his school as successful as possible, and share what he has learned in martial arts with as many people as he can.
When looking back at his martial arts journey Barlow is grateful for what it has done in his life.
“Training in Martial Arts has given me so much. I’ve learned a lot about myself, both mentally and spiritually. I’ve travelled the world and met so many interesting people. I’ve started a business, and helped a whole bunch of people reach their goals.”