In the interest of full disclosure, I really like Flow Kimonos and have since I saw their website for the first time. A year or so ago Jonathan sent me a test sample of an unbleached hemp gi. I beat the heck out of that thing and it’s still holding up great. Six months after that I got my hands on their ultra-light Pro Series (the lightest gi that I own) and finally a few months ago I was sent the Classic. Before getting into the review itself it’s worth noting that I still have and use all 3 of my Flow Kimonos. In the last few years I’ve had a few dozen gis but these three are going to be in closet for a long time to come. This review is going to be a lot different than my normal reviews, it will be very heavy on pictures. I hope you like it.
Notable Stats: The Classic Series gi is a pre-shrunk 550gsm gold weave gi that is available from Flow Kimonos in three colors (white, blue and black) and in traditional, slim & husky cuts. As a lanky guy their slim cut fits me very well and so far all three of their A3Ls have had the same cut. Flow is one of the few companies that I recommend on a regular basis to those looking for non-traditional sizes.
The gi has all of the standard features regarding quality stitching, reinforcements and well sewn embroidery. Two things that do set it apart are that it’s made in China (the gi is priced very well for one made in China) and that is still using a cloth drawstring. I like that it’s made in China and the drawstring not so much (but it does work). All the pictures were taken in the last few weeks. I wash and dry this gi every time that I wear it. For washing I use a gentle cycle and cold water, for drying I use low heat and dry it completely. If I'd wanted to keep it a little longer I would have skipped the dryer to stop shrinkage.
Wrapping It Up: Jonathon & Flow Kimonos make great gis and have great service for their customers. If you’re a Redditor you’ve probably seen more than one thread from a satisfied customer and you've seen Jon on there as well. As I said before I’ve had 3 of his gis, I’ve kept all of them and still wear them all on a regular basis. That may not sound like a big deal but I've had about 2 dozen gis over the last few years and these are 3 that I'll never part with. The Classic Series gi (154.99 for blue) is a very comfortable, durable option and ideal for someone that is looking for that workhorse gi. Check them out at their Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Athlete, Garcia, Accepts Finding Of No Fault And Loss Of Results
Colorado Springs, Colo. (March 26, 2014)- USADA announced today that Gabrielle Lemos Garcia of São Paulo, Brazil, an athlete in the sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, has tested positive for a prohibited substance, which was determined to have been ingested by her without fault or negligence, and will lose competitive results.
Garcia, 28, tested positive for Clomiphene as the result of an in-competition urine sample she provided on June 2, 2013 at the International Brazillian Jiu- Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Long Beach, Calif. USADA was contracted by IBJJF to conduct testing for the event and collected Garcia’s sample in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency International Standard for Testing.
Clomiphene is a prohibited substance in the category of “Hormone and Metabolic Modulators” under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (the “Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List. Clomiphene is classified as a Specified Substance, and therefore the presence of Clomiphene in an athlete’s sample can result in a reduced sanction.
After a thorough review of the case, USADA was able to conclude, to a comfortable satisfaction, that Garcia had not acted negligently and was not at fault for the positive test. Although Garcia was not found to be at fault or to have acted negligently, in accordance with the Code, a violation of the anti-doping rules in connection with an In-Competition test automatically leads to the disqualification of all results obtained in that competition. While her results from the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships shall be disqualified, Garcia did not receive a period of ineligibility and, in accordance with the Code, remains eligible to compete.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.
Congrats Kimura BJJ. 42 belts handed out at their last belt promotion ceromony. Nice picture from our inbox. Thanks for sending.
On Saturday, March 8th Kimura BJJ held another amazing belt promotion. It was a fantastic day for Kimura BJJ with over 150 people in attendance. 130 students were promoted in total including 42 belts- Blue, Purple, Brown and newly minted Black Belts Bruno Braz and Alex Vicente. While the school continues to grow and thrive, the sense of unity, camaraderie, and family has never been stronger. The unique bond that all Kimura students share was evident throughout the ceremony. We want to thank everyone who made this belt promotion a huge success and all Kimurense throughout the world who have contributed to making Kimura BJJ the best Brazilian Jiu-Jistu school around! After more than 10 years since its founding in the U.S. our school has never been stronger and we look forward to the continued growth and success of our students for many more years to come.
Keelan Berg recently had a stellar performance at the Baddest Blue tournament which found Berg showcasing his great talents against some of the top blue belts in Southern California. He is a blue belt under D.Davis and trains out of Primal Jiu-Jitsu in San Diego. To Keep his competitive spirit going he trains a lot, teaches the kids class and competes every chance he gets.
Care to share with readers about yourself and your BJJ background? Keelan Berg: I started wrestling in high school because I was tired of getting beaten up by my two brothers. My younger brother is a big guy so I needed a head start. At the same time, my older brother started BJJ and he soon was able to take us both. I found D. Davis at Primal Jiu Jitsu and my skills developed quick, at least between my family rivals. I’m not the kind of student that wants to jump around to a bunch of different schools and I have never trained anywhere but Primal. BJJ has developed into a lifestyle for me and I have learned much more about myself.
How has being a participant in BJJ impacted your life? Keelan Berg: It really revs up your mind and imagination. Like the other day I was standing in line for lunch and realized I could choke and armbar everyone in the line if I wanted to. But on the serious side, it really has made me focus more at school- my grades have gone up and I am way more confident taking on the challenges of starting a life for myself. I also have learned to not sweat the small stuff and as long as I work hard and make decisions based on my heart that everything will eventually fall into its proper place. The greatest thing I’ve learned is that it takes time to become an expert at something. So many people today think that everything should come them quick, but BJJ has taught me to slow down and enjoy the experience of learning step-by-step.
Being a participant everyone wants to make the best of their experience. Making the step to competing what were your reasons for wanting to become a competitor? Keelan Berg: I kind of treat every roll like a competition, so I feel it was a natural progression for me. I constantly want to test my skills and always enjoy a tough match. There’s only so much you can learn in the classroom bubble, and I feel it’s important to put your heart on the line. The only downfall of competing is if you have regret that you didn’t put enough on the line, and if you do that, then there really is nothing to lose.
How would you define yourself as a competitor? Keelan Berg: I definitely try to be aggressive and continuously search for an armbar. I don’t like to defend a submission until the very last minute. I like to use offense and constant movement as my defense. I don’t know if it’s the best strategy, but I just love the feeling of getting a submission.
What are some of the benefits you gained through competing? Keelan Berg: Girls, money, and fame. Yeah right, at least not yet. Primarily, I think it’s the best tool to see if my game is progressing or regressing. If I’m not seeing progressively better results in competition then I have to go back through my basics and see where I can improve. One of the most beneficial aspects has been the mental toughness that is gained through competition. It really is scary stepping out there to fight someone I don’t know, but when it’s over I realize that it’s not that big of a deal. I’m starting to learn that this mental toughness can be used in all aspects of my life, not just on the mats.
Now just recently you competed in a grueling tough tournament known as the Dream Jiujitu's Baddest Blue tournament. How the overall experience was and how does a competitor such as yourself deal with the shortcoming of a lost? Keelan Berg: The 40-minute semi-final match showed me that I can overcome adversity one minute at a time, and it was the toughest match I’ve had. I think the emotion of that match really took it out of me, and next time I’ll need to be prepared for the mental stress that a long match can put on you. As for the loss, I am focusing and preparing on arm barring the Baddest Blue winner at a future tournament. It’s tough because I had beaten him a few months ago in a point tournament, but I’m sure we will be seeing each other for many years to come.
Looking onward what do you see for yourself in future in this sport? Keelan Berg: I’m a fairly new blue belt, so right now I’m focusing on winning the major IBJFF tournaments at blue. Also, I teach the kids class and hope that my knowledge gained through competing can be passed on to the little guys and girls. I try not to focus on things too far in the future because it is a little daunting. I just want to make a solid foundation for myself so I don’t develop any bad habits that will hamper me at the higher levels.
Any closing remarks before we close this interview? Keelan Berg: Thank you Monta Wiley and bjjlegends.com for the chance to tell others about Primal Jiu Jitsu and myself. We are a fairly new school and it’s always great to see how BJJ is expanding.
Special thanks: To Professor D. Davis, Coach Craig, and my teammates for all the motivation, instruction and friendship. Also, to my two brothers for constantly trying to prove that they were tougher than me.
Five year old donates his too small gi and receives an new one thanks to the Give a Gift of a Gi Program.
Nicholas father died when he was just 18 months old. Nicholas’ mother Satu Immermann was widowed three years ago when her husband had a heart attack while in the backyard playing with the kids. This left Satu to raise three small children on her own.
Jammin' BJJ is a branch of the non-profit organization The Carly Stowell Foundation (CSF). The CSF provides enhanced education in sports and music to young people who demonstrate passion for learning and a commitment to excel. The Give the Gift of a Gi program is part of the organization that takes donated gis and repurposes them. Most gis are given to children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford one. Some of the badly tattered gis are sewn into gi bags and a few, the worst of the worst, are sold in bulk as raw cotton to help cover the cost of shipping.
Elena Stowell is the founder of the Jammin BJJ Foundation. She was moved to create the foundation after the sudden death of her 15-year-old daughter, the subsequent depression and finding Jiu-Jitsu to help cope with the loss. “Passion”, states Elena. Elena has written book ‘FLOWING WITH THE GO: A Jiu-Jitsu Journey Of The Soul’ about her journey to her blue belt and her path to acceptance of the loss of her daughter.
Nicholas, the 18-month-old, is now 5 and in kindergarten. He has been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for two years through a neighborhood program. The class is taught by Professor Kris Shaw who is black belt under Tinguinha and a mother of four young girls. The class is held at Carlson Gracie OC even though Kris has no affiliation there. Troy Acker, the academy owner and black belt under Franco De Camargo, rents the space at a reduced rate so the class can take place.
In the months before Satu’s husband died, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. When her husband passed, it left the family financially struggling. Despite a long, drawn out foreclosure and eventual short sale, Satu and the children are doing ok.
Nicholas quickly out grew his M0000. It was a hand-me-down and never quite fit him anyway. The Jammin BJJ Foundation heard about his family and his willingness to learn, listen and train and found him a new M00 with lots of growing room. Best part is that he traded in his M0000 and now another deserving (little) kid gets to train.
Nicholas’ new gi was donated by Marcelo Alonso’s team and has a Marcelo Alonso patch on it. It’s an interesting turn of events because Marcelo, Troy, and Franco are all part of the Carlson Gracie Team and classes are held at a Carlson Gracie academy. (Carlson Gracie OC)
If you would like to donate an old gi or organize a kid’s seminar please contact Elena Stowell at the Carly Stowell / Jammin' BJJ Foundation 16915 272nd St SE Suite 100 Box 101 Covington, WA 98042
“At X-Guard Brand Fight Wear, we believe that fashion, quality, and performance go hand-in-hand. Our premium jiu-jitsu kimonos, IBJJF approved rash guards, and fight shorts have been mat tested and are cage approved. We listen to our customers, read reviews, and participate in the sport which helps us continually push our Jiu-Jitsu/MMA fight wear to the next level.”
Design/Features/Construction: Firstly I want to point out that the Recon is a Limited Edition and will not be massed produced. A quick overview of the main design features of the Recon: 425 gsm honeycomb tech jacket (strength of pearl weave with softness of gold weave), 12 oz drill cotton trousers, rope drawstring, contrast stitching, EVA foam lapel and stress point stitching. The jacket and pants are a medium gray in color with mahogany brown contrast stitching; the Recon only comes in gray. The Gi sports high quality stitching with all cuffs and stress points reinforced. With very few patches, and some small embroidered areas the Gi looks clean and fresh, with not a lot of bling to be shown. The few patches/embroidered areas coupled with the great gray color makes this Gi stand out without getting any crazy looks.
The Gi is very light for how durable it feels, and is the softest Gi I own by far. Many of the spider guard players and similar guard players “really appreciate how soft” this Gi is. Which I noticed is great for their grips, not so much for me stripping them. I originally tested the first X-Guard Kimono for BJJ Legends and was impressed (as I am again) on the construction and durability, but the first time round I was not impressed by the cut. At the time I was an A3 and the Gi was long in the skirt and baggy. As X-Guard Brand points out in their company description, they listened and really narrowed down the fit. This Gi fits me great, with a nice slim cut around the shoulders and arms. The skirt stops at an appropriate level and the pants fit very well. Due to its color this Gi is not IBJJF Legal.
Jacket: The Recon jacket has a large inside tag with X-Guard Brand Info and size tagging. The bottom left lapel has a small branding patch along with the bottom left of the front of the Gi. Along the bottom right front a red patch denoted the Series Vi limited Edition. A very small red X-Brand “X” sits right below the nape of the neck. The only embroidery is on each shoulder where the X-Brand “X” sits in the same brown stitching as the rest and is about 3-1/4”x3-1/4”. The sections of embroidery are well done and have no signs of distress; the patch stitching also shows no fraying. The EVA Foam collar is covered in ripstop. The skirt and waist line of the pant cut-outs for mobility are reinforced and have brown material sewn over them for added protection. The Recon looks great, as I stated above it gets attention but nothing like a bright red Gi would. I would say it garners the right type of attention, with compliments ranging from “nice stitching” to “great color”, to “wow that’s soft”.
Pants: The 12 oz drill cotton pants fit great, and feel like I could tow a truck with them. Sporting 8 loops for the drawstring, a very long stretchable drawstring in brown and an inside mouth guard holder the pants tie great and stay tied. The waist is off-set with the back half being slightly higher. Keeping up with the jacket the pants have the same reinforced stitching at all stress points and the contrast stitching at all seams. The pant has a 4-1/2”x3” patch on the front right hip and a very small red patch on the back left right on the waist line. Inside of the back panel below the waist line a 3-1/2”x3-3/4” patch with X-Guard Brand Logos and sizing info. There is additional reinforcement at the knees starting at the thigh and is 16”in length and runs from vertical seam to seam across the front of the leg.
Test Run: Right out of the free Limited Edition Gi Bag (Black with a large X-Guard Brand Logo) this Gi felt light, durable and looked great. I was given this Gi right before class started when I was already changed and stretching. I liked it so much I had to go try it on immediately. After trying it on I was very happy with the cut and fit that I wore it that day (with the Gi being gray I felt comfortable that it wouldn’t bleed like a black or dark blue Gi might). After 10+ washes I have noticed little to no shrinkage in the pants at all. I have noticed though some shrinkage occurring on the jacket. It still fits great and I would consider it still competition legal on my body but I have noticed it getting slimmer as I have trained. Make sure to double check the sizing on their website before purchasing. I only wash in cold and air dry all of my Gi’s. [Editor’s Note: X-Guard has tall, husky and traditional sizing options]
Washed 10+ times. Both Jacket and Pants Hung Dry
Wrap Up: The Recon is a great looking Gi, with a nice fit, great durability and a softness in a Gi that I have never felt before. With the great gray color and mahogany brown contrast stitching couple with few patches this Gi stands out without screaming look at me. Only negative is the shrinkage which may affect anybody that is a little longer limbed than me. X-Guard made a great Gi after listening to their customers; they have great customer service and a wide array of other gear. The Recon comes in at $154 which is a mid-range price for a nice Gi. Make sure to check out their website and Facebook page for any upcoming deals and announcements.
At the Open Alliance took Gold for the men's adult. CheckMat and Brasa Caio Terra took silver and bronze respectively. In the female division again Alliance took gold. This time CheckMat and the Roger Gracie Academy took silver and bronze.
European Open Results
Mens's Adult 1. Alliance 2. CheckMat 3. Brasa Caio Terra
Women's Adult 1. Alliance 2. CheckMat 3. Roger Gracie Academy
BJJ Legends got the opportunity to talk with Ruiz as he touches on his early beginnings and his long journey back to the competition scene.
Competition it certainly has a way of bringing out the best in everyone. For some this activity takes them to the greatest highest of world class grappling status. On the other hand for some individuals the motivation for participating in this pastime decreases only to one day return to what they once adored in challenging themselves in combat on the mat.
A grappling veteran for over ten years Dean Lister Black belt Chris Ruiz is no stranger to laying it all on the line showing what he is made of in competition. The experience has given him a driving purpose leading him to becoming one of the most respected grapplers in the So Cal area. However somewhere along the trail life priorities took over putting his grappling aspirations to a halt. Now back after a 5 year layoff Ruiz is back to his old habits blazing through the competition stronger than ever before.
Care to share with us a little bit about yourself and your BJJ background? Chris Ruiz: I'm originally from Houston, TX and ended up in San Diego in 2002 by way of the Navy. I started training 10 years ago (in 2004) under Dean Lister and Brandon Vera at City Boxing in downtown San Diego. I also trained under Tyrone Glover at City Boxing Pacific Beach for a couple of years. I've followed Dean around since.
I was naturally drawn to Jiu-Jitsu because the only sport I had ever competed in was wrestling, which I didn't' even start till half way thru high school. I also did judo for a few months after I joined the navy. I started with no gi training, which was all that was offered at the time. Since I wrestled, I was more interested in no gi anyway, and it's still what I prefer.
One of my motivations in Jiu-Jitsu (and life) has been my very fortunate situation - both of my parents have polio and can't walk, so I'm grateful to have this opportunity to be a good athlete. Had they been lucky like me, I know my parents would have been great athletes. I have to give them some credit for the nickname "Soapfish," because I'm slippery. I got that name from Morango (Fabricio Camoes) when he was teaching at Victory.
What are your thoughts about the overall purpose of competition and what it has done for you over the years? Chris Ruiz: To win, of course. Just kidding, but that's the icing on the cake. Competition is the most rewarding part of Jiu-Jitsu. It's the ultimate motivator and learning experience. Some of the best learning is during competition because you get to see how your style works against guys from other gyms, where you need to improve, and what the other schools are doing. It is a very effective mechanism for rapid improvement.
What's the point of training without competing? Even rolling in the gym is in a sense competing, except you become "the best you" for competition.
I also really enjoy the networking that I get to do at tournaments and meeting other competitors. The Jiu-Jitsu community is so great and it's awesome to meet new people who I can train with later at their academies.
Why did you start competing and also share with us your early beginning coming up on the competition scene? Chris Ruiz: My first tournament was two weeks after I started training, at an in house tournament. I started at intermediate level since I previously wrestled, plus I liked the added challenge. I knew I'd learn more against tougher opponents, even if I was a little out-matched. I think that tournament and Grapplers Quest just after are what lit my fire initially.
The highs I've experienced were the first few years when Jiu-Jitsu was so new to me and I was getting my ass kicked every day in practice. I had a lot of tough guys to look up to and learn from. Another big high of mine was 2013, when Dean awarded me my black belt. Last summer won Grapplers Quest absolute where I had Dean and Jeff (Glover) coaching me – it doesn't get much better than that for any competitor.
Looking back my lows point would have to be the five or so years before 2013 when I rarely competed and my priority wasn't Jiu-Jitsu. I continued to train consistently but I wasn't focused on competition. For a few years I was concentrating on school or my full time job and put competitions on the back burner.
However, the greatest highs of all are the relationships I've made over the years with the most diverse people I would have never met outside of this sport. Where else would I be training the same discipline with people such as lawyers and doctors to bouncers, Navy SEALs, bartenders, psychiatrists, engineers, etc.? The Jiu-Jitsu community is the best part of the life-style (of the sport).
What made you stop competing? Chris Ruiz: After the first few years of training hard and competing, I sort of just fell into a slump where I would train consistently but I didn't compete. I was going to school for my bachelor's and working at a bar at the same time. Once I finished school and got my full time professional job, I just wanted to chill out a little more and lost the drive to compete.
What made you come back? Chris Ruiz: That's actually kind of funny. I got really busy in 2013 going to grad school in the evenings while still working full time (ouch!). Once I got that busy and could not train as much, I realized how much I really need Jiu-Jitsu and wanted to train more. I realized how much I should have been competing when I wasn't as busy. It's sort of like the saying, "you don't know what you have until it's gone." But instead of being gone, I just didn't have as much time to train. Plus, I developed my own style that I was very confident in and I wanted to see how effective I could be after such a long lapse in competition.
I also got a lot better from training with Akbarh Arreola, who has some serious world class leg locks and an overall tough, impressive style. He brought the best out in me and forced me to step up my game. Look him up if you don't know who he is.
Discuss with us some of your highlights you made since your return to competition Chris Ruiz: One would have to be becoming the Grapplers Quest Vegas (UFC Fan Expo) Absolute Champ. I hadn't competed in over 4 years, so I was just happy to be there. The actual highlight for me though was being the unknown guy working my way up the absolute bracket. It was sort of a sneak attack because no one knew who the hell I was and probably didn't expect me to get to the finals. The other competitors must have been scratching their heads, like "WTF?" For the absolute and my weight bracket I got seven heel hooks for the day.
Another great moment would have to be participating in the Dream no time limit, submission only tournament. There I got to compete with world-class competitors such as Sean Roberts and Garry Tonon. That tournament was totally my style – pretty much anything goes and no politics. Some of the traditional BJJ rules are absurd, so it was nice for Dream to do allow nearly any submission. I got three heel hooks that day.
Are there any nerves or doubt returning back to a new playing field of great competitors to fight against? Chris Ruiz: Definitely nerves, but no doubts. I knew that competing again would be the key to getting my motivation back. My teammates are so supportive that I was confident in my return.
How does it feel overall to be back? Chris Ruiz: It feels great, especially when I know that my Jiu-Jitsu style that I've developed works really well against other top competitors. That's a testament to the quality of my teammates and coaches at Victory.
What do you feel the future holds in competition for Chris Ruiz? Chris Ruiz: My plan is to focus on gi this year and also do whichever competitions I can fit in around my school and work schedule. Competitions will be sporadic over the next year and a half while I finish school, but that's no worry to me because I'll be able to focus much more on Jiu-Jitsu at that time. It's a little painful to have this kind of momentum now and not be able to completely capitalize on it. I don't want to be doing too many things at once, each ineffectively. In the big picture, focusing on school is paramount while I'm there so I can seriously compete afterward and you'll see my best Jiu-Jitsu.
Holding nothing back Dana Moore opens about his story in this exclusive interview with us at BJJ Legends as it looks showcase the true meaning of overcoming adversity.
Everyone has a story assembled from their past, present, and hopeful future experiences. Being in the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu community one will come across various individuals from all walks of life each with their own fabled tale marked with joyous accolades as well as unfavorable trials and tribulations.
24 year old Dana Moore has recently encountered his share of misfortune that has altered his life. A BJJ blue belt under Grant Collins it seemed like yesterday where this ambitious grappling practitioner was living life happily on and off the mat. With life going so smoothly one would figure what bad could go wrong, until a catastrophic construction accident change everything leaving Moore paralyzed and wheel chair bound. Nevertheless with this dire struggle has risen an ambition for progress which Moore looks to accomplish through hard work and perseverance.
Share with the readers a little about yourself and your BJJ background? Dana Moore: My story starts a long time ago actually when I was a kid and my cousin and I rented UFC 1 and watched it for the first time and thought it was the best thing ever. We were both hooked from there on it and my interest for bjj and MMA started. It took me awhile to actually begin a traditional BJJ path. I always wanted to start BJJ but in high school and college I was a full time athlete pretty much and couldn't commit to it. So, after college I wanted to begin my BJJ journey now that I had no commitments and could put everything I had into training and competing. I found Optimus through my friend Brett Weekely's recommendation. Since he knew much more than I did about gyms in the area, he told me to go to Optimus and train under Professor Grant Collins because he's the best and comes from the best Mauricio "Tinguinha" Mariano dos Santos. I remember the first day I went in there, I had just went surfing at salt creek and figured I would stop by Optimus just to check it out. I stopped in and signed up for my first intro lesson to get things going. Once I took that first lesson I was hooked. I would go to every class offered that I could attend for the beginners. Whether it be everyday to twice a day I was there training and just soaking it all in. And when I wasn't there, I was Watching YouTube videos all day at home. So, this went on for about 3 months of nonstop training and learning I the martial art. Then Professor Grant approached me and asked me if I wanted to help out and teach classes and I obviously felt so honored and had to say yes. I never knew how rewarding teaching BJJ could be. It was amazing to see the little kid's progress and when they finally get the moves down. I couldn't help being proud of the little guys and I would get so fired up like they were one of my own. I remember one kid in particular who would try to do a gravity sweep over and over and just couldn't get the hang of until. I swear it took him over a month to get it. Then boom, one day he hits it right and his game went to a whole new level because he was hitting the whole class with that thing and you just can't help but be proud of the hard work and determination he put in to achieve something that might seem minor to other people, but to us BJJ practitioners, it's a big deal.
What would you say has been the biggest benefit you've received from being a participant in BJJ? Dana Moore: The biggest benefit from BJJ I received is all the great people I've met and become friends with. And meeting Professor Grant and all the things that he's done for me and taught me, I can't thank him enough. I've made so many great friends and gone through so many struggles with fellow teammates, you can't help but to become almost brothers when you train with and push yourself to the limit with the same people every day. We are all pushing each other to get better, and whether you have a great day on the mat or terrible day, you still learn something and appreciate having someone to train with and battle it out with.
Martial Art endeavors certainly have a way of imitating the joys and struggles we go through off the mat. Not too long ago a tragedy made its way into your life. Can you talk to us about the incident which led to your current condition? Dana Moore: it was Thursday November 21, 2013. It was a cold rainy day and I didn't know if we were going to drill that day because of the whether and when I got word that we were, I didn't mind it at all because I liked working and I got to work with my cousin, who is like a brother to me, so I never had a problem with work. It was a usual day of drilling, and I went to load the next drill pipe from a truck bed to the loader and in order to get the 300-400 pound pipe from being horizontal truck bed to vertical in the loader, which is on a different truck right next to the other one, you have to use hydraulic lifts. So I put the clamps on and it's starting to go up, in looking back and forth at both ends when all of the sudden everything goes blank for 2 seconds, the pipe falls on me. Next thing I know I'm holding myself up in between the two trucks and I see my cousin running over with a look on his face that I have never seen before, he later on told me that when he saw me there holding myself up that he literally thought I was dying right there in front of him, which would explain the look on his face. I'm sitting there holding myself up and he asks me if I'm ok and I said no I can't feel my legs and tell him to call 911 and turn everything off. I didn't know what was wrong with me but I knew it wasn't good. After he does everything he comes back over and helps lay down and props me up to where he's supporting me neck and keeping me straight. Ambulance comes I go to the hospital do all the tests, MRIs, X-rays, CT scans, and I broke my thoracic 6-7 vertebrae and suffered spinal cord damaged leaving me paralyzed for the chest down. I had surgery then transfer to their rehabilitation clinic after a few days and begin that process. People are usually in rehab for 2 months with my injury, and I was out in a month. And began my new journey outside of the hospital and outpatient rehab.
Looking back at your life before this trial and where you are now how has life changed? Dana Moore: Life has changed in many ways. I have to do many things different now. Yes, something's are significantly more challenging and can be very frustrating at times but when I look back at everything I'm happy to be alive and lucky my injury wasn't much worse. The obvious biggest physical change is that I'm unable to walk. So, getting adapted to the wheelchair and maneuvering it around is different. Mostly it's just the little things that are more apparent now, like getting dressed or being able to fit through doorways. Mentally it's hard to say where I'm at because I don't know what my life will be like in a year. I could get better or I could stay the same as now, but either way I'm going to live life to the fullest and not regret a single thing that's happened. It was a freak accident and you just have to play the hand your dealt. I can't control it so just have to move on. I know God has a plan for me, so I'm trusting in him to show me the way. But, I'm staying positive and couldn't ask for more support from my family, girlfriend, friends, and everyone else out there that I've met or know.
How are you keeping yourself motivated during this tough time? Dana Moore: I'm not going to say it's easy to stay positive, but as of right now I'm so motivated and I'm slowly getting better it's hard not to be. I'm doing intensive physical therapy at VIP NeuroRehabilitation Center in San Diego 5 days a week and couldn't be happier. They have the most state of the art equipment and such a knowledgeable staff. I am recovering and my body is getting some feeling and movement back. It's still early on in the process so it's hard not to stay positive and hopeful I can make a full recovery. I'm not guaranteed that I will make any recovery even past this point but all I can do is keep working hard and praying. Other things thy help me keep positive are the people around me. My mom and girlfriend have been here for me every day and help me out as much as they can. My mom brought me lunch and dinner every day so I didn't have to eat hospital food just to name one thing she's done. She should be the one with an article on her for how much she has done for me. She's the real hero here. My girlfriend stayed with me in the hospital every single night I was there. It's easy to work hard knowing you've got someone like that in your corner. They are always keeping me positive and help keep me up when I do have some harder days. I also just have to trust in God that he has a plan for me and I will recover as much as I'm supposed to. Just have to keep fighting and praying.
Knowing in your heart things are going to get better what are you looking forward to when you recover? Dana Moore: I look forward to each day as I recover and I'm not putting life on Hold while I go through this. I'm living each day to the fullest and still enjoying things. I think once I'm through this process the thing I would look forward to the most is living a purposeful life to the fullest and helping out others going through my situation as much as possible. I know it's not an easy road and if I can make one step in that process any easier I would want to do so. It's difficult to say when my recovery ends as well. Some people are 10 years out of injury and still getting better so recovery with spinal cord injuries is ever changing.
Finally when people look at your story, what do you want them to learn from it and also the man Dana Moore? Dana Moore: I would just want people to know that I am the same person before this injury. And no matter what comes at you in life, you just have to keep fighting. Never give up hope and faith and that nothing is impossible.
Any final thoughts or anyone you would like to thank before we wrap up this interview? Dana Moore: I would just like to thank my entire family, girlfriend, friends, my BJJ family, the countless amounts of people that have helped me along this process, and most importantly God, without him none of this would be possible. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens."