This is my training and competition history. These are generally in reverse chronological order, but several of these overlapped.
History: Ever since grappling with Aikido black belt Robert Hunnings in Raleigh in 1992 and Judo Black Belt Ernie Cates in 1993, I wanted to train in an effective ground fighting system. After seeing Royce Gracie's fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in late 1993 and 1994, I was determined to find the source. During this time, I floundered in Aikido due to it's lack of realistic defense. I was frustrated to find the grappling missing from Jeet Kune Do's promise of "entering, trapping, and grappling." Finally, I shopped around in Austin for a ground grappling school and found Rodney Solis' school in 1995. In April of 2003 I opened my own school, Austin Jiu-Jitsu. Since opening my own school, I have enjoyed training under coaches Eddie Bravo and Travis Tooke.
Founder and Head Instructor. Self-defense instruction for children, women and men using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu concepts. 8 hours per week. Much more detail about this program can be found at austinjiujitsu.com.
During this time, I have had coaching from the following exemplary black belts:
William Vandry, Black Belt under Carlos Machado of Dallas. 6 hours per week.
William's classes are characterized by warm-ups in the form of "rolling" (low-medium intensity grappling). After this, he focuses on 2 or 3 techniques for about an hour. Every class ends with solid mat time, grappling at full speed. Occasionally, we would work on full-speed guard drills instead. His students are very consistently high-quality and experienced. Even his white belts are tough. While Rodney taught me enough to capture my imagination, William taught me enough to really love the art and its infinite potential.
William's instructor is Carlos Machado. I had the pleasure of meeting Carlos before I met William, at a seminar in 11/1997. Carlos is a true master of the art. He is a fantastic teacher and a consummate gentleman. His seminars and competitions have helped foster a strong BJJ community in Texas.
Rodney Solis and Rodrigo Sahium. 4 hours per week.
When I first met Rodney, his was the only game in town. His school was the place to go for some good grappling. Rodney Solis has a solid Shoot Wresting/Greco Roman Wrestling background. Rodney is an excellent coach. He has an excellent memory of techniques. Training consists of heavy abdominal exercise, various grappling and wrestling drills, one-on-one drills, and grappling. This class is great for beginners in grappling. Rodney is a great guy and a friend.
Rodney's instructor in BJJ was Rodrigo Sahium for about a year. Rodrigo is a brown belt. He brought a more pure Brazilian training method with him directly from Brazil. His training was meticulous, intense, and very rewarding. Rodrigo went back to Brazil and now trains with Marinho.
Date Rank Who ranked 12/13/2008 Black belt Travis Tooke 8/10/2008 3rd stripe Brown Travis Tooke 1/7/2007 Brown Travis Tooke 12/21/2002 Purple Vandry, Carlos Machado 7/1/2002 4th stripe Blue Vandry, Royce Gracie (separately) 1/2002 3rd stripe Blue Vandry 6/2001 1 stripe Blue Vandry 1/29/2000 Blue Vandry
Date Who 10/17/2010 Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles 7/10/2010 Paragon JJ head coach Ricardo "Franjinha" Miller - Deep half guard 7/3/2010 Travis Tooke - Mount 11/15/2009 Travis Tooke - Passing the guard 12/13/2008 Travis Tooke - Half guards with Alex
This is where I received my black belt promotion.
1/6/2007 Travis Tooke. This is where I received my brown belt promotion. 12/2006 Travis Tooke. Gracie Barra Black Belt. Gi. 9/10/2006 Igor Gracie, Black Belt under Carlos Gracie, Jr., formerly of Gracie Barra. Seminar hosted by Rudy. 5/6/2006 Travis Tooke. Gracie Barra Black Belt. Gi and no gi. Hosted by Darrin Lillian. 3/19/2006 Travis Tooke. Gracie Barra Black Belt. Gi. Also included a brief Judo seminar. 12/10/2005 Travis Tooke. Gracie Barra Black Belt. No-gi. Hosted by Darrin Lillian. 12/2/2005 The late, great Carlson Gracie. Gi. Hosted by Joao 5/21/2005 Eduardo "Veio" De Lima, No gi. Black belt former head instructor at Gracie Barra Rio De Janeiro. Hosted by Devon. 11/14/2004 Helio Soneca, Black Belt under Carlos Gracie, Jr. Seminar hosted by Joao 9/25/2004 Rolles Gracie, Black Belt under Renzo Gracie. Seminar hosted by Rudy 2/7/2004 Igor Gracie, Black Belt under Carlos Gracie, Jr., formerly of Gracie Barra. Seminar hosted by Rudy. 7/19/2003 Carlos Machado hosted by William 10/5/2002 Carlos Machado. Included a semi-private lesson after the seminar. 8/11/2002 Sidney "Tita" Benaion, 2nd degree Black Belt under Royler Gracie, hosted by Phil 6/24,25/2002 Royce Gracie hosted by Rodney 5/18/2002 Carlos Machado 3/2002 Carlos Machado 2/2002 Relson Gracie at KO Sport Gym, hosted by Phil 12/2001 Carlos Machado hosted by William 2000 Carlos Machado hosted by William 11/1997 Carlos Machado hosted by Rodney
My competition weight is 146 lbs (66 kgs). All competitions are single elimination. Open (Absolute) division has no weight limit. Without exception, I am the lightest person competing in the open divisions of these competitions.
Date Place What Host Where 5/2008 1st Place Brown and Black belt Gi
2008 North American Grappling (NAGA) Champion, Brown and Black belt Division (160 lb and under, Director, Gi). I got my first competition win against a black belt. 18-0 championship win. My competitor had a 12 lb advantage. See the match. Dollamur Dallas 5/2008 2nd Place Advanced - Brown and Black belt no-Gi
2008 North American Grappling (NAGA), Brown and Black belt Division (160 lb and under, Director, No-Gi). This was my first match against a black belt. We stood most of the match, working on takedowns. I finally pulled guard and he immediately went for an ankle lock, which I escaped. As I went to pass his guard after the escape, he converted to a foot lock. I thought this move was illegal so I yelled at the ref (it wasn't illegal -- oops). The ref mistakenly thought I was verbally submitting so he stopped the match. I would have lost by points anyway, since NAGA gives submission attempts 2 points. Dollamur Dallas 10/2005 1st place Advanced Featherweight Grapple mania. I invented a new submission at this fight. I call it reverse kesa katana. Houston 4/2004 4th place Purple belt Featherweight Smack Down in H-Town. I fought on a full stomach, which is stupid, but I thought I would fight at the end of the day not first thing in the morning. It was an 8 minute fight and I got armbarred out of bounds at about 7:45. This is also the first and only time I've ever puked at a competition. :) Houston 5/24/2003 1st place purple belt Featherweight
4th place purple belt Open Class
Texas Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Open. 5 matches. 7 minute rounds. I also fought in the lightweight division, but lost in the first round. Carlos Machado Dallas 4/27/2003 2nd place, purple belt featherweight (Senior)
2nd place, purple belt Open Class (Senior)
Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championship. 5 minute rounds. 2 fights, 5 minute rounds. Featherweight round was vs. Richard Travis of Carlos Gracie Tampa. Absolute round was vs. Chris Chard (Heavyweight) of American Top Team. International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Santa Barbara, CA 2/1/2003 1st place purple belt featherweight
2nd place Open Class
Read reviews of these matches. Full results of this tournament are not available due to a data loss at the Machado Website.
1st Annual BJJ Winter Wars. 4 fights. 8 minute rounds in purple belt division, 7 minute rounds in Absolute division. Brandon McDowell, the first place winner of the open and the super heavyweight class outweighed me by 82 lbs. He beat me on points. Carlos Machado Dallas 10/19/2002 3rd place blue belt featherweight
3rd place blue belt lightweight (no gi)
1st Annual Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Invitational. 5 fights. 6 minute rounds. My only 2 losses were to the guy who took 1st place in both divisions. In both divisions, the guy who took 2nd place got a bye and never fought me. In the no gi, I was clearly a stronger fighter than the 2nd place winner because he lost to the first place winner by a choke (submission) early in the match. I lost to the first place winner Jacob, 4-2 (points), by a sweep. Carlos Machado Dallas 4/2002 3rd place, blue belt open
4th place, blue belt open (no gi).
Austin 1st Annual Grappling Matches. 7 fights. 6 minute rounds. In the open (no weight restriction) division, I was the oldest and lightest competitor. The 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place winners averaged 102 pounds heavier that I was. For example, the 3rd place winner was 260 lbs (I was 146). The guy I beat in the first round weighed 240 lbs. Relson Gracie Association Austin 3/2002 2nd place, blue belt featherweight (Senior)
Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championship. 5 minute rounds. International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Orlando, FL 1/29/2000 1st place, advanced featherweight
Texas Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship. 2 fights. 7 minute rounds. Carlos Machado Dallas 4/24/1999 2nd place, advanced featherweight
2nd Texas Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Challenge. 2 fights. 7 minute rounds. Carlos Machado Dallas 2/28/1998 1st place, beginner Dungal Tournament. 3 fights. 20 minute rounds! Bushi Ban International Houston
Rodney Solis, Head instructor. 3 hours per week.
Bill Petchprom, assistant instructor, Thai Boxing.
I joined Rodneys Muay Thai class because he taught the following Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class as well. The western-style punching is always worth keeping tight. Training consists of shadow boxing, bag work, one-on-one drills, and sparring.
Rodney�s training style is intense; it is high-intensity/low rest. Rodney strikes a nice balance between drill Sergeant and nurturer in that he pushes you hard, but recognizes good work and assists in learning minute technical details. I stopped training in Thai Boxing once I got the fundamentals down. I like knowing the moves, but I really don't like getting my legs and head pummeled in sparring. Rodney was cool about this decision.
Affiliated with Midwest Aikido Federation within US Aikido Federation (USAF). Membership number: 4771.
Organization head: Akira Tohei 6th dan
Chief instructor: Josef Birdsong 4th dan
Other instructors: Sean 2nd dan, Vu Ha (2nd dan)
Since leaving the Aikido dojo in North Carolina, I felt I had unfinished business in Aikido. At the time of my training, this dojo was the best Aikido dojo in Austin with a well balanced student group. Training consists of a traditional Aikido curriculum. 3 hours per week. I quit after finally realizing that the low intensity training of Aikido and unrealistic attacks was not suited for my needs. I left the dojo on good terms with Birdsong sensei.
Rank Promotion (standard USAF exam)
Date Rank Requirements 2/11/95 3rd kyu basics, self defense. Very rigorous.
2/10-12/1995 Tohei Sensei Dallas, TX 10/1994 Tohei Sensei Austin, TX
Academy of Kali/Silat and Jun Fan Arts
Ray Parra, Head Instructor (student of Dan Inosanto)
Jeet Kune do training consists of heavy warm-up exercise on training equipment (heavy bag, speed bag, light bags, training dummy, water bag) or sparring for 30 minutes (3 minute rounds). This is followed with partnered exercise focusing of technique. 50% striking, 50% trapping/grappling. 3 hours per week. Among the best aerobic and practical training I have done, under a completely informal atmosphere. The sparring was a "slug-fest" with full gear (like boxing sparring). In my brief time with him, Ray did not focus on the terminology of formal methods, nor did he individually coach during sparring. He threw newcomers directly into the melee. He is a fantastic fighter. In hindsight, I must have put too much emphasis on the JKD concept of "entering-trapping-grappling." I found no grappling in JKD. Since grappling is what I wanted to learn, I left Ray's school.
Rank Promotions (all Standard AAA tests)
Date Rank Requirements 9/9/93 Phase 1, Kali I Basics, self defense
1Q94 Larry Hartsell (student of Bruce Lee) Trapping, Grappling
The Martial Arts Center (now closed)
328 West Morgan St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
Organization Head: Shihan Fumio Toyoda
Instructors: Bill Bunn 4th dan (now 5th), Robert Hunnings 2nd dan, Mike Baker 2nd dan.
General Aikido training 6 hrs weekly. Practical "street" training 1.75 hrs weekly.
Includes balanced striking, weapons, grappling, and quick immobilization techniques.
Robert Hunnings holds a special place in that he introduced me to grappling and the devastating potential of chokes and locks. He also taught me that in matters of life and death, to never give up. He didn�t teach me through words, he taught me through experience. I'd love to track him down some day and roll with him on the mats again.
Recognized by the Aikido Association of America (AAA), 1016 W Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60657 (312) 525-3141
Date Rank Requirements 4/8/1993 3rd kyu Basics, self-defense, ju waza, bokken kata 5/16/1992 4th kyu Basics, self-defense 10/22/1991 5th kyu (double-tested on same day due to my progress) 10/22/1991 6th kyu basics, self-defense 5/14/1991 7th kyu basics, self defense, jo kata.
8/21-23/1992 Practical Martial Arts Seminar. Includes certified vehicle related defense course 5/15-17/1992 Shihan Fumio Toyoda Aikido 8/16-18/1991 Practical Martial Arts Seminar. Includes certified professional edged weapons (knife defense) course 5/1991 Shihan Fumio Toyoda Aikido
Karate-do of Raleigh
Affiliations: American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF), Japan Karate Association International (JKA), International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF)
President: Hidetaka Nishiyama Sensei 8th dan
Regional Instructor: Tim Mann 3rd dan
Instructor: Alice Delaney 1st dan (student of Nishiyama Sensei).
Delaney Sensei and I founded this AAKF/JKA satellite school in the Southeast region under Tim Mann 3rd dan. Our program was a balance of 33% basics, 33% kata, and 33% mixed kumite. 3 hours per week.
International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF)
Japan Karate Association (JKA)
International and American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF), national Karate governing body of the United States. The School system under this organization is JKA Shotokan. (213) 483-8261
Date Rank Requirements 12/27/1991 Black belt, 1st dan Sho Dan test under Nishiyama Sensei. Diploma registration number: R-USA-1-0167 10/20/1990 1st kyu Evaluation exam for 1st rank in JKA. Standard kyu test under Nishiyama Sensei. Rank registration number: 012186
10/11-13/1991 Nishiyama Sensei Atlanta, GA 8/23-25/1991 Fusaro Sensei, 5th dan Clinton, SC. I failed my first attempt at my black belt at this seminar. 3/8-10/1991 Katsumata Sensei, 5th dan Clinton, SC. Hosted by Sensei Tim Mann. 10/19-21/1990 Nishiyama Sensei. Clinton, SC. Hosted by Sensei Tim Mann.
The program was a highly competitive, boot-camp style dojo. Much of the focus was on toughness through intense basics training and kumite. 5-10 hours per week. The instructor's program lacked a consistent high-level of quality and suffered from a lack of direction, so I quit and began Aikido training, while continuing Karate training with Delaney Sensei, Ray Sensei, and Morris Sensei.
Date Rank Requirements 4/6/1990 Black belt, Sho Dan 12 kata, 16 self defense techniques, 500 kicks to a heavy bag, kumite matches against 9 black belts in 3 minute rounds. 3/4/1989 1st kyu Kata, kumite, self defense. (Evaluation exam)
9/1990 2nd place Black belt kumite. 5th Annual Louisburg Open Karate Champ. I beaten by a boxer. This lead me to reassess my training focus and seek filling the holes of my training. 6/19/1990 3rd place Black belt kata. State Games of North Carolina 4/28/1990 7th place Black belt kata. Battle of Atlanta, a national-level competition 4/21/1990 2nd place Black belt kumite (vs. Johnny Holbrook - a 5th dan instructor), 3rd place black belt kata (Kanku Dai) 11/4/1989 2nd place Black belt kata (Kanku Dai), 2nd place black belt weapons (tonfa). Apex Karate Championships. Note: I competed in the black belt division as a brown belt 9/23/1989 2nd place Brown belt kata (Kanku Dai), 4th place brown belt kumite, 4th place brown belt weapons (tonfa). Alamance Nationals (PKL/AKL A rated) 10/1989 1st place Brown belt kata. Emory Karate Invitational 9/19/1989 2nd place Brown belt kata (Kanku Dai). 4th annual Louisburg Open Karate Championship (Donald Satterwhite) 6/1989 1st place Brown belt kata (Kanku Dai, Empi). Amateur State Finals, State Games of North Carolina III. This ranked me #1 in the state as recognized by North Carolina Amateur Sports. 5/89 1st place Brown belt kata, Kanku Dai. Holbrook's Spring Open Karate Champ. 4/89 1st place Brown belt kumite (vs. Karl Shearin), 1st place brown belt kata (Kanku Dai). Emory Karate Invitational 3/18/1989 1st place State finals qualifying tournament, Cary, NC.
Triangle Martial Arts
Instructor: Jamal al Bakkar (a.k.a. Jamal Morris) 3rd dan
Morris Sensei trained under Minor Sensei
Minor Sensei trained under Nakayama Sensei
4 hours per week. Jamal's dojo was a drastic change from the dojo experience I had started with in college. While stylistically similar to Wa Shin Ryu, it was a less positive atmosphere for me. I never felt welcome. Years later, I got an unpleasant anonymous email that reminded me why I didn't have a positive experience and was a distant echo of my general dissatisfaction there.
On the positive side, I give Jamal a great deal of credit for my love and pursuit of perfect kata. His technique was inspiring.
Recognized by the Japan Karate Association Shotokan Karate-do Association
Date Rank Requirements 4/20/1988 2nd kyu Kata, kumite, self defense. 10/28/1987 3rd kyu Kata, kumite, self defense. (Evaluation exam). Registration number: 3A-198
5/28/1988 2nd place Brown belt kata (Bassai Dai). North Carolina Amateur Sports (qualifying tournament for NC State Games)
Hidy Ochiai's Wa Shin Ryu Karate
De Witt, NY
Instructor: John White 4th Dan
Chief instructor: Hidy Ochiai 8th Dan, Vestal, NY
A very well balanced program which was 25% basics, 25% kata, 25% self defense and weapons, and 25% kumite. This very well run system was my first experience in Martial Arts. The positive experience I had in this school has kept me in search of another karate program that is so well balanced.
White Sensei is a gentleman who runs a first class dojo.
Date Rank Requirements 2/14/1987 4th kyu Heian 5, Go ho nuki 2, naifanshi 3, matzukaze 1 3/22/1986 5th kyu Heian 4, Go ho nuki 1, naifanshi 2 10/1985 6th kyu Heian 3, Wa Shin Ryu ten no kata, naifanshi 1 5/1985 7th kyu Heian 2, Ten no kata 3/1985 8th kyu Taikyoku 1, 2, 3, Heian 1
1Q 1987 Hidy Ochiai General Karate seminar and exhibition