My uncle, Patrick Ashley, was the biggest influence for joining Jiu Jitsu. In 2007, at the Thanksgiving dinner table he was talking about a competition that we now regularly attend, the Ocean City Classics. He was talking about a sport that was much like wrestling which involved simple maneuvers to corner your opponent into submission. After being invited out to where he trained, Southside Jiu Jitsu club, I would rush from after school soccer practices to attend the Jiu Jitsu classes. My entire childhood was soccer and within a month I was leaving practice early to train Jiu Jitsu, that’s how intrigued I was. I found it to be the most simulating activity I had ever done and it still holds to this day. I love grappling.
With my family’s love and support, I worked a 30-hour-a-week job, attended all my high school classes and attended every Jiu Jitsu class that I could. As time went on, I began to love my family at the club, meeting many people I still talk and train with today such as Jack Shellenberger, Miles Moffit and Danny Kintzer. Almost a year down the road, my uncle and myself developed a strong favoritism towards a submission wrestling style that involved wearing no Gi, just fight shorts and a rashguard. We would soon move to another facility, Primal Fighting Systems, joining the team with Brad Pole and developing many more relationships that hold true to this day. Here I would meet Steven Baker and Kevin Killian, both active professional fighters at the time, Jason Swanson and many many more. I realized a long time ago that Jiu Jitsu is much more than folding clothes with people in them. It is about family and developing relationships with good people that you care about, who would be more than willing to return the favor. Its about the camaraderie, working through problems together, being able to depend on each other and challenge each other.
After training there for several years, competing as often as physically possible, I would eventually find my way back to Southside Jiu Jitsu Club and farther develop on my relationships and style. Since being back to Southside, I found that I preferred the submission only ruleset where the only way to win is via submission opposed to points and time limits. At this time I would also find a training partner who is a staple to my game, Mike Robertson, who sunk many, many hours into my development. I went on to farther my style in this direction, competing and winning multiple Gym wars, NAGA expert divisions, Ocean City classics and several other regional competitions. My competitive plans for the future are to continue down this path, stepping up the competition level every time I can.
As an instructor, I preferred the detailed, systematic approach to learning. Often using a funneling system to achieve a reliable, competitive position in which I am practiced at the finish. This style of Jiu Jitsu makes finding the finish in the heat of the moment second nature and I believe it to be critical for continued success. That said, I’m always learning and I’m always looking for the next evolution of the art. While I love to teach, I am forever a student!
I am in debt to the people around me, the people who shared their knowledge, the teammates who helped me through a tough loss or prepared me for a triumphant victory. 410 Academy is my dream and it is all thanks to every training partner who has put their time into me.