1. Thanks for taking the time AJ can you first tell a little bit about your background in Jiu-Jitsu.
I discovered Jiu Jitsu under Eduardo de Lima of Gracie Barra Clearwater (The first GB to arrive in America). Since then, I have been studying relentlessly under the Gracie Barra wing in hopes of one day becoming a Black Belt World Champion and taking my skills into the UFC.
2. You recently received your black belt, what was that experience like?
The day I received my Black Belt marked a very special time in my life. It was an honor and a privilege of receiving my Black Belt from Master Carlos Gracie Jr. and Eduardo de Lima. I was super excited, but not just because I earned my Black Belt, but also because I was now ready to be able to compete in the Black Belt division and that is something I have been looking forward to for a very long time.
3. What has it been like moving from brown belt competition to black belt? Any major differences?
The competition from Brown Belt to Black Belt is very different. The mats are the hottest in this division and room for error is much smaller, but for me it is most exciting because Jiu Jitsu is an infinitely complex game, which one can practice in infinitely numerous and varied ways, but to now experience this on the highest level is pure bliss.
4. You are going to compete at the ADCC championship soon, what has the preparation been like?
The preparation for ADCC 2013 has been incredible and I have had quite a time preparing for it and sharpening my tools but I’m not treating this tournament differently than any of my other tournaments.
5. What are your goals for the rest of this year?
My goals in Jiu Jitsu for the rest of the year are to be the first Black Belt in the NoGI to have won a title in the 5 major IBJJF tournaments for my category and double medal in all. Europeans, American Nationals, Pan, Brazilian Nationals, and Mundial.
Thank you AJ, appreciate you taking the time!