Darren Brown

Name: Darren Brown
Age: 44
When you started: Around late 1999 / 2000, so 23-24 years ago

How did you first get interested in BJJ? And what led you to start training at GSW.

I'd done Japanese Jiu Jitsu in Palmy but the club was fading out. I was mid ranks. Then this white belt showed up and beat me up and I asked what the hell it was and he said Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Then me and one other guy would come to Wellington to learn off some guy called Geoff every couple of months. Each session was gold and after each session we finally thought we'd learnt it all.

Can you share a memorable experience or achievement from your time training at the school?

So many! The people who have come and gone, and are coming back. The BJJ celebrities you get to train with. The low quality jokes. My belt promotions, especially being given Geoff's Black Belt. Teaching classes and people telling you about them trying a move you taught them and it working.

How has BJJ impacted your life outside the gym?

In the last 20+ years, I've been through some shit. BJJ has been one of the few constants. It's one of the few things I do, where no matter what is going on, when you're in a roll, you're fully present. So it's got me through a lot. It's the combination of releasing the physical and mental pressure cooker, giving it your best, without killing the person, then laughing and about with that person, who becomes a friend.

What advice would you give to someone new to BJJ or to our school?

Accept you're gonna get beaten because this shit works. Don't be disgruntled that people who have put in the years are better, otherwise we'd all do one lesson. The quickest way to improve is to relax. It's counter-intuitive. Strength, spazzing and munting will result in injuries, and they'll probably be yours.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to improve their BJJ?

It takes time. Challenge your ego whenever you find it's preventing you. Don't opinion shop for hundreds of techniques. Stick with a recurring thing in your game that often doesn't work. Find someone who does it well and ask them to show you the first, second, and third response. Drill it. Pressure test it in rolling. Someone figures the counter. Rinse and repeat.

Also, for me, rolling is like a conversation and the back and forth is the cool part. The better you get, the more ways you can converse. If you're a dick, no one will talk to you. So let go of your ego.

How do you balance your training and your daily life.

I'm a hobbyist. I'd like to do more but in reality, just 2 times a week suits me right now.

 Darren Brown and Geoff Grant
Darren Brown GSW BJJ Black Belt

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