Name: Marcel Upjohn
When you started: 2012
How did you first get interested in BJJ, and what led you to start training at GSW?
I trained a little Judo and Karate in my early years but never felt comfortable with the time spent on rituals and Kata. Much later on I started MMA for fun and fitness, and found I enjoyed the grappling aspect most.
Was training with a couple of guys from GSW and met Geoff Grant through them. I had been to a few other clubs around the country, but the vibe at GSW was friendly, the skill level was very high, and I appreciate the way that Geoff approaches BJJ and teaching.
Can you share a memorable experience or achievement from your time training BJJ?
Receiving my blue belt from Geoff, and realising that I had been welcomed into GSW was, and still is a pretty big deal for me. A belt from Geoff is hard earned and deserved, which makes me appreciate those that earn them even more.
How has BJJ impacted your life outside of the gym?
Philosophy on the benefits of BJJ aside, of which I am sure there are many blogs online you could read, the biggest impact is people and connections. I have met and become friends with so many amazing people, and I think the physical closeness of training, and the ability to work together towards training goals enhances those bonds in a way that I never had with any of my other sports or hobbies.
What advice would you give to someone new to BJJ or to your school?
There is a place for everyone in BJJ. Those that want to compete at the highest level, those that want to improve fitness and learn new skills along the way, those that want to feel more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Except for munters, nobody likes a munter.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to improve their BJJ?
Talk to Geoff, his advice is far better than mine.
How do you balance your training and your daily life?
I set aside the times and try my best to get to every class that I commit to. The balance comes from not over-committing to anything, and not eating a large meal before training.
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