Troy "Angle" Wilson - Blue Belt Advice

What motivated you to start training BJJ?

I have always been a sporty person, playing and watching all sorts of sports. I started to watch the UFC as they had incredible skill, so one day I decided I would try a martial art. I booked a free trial here at GSW, from the first lesson I was hooked. Knowing there was so much to learn, being so different to other sports and being continuously challenged was exciting for me.

What motivated you to continue training BJJ, even when it was challenging or frustrating?

Like all sports, if I was having a rough time I would still show up as that is just who I am. So even if I didn't feel like it, I was still getting better at BJJ. Doing this over a period of time shows great results.

Were there any specific training partners who played a significant role in your development as a BJJ practitioner?

Everyone on the mat has been a big influence. I like to think of GSW as a community, full of some amazing people. Having those drilling partners where you can yarn and mess around while learning makes it loads of fun.

I especially like Darren's classes. Here we go into close detail about a single move and drill it until it works. It's cool being asked for feedback and working together to try master particular moves even as a white belt.

How has BJJ impacted your life outside of the gym, and what benefits have you seen from your continued practice?

Well my flat mates aren't too happy when I randomly Imanari roll into them out of nowhere. Other than that, its a good getaway from everyday stuff. I like to use it as a break from study or work and then get back into what I need to feeling refreshed.

How did you balance training BJJ with other commitments in your life, such as work or family?

With this club I feel no pressure to come to class. There have been many times where life comes first and that's okay. My schedule has changed a lot since being here, I have found I can only go to certain classes now and some classes I cant go like I use to. If I could, I would go to every single class. Like I said before, it is a good break when I'm stuck with study or need to do a bit of exercise.

Did you ever go through a period where you felt like you weren't improving or plateaued in your BJJ journey, and if so, how did you push through it?

Definitely. You have some really good weeks and some bad ones but as long as you understand you are still improving then that's okay. Like I said earlier, I just show up regardless. Even just showing up helps to improve over a period of time.

Were there any particular techniques or concepts that you struggled with as a white belt, and how did you overcome those challenges?

I remember when I first started it took me ages to learn the armbar. But being able to ask questions or getting someone to show me a technique again was very helpful. There are still some techniques I struggle with but I try put them into rolling to gain more understanding of them. Using these techniques against different people allows for a deeper understanding of how to use them and what to avoid doing. There are many knowledgeable people around to ask and delve into more detail. Even google can be handy (as long as it isn't a silly new technique).

What role did competition play in your BJJ journey, and how did you approach preparing for and competing in tournaments?

I competed earlier this year, something I never thought I would do but going with a group of mates was a cool experience! After the first match I realised the complete lack of specific training I did for it.

Leading up I didn't do much as this was for fun, but I did train more for takedowns. That ended up well as the first match I won after getting a clean single leg takedown (I still like to brag).

After that match the lack of fitness and training definitely was made apparent. I wasn't too worried that I didn't do well when I puffed out as I expected it. But if I were to do it again and really try, I would do more specific training (fitness especially).

Looking back on your journey, is there anything you wish you had done differently or advice you would give to your younger self starting out in BJJ?

Not really, just have fun, focus on the little details and go slowly.

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