I have a large amount of change going on in my life right now, usually even positive change comes with struggles.

Today I taught my last class at Sunflower Resort, a retirement community that I have been teaching at for three and half years now.  This “job” has been such a blessing in my life and I have met some amazing people.  I taught the weight lifting class, a cardio kickboxing class, and even one year some water aerobics.  I hope the people out at Sunflower have learned as much from me over the years as that I have learned from them and I’m happy to have made so many good friends there.

The reason for this change is because I have been working on starting my own Jiu Jitsu gym, hopefully to open by the end of the year.  I am grateful to have the support and help of Siege MMA in my new adventure.  This has been a dream of mine for some time now to own my own school.

The change that has been most challenging in this new adventure is the change in training and teaching at Siege MMA.  My gym will be an affiliate of Lotus Club Jiu Jitsu making Siege an extended team under the same affiliation.  It is really nice to be able to keep tabs on all my students and Siege and keep apart of a great team. Siege MMA has been such a great place for me, I went from Blue Belt to Black Belt there over my seven years with them.  I can’t help but to reflect on all the great memories and relationships that have been made in side those walls.  There has been so many memories but here are a few.

Our, Andrew, Jesus, and mine, Black Belt promotions from Master Giva Santana.  Achieving my Black Belt was one of the biggest achievements in my life and the night was so memorable as many of my students were promoted as well, including my wife to Purple!  Gabe made this awesome video, sorry for being such a crybaby.

The Grand Canyon trip was amazing!  A group of eight of us decided to conquer the Grand Canyon with a sleep out at the bottom.  The trip was something that is must do if you live in Arizona, and the bonding time was great.  A trip of a lifetime that I must do again. Slide Rock in Sedona with a lot of the team was a blast.  If I remember correctly there was group of 40+ that packed into separate cars and made the trip up for a day of fun with the team.  The Grand Canyon Trip and the Slide Rock Trip are a great example that being part of a gym is so much more than just beating each other up everyday.

Professor Ricardo Zanelato came out four times from Brazil while I was at Siege.  Those of you that have had the pleasure of meeting Ricardo I’m sure you have a smile on your face just thinking about him.  Ricardo is the reason I started at Siege, the first night he smashed me and had me wondering if I deserved my blue belt.  That very belt he made fun of me for “American blue belt, hahaha” as he clowned me about wearing my belt so high.  I hope to go see Ricardo in Brazil someday and see him in his own element.  I’m sure that trip will be something special.

Professors Marcelo “Ramones” Copa and Professor Rodrigo “Sama” Candido both were huge in the growth of my Jiu Jitsu game.  Both large personalities that I learned a ton from and will always have as friends.

The past two years I have had so much fun being apart of the MMA Team and watching the success of some talented young fighters.  I’m excited to see how many champions come out of this gym in the next couple of years.

I will still be apart of Siege just in different ways and will miss seeing everyone on a daily basis.  Stay tuned for more details about my new gym.  Thanks everyone at Sunflower and Siege MMA for being a huge part of my adult life!

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