Birth place: Kansas
Profession: Martial Arts Instructor
Certified Personal Fitness Trainer
What classes do you teach: BJJ Adults: men’s and women’s, Kids BJJ, No-Gi BJJ, Wrestling (Collegiate, Freestyle, & Greco-Roman), Thai Boxing for MMA, Adult MMA, Teen MMA, Personal Fitness, Conditioning, and Personal Self-Defense
What martial art(s) have you trained in:
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Shooto Wrestling 1993-present
Wrestling (Collegiate, Freestyle, Greco-Roman 1973-present
Muay Thai/Kickboxing 1991-present
Jeet Kune Do/Kali 1991-1995
Tae Kwon Do, American Karate, & Kickboxing 1975-1991
Number of years of training martial arts: I started wrestling when I was 8 and began training in American Karate at age 10. I had an 8 year stint not training any athletics due to a broken vertebrae in my neck and paralysis in my left arm. Otherwise, training in martial arts has been a significant part of my life for over 25 years.
When did you start teaching at Elite MMA? I began teaching submission grappling in Houston in 1993. In 1999, we founded Elite MMA and opened a location at 10640 Westheimer.
What is a memorable moment for you at Elite MMA? There have been so many! Becoming the first Houstonian to obtain the black belt in BJJ, then getting to coach and train others at Elite to the black belt. Having UFC fighters come in to train at Elite. Watching students transform their lives through their training in the Elite Team is the best though!
In your own words why do you enjoy Elite MMA? I enjoy the people. Community at Elite emphasizes being of service to others. Being a part of a group that supports God’s principles. Being in a community that strives to help one another is awesome. While we challenge and grow ourselves inside martial arts training, we do large group fundraising and volunteer projects to aid the community in a variety of modalities: child abuse prevention, youth education, women’s shelters, medical fundraisers, prevention of childhood obesity, blood drives, and much more. The biggest opponent any fighter can take on are challenges like these, fighting in a cage is just training to condition ourselves to take on the larger challenges life will bring to our families, friends, and community.
Do you have any martial arts accomplishments that you are proud of and why? Actually, I have been blessed in this realm and the praise goes to Jesus, I am just the participant. Accolades: 1st Houstonian to achieve the rank of Black Belt in BJJ, 2nd American ever to win a World Title in the Black Belt division of BJJ, won 3 gold and 2 silver medals in the Int’l Masters BJJ Championships in Brazil, 7x Junior National wrestling Champion w/ titles in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, 4th place in the Junior World Greco-Roman wrestling championships, selected to the Olympic 200 project for Freestyle wrestling.
Are there any professional accomplishments that you are proud of and why? Helping to create one of the largest professionally ran MMA gyms in the U.S. has been fun. Helping to launch one of the largest MMA fight promotion companies in Texas has been fun. Working for 10 years with at-risk children and teenagers in a counseling and mental health treatment facility was rewarding and fun.
What hobbies do you enjoy and why? My work is my hobby, I love to work, and I love my hobby.
Any memorable family moments that you would like to share? The births of my children were incredible. (Eric’s 2 children also train BJJ at Elite Mixed Martial Arts.) Sharing inside of God, Family, and Friends each day.
Academic accomplishments: I received a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree with a double major in Economics and Psychology from Oklahoma State University. I actually got published in professional psychology journals as an undergraduate for my research on cognitive processing and on memory constructs.
If you could walk us through a day or week in your life what would it consist of? I like to try to walk with Jesus throughout the day (and yes I am off path more than I would like to be), to spend my hours creating an awesome life with family and friends. I am usually teaching, training, and enjoying the giant family at Elite!
Hai’s view of Eric’s teaching: Eric’s pursuit of perfection makes him one of the most technical BJJ practitioners in the world. He will make sure you understand exactly why you do something and make sure you get it not 70% right, or 95% right. He expects 100% perfection from his students. A class or private with Eric is brain overloads of technique that will make you so proficient that your understanding of the martial art he teaches you for the day will make the light bulbs go off.