Baytown Instructor Highlight: Julian Vega
What is your martial arts teaching history and where do you currently teach?
I am an instructor at Elite MMA Baytown. I have been teaching with Elite MMA since 2008. When I was a white belt I started assisting in the Kids classes and I haven't stopped since.
What is your current rank in martial arts?
I am a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I received my black belt in January 2014.
What caused you to start practicing martial arts?
I always enjoyed martial arts growing up but I could never really get into it. When I was 19 I was on vacation visiting my brother in Virginia and we went to go watch "Never Back Down" in the theater.
We got back to his apartment and I googled MMA Baytown. I came back home and got started.
Do you have a competitive history in martial arts?
I have been competing since I started Jiu Jitsu. I did a few as a white belt and it's something that I enjoy doing to this day.
What do you see is the main benefit the average individual can receive from martial arts?
I believe confidence is one of the greatest benefits a individual can receive. It can help you conquer your fears. Handle any situation that comes your way and give you a positive mental attitude.
What is your favorite part about practicing martial arts?
My favorite part of practicing martial arts is the stress relief I get from training. It doesn't matter what's going on in my life. I know when I'm teaching and when I'm practicing I leave everything off the mat.
Where do you hope martial arts will take you later in your life?
Martial arts and Elite MMA has done so much for my life there's so much more that I want to achieve. I know that later in life I do want to have my own Elite school.
Greenway Student Highlight— Ryan Farrell
When did you join Elite MMA?
Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?
Mainly to get fit, build core strength, and lose weight …. all while having fun. I have an office job so I sit a lot during the day. I wanted to take more control of my health and get something going before my body started falling apart. I also needed a de-stressor to help cope with the busy-ness and stress of every day life. I find that my body really tightens up if I don’t take the time to work out. I’ve always had an interest in martial arts. I especially developed an appreciation for BJJ when I first watched some original UFC matches. Not just for winning matches but mostly for how they were won. BJJ is so much more than brute force and it has proven to be both very effective and efficient.
In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
I did a little when I was younger (Hapkido and Muay Thai Kickboxing) but I never stuck with it. This is mainly due to getting busy with other things (playing sports like Hockey and basketball) and admittedly due to a lack of discipline.
Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
No it’s not my first time. I’m mainly interested in BJJ; however, I really enjoy mixing it up with the cardio kickboxing. I try to get at least 4 days of training in a week (sometimes 5) if work permits. My life is really busy and packed full every day. I wake up at 4:30am every morning (on weekdays) and I’m typically not back in bed until 10pm at the earliest. I do my best to leave my lunch hours open so that I can train (5 min walk from my office). I’ve got 5 kids, ages 5 months – 12 yrs, so my evenings are completely full with things like homework, extracurricular activities, playing, bathing, reading stories, etc). I also have a dog that will not let me get away without taking her for a walk, run, or bike ride every night before getting ready for bed (like having an extra kid). This leaves me no time to train except over lunch hours. I actually prefer training over lunch hours because it helps break up the day and I find it easier to make better food choices for lunch.
If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?
I knew I was interested in BJJ. I first started looking at Elite, when I was searching for a school, due to my work proximity; however, I’ve been really pleased with the way everything has worked out. I started at the Westheimer location when my work was closer to it but now I train primarily at Greenway because of where I work now. I felt welcome at Elite since the day I joined. The instructors set a high standard of professionalism, respect, and helping everyone succeed. This carries over into the students which is great. I’ve only had a really good experience at Elite and I sincerely appreciate everyone that contributes to the character, temperament, and structure of the school.
Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
I’ve lost 15 lbs. My body is much stronger. My overall fitness has significantly improved. I’ve earned my blue belt. I know I’ve come a long way since the first day I walked in; however, I still feel like I’m only at the beginning of my journey. It is encouraging to see some of the older students in the class because it goes to show this sport is ageless. I would have to say that this is another aspect of Elite that I really like. The age and skill range is very broad.
Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
This has only been a really positive experience. I can’t recommend the school enough. Everyone from top to bottom has been great. I know I’m going to get pushed hard every time I show up. I believe this is something that one will only regret if they don’t do it. So much to gain …. nothing to lose (that you don’t want to anyways).
Kingwood Student Highlight— Ritika Grover
What is your name and age?
Ritika Grover, 37 yrs
When did you join Elite MMA?
I joined Elite in January 2015
Why did you decide to start taking marital arts?
I chanced upon Elite at a time when I was desperately seeking an intense workout that would help me with my weight issues. I tried my hands at almost every workout on the block, starting from yoga, steps, P90X, cycling, etc. but after few weeks lost interest in most of them because of the sheer mundaneness of the routine. So I convinced myself to try out a class at Elite and there has been no looking back. For me, it’s a work-out that throws a challenge at you everyday and one that you love to take on. The other thing that I love about the kick-boxing class vs. other work-outs is that you partner with a friend who keeps you motivated and trains with you through out the class. Bring along a friend or find a new one- its all good at Elite.
In the past what had caused you to not take martial arts?
I always thought it was meant only for the younger crowd and that it required extreme discipline. Further, I perceived martial arts as a class meant only for learning Self-Defense.
Is this your first time taking marital art classes and what classes do you take?
Yes, and I take the kick-boxing class.
If you had any concerns about joining the Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?
I was never worried about getting hurt but what scared me was the commitment towards such a disciplined routine. I didn’t think at 36, I was ready to take on that level of a challenge. However, a great coach (Mr. Jordan Rivas) changed the way I looked at MMA and my expectations of myself, only after a few classes. With an exceptional ability to motivate, he makes sure that one never gives up and helps you reach your true potential. Equally motivating are the people you train with. It’s a work-out in which you are never alone.
Since you have been a part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
I can’t think of anything that I have NOT been able to accomplish though this class, from a physical and emotional standpoint. In fact, I feel so good about being able to finally cross out everything that has been on my check-list for so long. In less than 4 months, I have been able to drop two dress sizes, my body is more fit than ever and I have definitely learnt a thing or two about Self-Defence. Now, I am simply addicted to this class for many reasons – firstly, it’s very therapeutic, secondly, it has taught me to push beyond my limits and last but not the least has left me more energetic that ever.
Anything else you want to share with someone else who is looking to get involved with marital arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
For all the mothers especially, try out the class, you have nothing to lose. Each day is different and each work-out is fun at Elite. Before you know it, it will become a part of your life and within a few months, you will find a new family and a new YOU. Me and my son go to Elite everyday now and we wouldn’t trade this for anything else in this world. TRY IT!
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