Submission Shark BJJ Article Interview:
It's amazing how much jiu-jitsu can change someone's life. It's common to hear about how a practitioner's attitude completely changing for the better thanks to this art. Josh Melendez is someone that used to get into trouble a lot but thanks to his father's advice to try BJJ, he has become a better version of himself. Life can sometimes present you with difficult moments such as losing loved ones. Learn more about how Jiu-Jitsu helped Josh get through that experience and how he now wants to help inspire others to give this sport/art a try!
Full Name: Josh Melendez
Belt Colour: Purple belt
Professor: Carlos Melo
Short Term Goals: Getting back to competing. I have been out of competition for almost a year due to injuries and my body finally feels healthy enough to get back into it.
How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?
I have been doing Jiu-jitsu for about four years now.
Where do you train out of?
Do you prefer BJJ in the gi or no-gi?
I don't prefer one over the other. I love training in the kimono. It's really a beautiful thing to use your martial arts uniform as a tool to control and submit an opponent. Recently I have been training a lot of KimonoLess (No Gi). I love the fast-paced, high-intensity rolls. The danger of leg locks, getting caught, or catching someone in a submission gets me excited.
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
They helped in every aspect. Everything I have in my life today I owe to my academy and my Professors Carlos, Magoo, Morgan, Cantu, Val, Kiko and Jose. My professors, who I consider my family, helped me to become a more confident individual; they provided a platform for me to do what I love most and that is to share my knowledge of jiu-jitsu with others.
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that apply to everyday life?
I learned that you have to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, like when your professor is smashing you and you have to recover guard... No matter what life throws at you nothing is forever, just keep pushing forward and making progress.
How often do you train?
About 5 times a week and twice on Sundays.
What made you want to start training?
It was actually my dad. A few years ago, I was hanging out with a rough crowd and he thought it would help me out to train. So eventually I tried it and was literally dragged around the mats by my Professor Magoo. After that day I was hooked.
Do you plan on training your whole life?
Absolutely. I hope I'm the 80-year-old guy still competing and training one day.
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
The people, the community that is created inside an academy. People from all walks of life brought together. You can find jiu-jitsu anywhere in the world but the people are what keeps me coming back.
What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?
Jiu-jitsu keeps me in great shape and therefore I skip the traditional gym. Instead, I train hard and honestly, I've never felt better.
Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?
Yes, I am definitely now a more positive person. I feel like my mind was clouded by a lot of negativity in my life before jiu-jitsu. Now, it feels really rewarding to have a clear mind.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything different?
No, I've enjoyed the ride. I think my journey led me to be the man I am today and I wouldn't change that for anything.
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
Go for it, see if it's for you. I always encourage people to do it because 9 times out of ten, it will only benefit you.
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
My end goal is to become an adult black belt World Champion. I also recently started a Kimonoless (no gi) class with a good friend of mine called The KimonoLess Kartel. Our goal is to help promote healthy, positive lifestyles within our own community through jiu-jitsu, and to grow the movement on a global scale to further outreach to larger communities.
What’s your favourite move?
Arm Bar is my favourite.
If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?
I don't know to be honest because Jiu-jitsu is my life. So to imagine a life without it...
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
Yes. I think that will create more money and opportunity for people in jiu-jitsu.
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
Every day we all push each other to be better and push forward towards our goals.
When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
The movement, I couldn't move my hips to save my life.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
The quality of life that jiu-jitsu has given me makes me want to give back and help others achieve the same thing.
Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it?
Do you think it's a good idea to start kids into jiu-jitsu while they are still young?
Absolutely. I would love to be able to teach my kids and train with them one day. I think it's a great thing for young kids to be a part of it.
What advice would you give to parents with kids that are constantly getting into trouble?
What's it about jiu-jitsu that was powerful enough to steer you on the right path?
First and foremost, I think getting your ego checked on the mat is a good start. I got absolutely wrecked the first few classes, and it's very humbling. Secondly, it created a thirst for knowledge inside of me that to this day keeps me coming back for more.
How was your experience of travelling to Brazil?
What made you want to go there?
You described jiu-jitsu as "art" what's it about BJJ that makes it an art form?
If you could roll with any practitioner, dead or alive, who would it be? and Why?
What were your philosophies that lead you to get into trouble a lot when you were younger and what's your new outlook on life since you started training jiu-jitsu?
When the journey is over, how would you like to be remembered?