I am a 25-year-old blue belt who trains out of Cascao Jiu-Jitsu here in Las Vegas, Nevada under Lalo Salazar. I have been training for close to three years now. On average I train three to four days per week. I intend to train as long as I live and I do prefer no gi.
There have been a couple of very difficult moments in my life in which Jiu Jitsu has helped tremendously. I had thought I ruined my life when I took on a job that I hated. I was only thinking about the money. I left that place and went to work for the same company that I had left prior. I took a promotion and transfer at a store that was almost an hour away from home, demanded my presence at least six days a week, and studied as a full-time college student.
On top of this, I was financially supporting my parents and little sister when my father was out of work. I did not sleep back then and eventually it caught up to my health. I walked around with my eye filled with blood.
At that point, I focused on training and letting go of what was keeping me away from the gym. I trained consistently and worked through my anger.
I love training. Its the only thing that makes me feel alive, yet I feel nothing during my time in the dojo. No emotions. I long to feel nothing. It's such a freeing experience. Nothing matters except the fight. I feel nothing. However, I am often smiling during rolls or sparring.
I smile when I get hit. I smile when I get taken down. I smile when I land a significant blow. I smile when I score a takedown or submission. Idk why. Idc either. It's something that makes me feel alive.
Do what you love. Don't worry about the money. Everything will find a way to work out.
What made you want to start training?
It was a really bad breakup with my ex-girlfriend that pushed me to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the first place. I was going through some really bad depression at that time. I needed to rediscover myself, my true self. I asked someone "what I was doing before I met my ex?" They said that I was lifting weights in the gym all the time. So I decided to take it a step further.
I always got invited to try out a karate class that was around the corner from my old job. I found out that they taught Brazilian Jiu Jitsu there at night. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was something I had researched. I decided a long time ago if I were to train in a martial art, Jiu-Jitsu would suit my body type and attributes the best. By training, I focused only on my growth as a person.
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
I have learned so much through this martial art and from my coach. Lalo has helped me in other aspects of my life. Probably more than I realize.
The most important thing that he taught me was how to let go. In my opinion, it is a very important concept in Jiu Jitsu. It is something I struggled to understand, even in my personal life. Focusing so hard on that one thing I wanted would cause me to fail submission attempts. Off of the mats, I failed at seeing all that was around me. I only had tunnel vision. As a result, I would be blindsided by things that I could have easily seen. Going with the flow allows me to act upon opportunities I would not have been able to before.
What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical and mental health?
Jiu-Jitsu has benefited my physical and mental health. My mental health is far better now and constantly improving. I learned to believe in myself. I am the strongest I have ever been in my life. I was strong before I started my journey in Jiu-Jitsu due to a few years of intense weight training. I weighed 140 pounds before any training. I got up to 165 pounds prior to Jiu Jitsu. I am now at 171 pounds. My Cardio is also far better than it was before as well.
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
I'm addicted to challenging things. That is why Jiu Jitsu is so addicting. Training with people stronger and/or more skilled than me excites me. If I had never tried Jiu Jitsu, I would probably still be doubting myself. I would still be living with my parents. I would still be missing the type of training that I truly crave. The individuals that I met through training are amazing. Two, in particular, J.D. and Markos, push me past my limit every time we are together. In addition, I do the same.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything different?
I have no regrets. Hindsight is twenty-twenty. If I could restart my Jiu Jitsu journey I would make it happen sooner. I would be closer to my aspirations by now which is to open my own school.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
I want to encourage and inspire people who doubt themselves any way that I can. I have been there before. I doubted myself and thought so little of myself that I began to hate who I was. Without the people that I have in my life that believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, I doubt I would have found who I truly am. I probably would not be alive today without them.
I want to guide these special humans that doubt themselves to focus on what makes them who they are. I want to be an instructor who competes against world class opponents and comes back to encourage them to do the same.
What would you tell someone that’s currently doubting themselves right now?
If you are doubting yourself right now, If you think that you are not enough, you are most likely wrong. You are more than enough. You are a human. Allow yourself to make mistakes. That is the best way to learn. It sucks to lose. Shooting yourself in the foot sucks. You will heal. So, just go for it.
The amount of respect I have for you is tremendous. Sacrificing your own wellbeing for the betterment of your family is something you should be very proud of and it clearly shows what type of person you are but be sure you always take care of your health while you are at it. Your experience with a bad breakup and rediscovering yourself through martial arts is so relatable and I'm happy to see you've made a change in your mindset to simply do what you love and love what you do. The freedom you feel on the mats is something I know a lot of members of this community can relate with and I hope you continue pursuing your passions and I am sure your ambitious goals will be matched as well. Your story is very inspiring and I can't wait to see where the journey takes you. Welcome to the Submission Shark Community Joshua!