Jay Valko is a gentleman and a scholar.

Jay Valko provides us some insights on the significance damage prevention, beginning a canopy band, and his beard.

And I feel he talks about Jiu-Jitsu a good bit too.

Have you ever ever used jiu jitsu in a self-defense state of affairs?

Type of, each instantly and not directly. Straight, I’ve used BJJ a pair occasions to interrupt up fights. I’ve by no means been attacked and needed to defend myself, however twice I’ve grabbed somebody who was inflicting hassle in a bar.

The primary time a bunch of pals and I have been out watching a fights at a bar and a few man began getting rowdy. I used to be strolling out of the toilet and I noticed this man push a buddy of mine and begin mouthing off. I occurred to be proper behind him, so I simply grabbed a rear bare choke and waited for the bouncers to escort him out. He froze as quickly as I grabbed him. The bouncers noticed the entire thing and thanked me after tossing him out.

One other time I needed to seize a man and take him exterior when he took a swing at my buddy. As soon as exterior the bouncers made certain he wasn’t allowed again in. Not directly, having the boldness of figuring out I can deal with myself has allowed me to defuse a number of probably risky conditions. I would say the boldness is simply as, if no more vital than the precise bodily capacity in the case of self-defense.

What position does ego play in jiu jitsu?

Ego is each your greatest buddy and your worst enemy in jiu-jitsu. It is all about how you employ it. For many individuals I’ve to say, “go away the ego on the door”, however I additionally assume it is vital to acknowledge that what brings us again day after day of getting our butts kicked is our ego. Ego merely means, “self” and since BJJ is a person sport, it is vital to at all times work in your ego.

There’s nothing fallacious with getting beat and being somewhat down on your self, it is pure. We’re all aggressive individuals or we in all probability would not be on this sport. Nevertheless, in case your ego or pleasure leads you to harm your self or different individuals, then you could have an issue. The struggle ought to be towards your self, not your teammates and even the opposite man you are competing towards.

What separates those that excel from those that don’t?

Quite a lot of issues. An important factor is to recollect to have enjoyable. For some individuals, someplace alongside the road BJJ goes from being a enjoyable avenue for self-improvement to being both a chore or a must-win-or-I am-gonna-quit kind factor. Get pleasure from it. Benefit from the train, benefit from the pals you make and benefit from the artwork. Past that, it additionally depends upon the way you outline “excel”. If you happen to imply in competitors, it boils right down to work ethic, persistence, capacity to take a loss (or a number of), the way you deal with your nerves, and pure bodily capacity.

Nevertheless, you’ll be able to excel in BJJ with out competing. Above all else it takes enjoyment, persistence, consistency and respect for the artwork. So many college students get purple belts and assume they not must drill or study approach. This can be a large mistake. As you progress up the ranks it’s best to nonetheless deal with the artwork such as you’re a newbie and be comfortable to rep issues out. It is also vital to keep in mind that BJJ is a marathon, not a dash. If you wish to excel it’s important to resolve to be in it for the long term, by means of thick and skinny. It is going to be attempting at occasions, however so long as you keep in mind to have enjoyable it will likely be effectively value it.

How did you first get uncovered to jiu jitsu?

By way of Royce Gracie. After I was in highschool I used to be losing my time with conventional martial arts (no offense to conventional martial artists). Then I began renting the fights on video. I made a decision to affix my highschool wrestling staff (Clearwater Excessive in Clearwater, Florida) my senior yr. Fortunately for me I used to be capable of beat one other child for the vacant 171lbs varsity spot. I did fairly effectively for a senior yr walk-on, I positioned in districts however misplaced each my matches at regionals. Despite the fact that a highschool wrestling season is just about three months lengthy, I felt like I knew extra about preventing after one season of wrestling than after years of martial arts.

After I graduated highschool in 1999, there was no BJJ within the space. I used to be in a position to take a look at a catch wrestling class taught by Matt Furey in Tampa, which I’d have really been extra thinking about on the time as a result of I used to be a extra of a Ken Shamrock fan than Royce Gracie (BJJiC: Me too!!), however finally the drive was simply too far. Happily, Eduardo DeLima opened a Gracie Barra college about 45 minutes from my home, in order quickly as I may I began coaching there. I used to be very luck to fulfill Eduardo and be considered one of his first college students in America. It fully modified my life.

Do you get nervous?

I do get somewhat nervous earlier than a contest; I simply attempt to keep in mind that anxiousness and pleasure are very comparable feelings. So, I do my greatest to channel my anxiousness into pleasure, use the adrenaline to my benefit, and simply attempt to have a great time.

What do you say to potential college students?

Truthfully, not a lot. Jiu-jitsu kind of sells itself. I am simply pleasant and simple going, I attempt to present a non-intimidating environment and after I sense a brand new pupil is nervous I simply be certain to speak to them and put them comfortable. I clarify that nobody goes to harm them and that they simply must loosen up. A more recent pupil is extra more likely to harm themselves than to be harm by another person.

If you happen to may return in time, what would you say to your self as a white belt?

Be affected person and compete as a lot as doable. Additionally, benefit from the time you are not coaching. I keep in mind after I was white/blue belt, I felt like I at all times wanted to coach or else somebody would cross me up. If I may return now I would inform myself that most individuals will give up earlier than they’re purple belt and that not getting harm is a very powerful factor to longevity.

Jay says gradual it down, buddy.

How are you aware when to advertise a pupil?

It is a mixture of figuring out the strikes and truly having the ability to use them. Competitors definitely helps, nevertheless it’s not the deciding issue. I’ve a pupil who wrestled his complete life and is only a beast on the mat. I gave him his blue belt after solely a month or two of coaching, he entered the Chicago Open as his first match and took silver in his division and gold within the absolute. He recurrently beats good purple belts on the health club. That being stated, he is been coaching such a brief time period that he does not know some primary strikes and does not know many superior strikes. Despite the fact that I feel he may efficiently compete at purple belt, I can not give him a purple belt till his BJJ vocabulary expands by a big diploma. It needs to be a combination of the approach and the sensible utility.

On the opposite excessive there’s some guys who’re digital encyclopedias of BJJ concept, however have extra problem pulling the strikes off in a reside state of affairs. It’s a must to discover the correct stability between the 2. I additionally alter for different components, similar to age and athletic capacity. I do not anticipate the identical issues out of an individual who’s fifty years previous and has by no means educated earlier than and somebody who’s 25 and has been wrestling their complete life.

Who’s the most effective particular person you could have ever rolled with?

After I was a blue belt I rolled with an old-fashioned Carlson black belt named Cassio Cardoso. He made me really feel fully helpless on the mat. I used to be virtually purple belt and I had a reasonably good guard that many black belts had hassle passing. I keep in mind he went by means of my guard prefer it was butter. It is exhausting to know the way that match would go now that I am a black belt, so I’ve to say that since I have been a black belt the most effective man I’ve rolled with might be Damien Maia. I felt fairly good with him, and it was only a pleasant roll, however as soon as he acquired the dominate place I used to be in large hassle.

Who’s the most effective particular person you could have ever competed towards?

After I was a purple belt I acquired a silver medal two years in a row on the Arnold Traditional/Gracie Worlds. The primary yr I misplaced within the finals to Chris Moriarty 2-Zero. It was a really aggressive match however he was capable of sweep me on the finish. The subsequent yr I acquired my butt kicked within the finals by Matt Jubera, I do not know the ultimate rating nevertheless it was one thing like 15-2. That was the worst I ever acquired beat in competitors. So, these are in all probability the 2 greatest guys I’ve competed towards. I’ve beat some fairly good guys too, after I was a blue belt I beat Ralek Gracie within the 1st American Nationwide Jiu-jitsu Match in 2002. I feel he was solely 17 or one thing on the time. I’ve additionally crushed pro-fighter Brock Larsen twice at NAGA and I gave Eric “Purple” Schafer his solely 2010 grappling loss, however to be honest it was within the gi, which isn’t his robust swimsuit.

When was Jay Valko tapped final and with what transfer?

In competitors the final time I used to be submitted was in Could 2006 within the NAGA superior division finals by a man named Ariel Medina. He acquired me by rear bare choke. I keep in mind going into the match I used to be somewhat over assured as a result of I had crushed him on the Arnold’s both that yr or the yr earlier than. He acquired me fairly fast. I used to be upset so after I noticed him enter absolutely the division I signed up as effectively (there’s that greatest buddy/worst enemy ego factor once more). Happily, I used to be capable of beat him within the rematch. I am unsure the final time I used to be tapped in coaching, nevertheless it occurs pretty usually. I feel it was Allen Causevic who final acquired me, with a triangle choke.

Jay and Allen

What number of occasions every week must you practice?

I practice 5-7 days every week and am on the mat 7 days every week until I am on trip, nevertheless it’s additionally my job. I say minimal for the typical particular person ought to be twice every week, as much as 5 days every week in case your physique can deal with it. Consistency is what’s vital. I feel it is higher to be twice every week, each week, than to be 5 days every week for one week a month.

What sorts of actions do you do exterior of jiu-jitsu?

I raise fairly exhausting twice every week; I additionally practice in judo, wrestling, boxing and mma. Other than coaching, I learn so much. I am an economics fanatic and attempt to research it as a lot as doable. I would rank myself at blue belt in econ, however getting higher. I like econ, politics, philosophy, and debating this stuff. I additionally commerce futures out of the Chicago Board of Commerce. I have been accumulating comedian books most my life. I used to play drums however have not since transferring to Chicago. Occasionally I think about beginning a BJJ 80’s and 90’s cowl band. I really like street journeys, my girlfriend and I’ve pushed cross nation a couple of occasions and up to now that is my favourite type of journey.

Why is your beard so superior?

I would give my beard a 7 out of 10. Plus, my girlfriend forbids me to shave it. If you wish to see a 10 out of 10 be sure you attend our Friday night time no gi class. Our no gi teacher is a brown belt named Mike Cornille and he has essentially the most epic beard of us all.

Thanks a lot to Jay for taking the time to do that interview!