By Diadon Acs

It was the fall of 2008 and I finally had made the decision. I decided to spend money to get beat uh… educate myself at an Oregon Jiu jitsu gym. Driving past this little place by the Beaverton Pawnshop at least 30 times with immense curiosity.

For the love of the art

A deep love for Martial arts happened as far back as I could remember. Growing up on movies like Blood Sport, watching animes like the Dragon Ball Series, and playing games like Mortal Kombat, I religiously practiced kata for most of my teen years. Until I realized kata does $&!# for real-life applications. Not to mention martial arts keeps me in shape and is part of my exercise routine.

The epiphany came when I watched my first UFC, like many, and realized what works in movies, shows, and video games do not necessarily work in real life. After deep-diving into the world of mixed martial arts, I decided I would save up the money to enter the gym. Something I hadn’t done since I was 7 years old in a Tae-Kwon-Do dojo that taught the basics of the martial art form.

oregon jiu jitsu 2 friendly black belts

Enter Straight Blast Gym

This particular location was called Straight Blast Gym at that time. I had exhausted sparring and grappling with all my friends… they wanted nothing to do with me anymore. It was time to move onto people that had a solid education.

Out of all of the Oregon Jiu-Jitsu gyms, this was the closest location to me that had credibility with direct ties to Chris Haueter< Rigan Machado< Carlos Gracie Jr. Walking into this tiny place for the first time I did the basic introductory class. The coach taught us the basics of stand up defense and managing distance.

The class was over and I noticed a purple belt and blue belt rolling. The first thing that came to mind was the huge disparity in size. The purple belt was 135lbs soaking wet and the blue belt… pushing 280lbs. I watched in astonishment as the purple belt moved around the bigger gentlemen with grace.

There seemed to be a gentleman’s understanding that pure technique was to be used before brute strength. Though the larger fellow couldn’t help but throw his weight around when things got dangerous.

oregon jiu jitsu saulo ribeiro seminar
Saulo Ribeiro Seminar at Impact Jiu Jitsu 2009

Jits just got real son!

They must have watched me starring at them on an empty mat because big dude said, “Hey, you here to watch or learn?” I stepped onto the mat and walked to the two men. As I got closer to them the larger gentlemen glistened with sweat and a pungent scent of wet dog tickled the olfactory receptors.

The larger fellow introduced himself as Derek and his sparring partner was Keisuke. Derek suggested I have at Keisuke as he took a break. Suddenly, I was about to get my grapple on with a trained professional.

It went as one would expect, he casually waited for me to knee walk to him and make the first move, then applied a kimura grip, and found a way to kimura me in a matter of seconds. In fact, I must have been kimura submitted at least 10 times before the buzzer finally indicated it was time to switch partners.

Tossed by a Boss

Now that I was warmed up a bit, it was time to roll with the kind and very forthright Derek. I’m not sure if he was baptizing me by man sweat or just wanted to be sure I knew why I signed a waiver, but he insisted we start standing. I am not going to lie, it made me nervous…

We slapped hands and he grabbed my collar. He leaned in close and asked me”do you know how to break fall?” I quickly regretted the word yes that exited out of my mouth as he proceeded to Sacrifice throw me. This was my first bit of jiu jitsu flight time. He rolled backward (as I was driving into him rather hard) and did what’s called a Tomoe Nage in Judo.

I may be a little masochistic, but experiencing close combat in its various forms, has brought me closer to absolute clarity in a moment than almost anything else I have ever done. A fight simulation of physical parrel has given me more humility than all my years in middle school. It has certainly helped me in recognizing my fears and using them as a guide moving forward, rather than a blocker of actions.

oregon jiu jitsu Oregon Open Championship
Oregon Open organized by

Oregon Jiu Jitsu landscape

Since my beginning days as a padawan at Straight Blast Gym, a lot has changed in the Oregon Jiu-Jitsu landscape. Straight Blast turned into Impact jiu jitsu. Many ups and downs have occurred as life seems to offer us all those opportunities. The head coaches of Impact jiu jitsu Michael Chapman and Tom Oberhue went there separate ways. Which one of my sparring partners put it best by saying, “it’s like your parents are getting a divorce”… It was certainly an appropriate statement.

Impact Jiu-Jitsu has expanded and to represent Oregon jiu jitsu as far as New Mexico and Hawaii. Keisuke, the purple belt in the story, went on to start his own Oregon jiu jitsu gym called Enso Jiu-Jitsu

There are many gyms in the area now but Impact Jiu Jitsu has been my home. Even when I take time off while focusing on the happenings of life, I always feel welcome when I go back like a family that hasn’t seen each other in a while.

I highly recommend you find a reputable jiu jitsu gym near you and just try it out. It can be uncomfortable at first but it has so much to teach. Just make sure your in an environment that promotes education over ego.

oregon jiu jitsu unlock success
unlock the door of success

The key is consistency

I have been practicing Brazilian jiu jitsu for over 10 years now and there are a few things I have learned along the way. One is that in order to be successful at anything in life, you must stay consistent. The belt ranking system isn’t about status or badassery… though most black belts have some of that. To me, it seems to be more about discipline to whats challenging and the ability to step out of our comfort zone.

It’s for this reason I have taken quite a bit of time off. I have come to realize martial arts will always be there for me and its something that fills my spiritual cup. However, if I keep doing the same thing I will get the same results. Hyper-focusing on my personal development means I am going all-in financial freedom education.

Creating financial freedom has become my first priority, and if jiu jitsu has taught me anything, its that smallest movements can be the difference between success and failure. It has also taught me that failure is a healthy habit, so long as one learns from it and keeps moving forward with a new perspective. This seems to be true in both business and on the mats.

oregon jiu jitsu believe in yourself

Operation educate self

I have been spending a great deal of time educating myself through real-life experience. It seems to me developing mastery of something happens faster the more focus you put on it. I guess one way to look at it is the faster you fail and the more times you fail, the closer you will be to mastery.

This has been the case with almost anything and everything I do in life. The sweet humility, though at times frustrating as hell, has led me to realize I don’t know very much at all. The reason my wife and I have made Loving Health & Wealth is to document our journey.

By doing so we hope to educate others through our successes and failures. As well as have some fun along the way. Writing has never been something I was extremely confident in. It has been an important medium for communication for some thousand years or so… I guess… *shrug*

Every article needs a closing statement…

If you are an Oregon jiu jitsu practitioner who has read this far. I appreciate it immensely. If you are not a jiu jitsu practitioner, I appreciate you just as much.

Martial artist or marketing artist, I think these credos still apply to most things one does in life.

  • Be kind to your partners like the wizards of Hogwarts so you can perfect your magical gifts.
  • The sooner you admit a mistake, the faster you can learn from it.
  • We all have something to give in this life. In fact, it seems to me the more we give to others, the more successful we become. Though we don’t always see immediate returns.

This article is in memory of Derek Russell. Your fighting spirit has affected the lives of many in a positive way. For this I am forever grateful.