Do you ever wonder what your co-workers do after they leave the office? Here at WRAL, I have a really impressive co-worker who is a senior promotions producer by day and a mixed martial arts fighter by night.
Jay Yovanovich studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which he describes as "a violent form of wrestling," at Pendergrass Academy in Wake Forest.
"It's a grappling art that doesn’t involve striking. You submit (‘tap out’) your opponent with arm-bars, chokes, foot locks, shoulder locks, etc.," he said.
I asked Jay to share his story and any advice he has for people thinking of trying mixed martial arts. You can read his interview below. He also took some great pictures of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in action and sent me this video below. Jay is wearing the light gray shirt.
How did you get into mixed martial arts?
After I graduated from college, I moved to Charleston, S.C. My roommate would drag me to Judo practice. Eventually, I started actually liking getting tossed around and kept going. The only two martial arts I’ve studied are Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Have you ever had to use your training in a real life situation?
Physically, no. However, my training has provided me with an immense amount of confidence in all aspects of life. It’s silly to get nervous about a meeting or a speech when you fight other people full speed as a hobby. That’s the stuff that should really summon nerves.
What’s your proudest martial arts accomplishment?
Probably achieving a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Do you have any martial arts goals that you hope to accomplish?
I would like to compete in the Pan Ams or World Championships in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at some point.
What kind of toll has it taken on your body?
It’s a rough sport. Unlike other martial arts, you can practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu at full speed, every night. I broke my foot about a year ago. About 6 months ago, I cracked a rib. Rib injuries are the absolute worse. Since those two injuries, I’m trying to train smart and protect myself a bit better.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking about doing martial arts?
My advice is to do Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Caution, you can become addicted. The workout is fantastic. We always have guys (and girls) who come in and immediately lose a lot of weight from this sport. It’s aerobic and anaerobic, so there’s really not a better routine out there for getting/staying fit. Plus, it’s a ton of fun. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is sort of like a chess match, so there’s a lot of thinking involved. I may try for an armbar, my opponent starts to stack me, so I switch to a triangle choke, and so forth.
Anything else you’d like to add?
While the sport seems a bit intimidating, I’ve found most people who participate in BJJ are very chill and laid back. I guess it’s just the Brazilian way. Don’t be intimidated by the physical nature of the martial art.