It is said that nothing great in this world is accomplished without passion. If you look back at great athletes over the years their love and passion for what they did allowed them to become remarkably great at their work. For 43 year-old Jay Zeballos, his passion for martial arts has not only lead him to many great achievements as a competitor but has also opened up the door to more financial opportunities and touch many people’s lives along the way.
[social][/social][einset][/einset]Born in 1967 in Inglewood, CA, back when Lyndon Johnson was president and the Summer of Love movement was in full effect, Jay had a good upbringing growing up as a kid showcasing great signs of maturity and stillness. His younger brother Mike Zeballos is a witness to the maturity level Jay displayed as a child.
“For as long as I can remember, Jay seemed to have this remarkable sense of maturity and patience,” he said. “One day as children, I drove his brand-new remote control car into a swimming pool. Rather than beat me up, he sighed and uttered a reposed “oh well”, he said
These characters traits made his transition into martial arts very easy at the age of 7 taking up disciplines such as Kenpo and Taekwondo. This was the beginning of Jay’s 36 year journey in the world of martial arts. As time progressed, with a steadfast mind and a hunger to grow after receiving his black belts in Taekwondo and Kenpo in addition to marrying his wife of 17 years Yvonne Mora Jay later pursued an interest in Brazilian jiu-jitsu which was getting very popular in the United States thanks to the huge contribution of the Gracie Family. Since walking into the doors of Jean Jacques Machado’s academy in 1996, Jay instantly feel in love with Brazilian jiu-jitsu and became extremely dedicated to learning it.
Jay said Brazilian jiu-jitsu gives his life the balance it needs to stay healthy, physically and mentally. “Nothing comes close to giving me the sense of wellness that martial arts does, “he said. His hard work on the mats soon lead him to placing in tournaments such as the No-Gi World Championship, Pan American Games, and many other high prestige events.
His Brother in law, Brandon Mora is a witness as to how committed Jay is to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “He definitely has put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and it’s evident with his success in the sport,” he said. “He’s competed and placed in numerous competitions and to me that shows that his hard work and efforts are paying off which is usually the case whenever he puts his mind to something both on and off the mat” ,Brandon said.
In addition to him rising in the ranks as a competitor his participation in the sport eventually led to being offered some financial opportunities. Through his close relationship with his instructor Jean Jacques Machado he began another venture in his career assisting his teacher with producing and publishing many products such as online Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructional, DVD’s, books, and many other best selling projects. His instructor, Jean Jacques Machado has known Jay for more than 10 years and has seen his evolution from the start.
“As a student Jay continues to improve everyday and he still remains the same nice guy I meet back in 1996, “he said. Jean Jacques said as a business partner they have developed an online training program, which Jay is able to take his crazy ideas and make them look even better. “All of his knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu is applied in creating something that has made a huge impact in the martial arts community,” he said.
After 11 years of dedication Jay Zeballos eventually received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2007. Where most people who get promoted to black would think their journey is complete, Jay began a new journey as the assistant instructor at Jean Jacques’s academy in Tarzana, CA and Chief Instructor at Kings Combats Sport in Chatsworth, CA.
There, Jay found himself teaching and giving back to others just like others did for him. One of his students Jose Vera said seeing his instructor’s drive, passion, and love for Jiu-Jitsu makes him want to train harder, and become better on and off the mats.” In the time that I have known Jay from training at the Jean Jacques Machado Academy, he has been nothing but supportive and inspirational,” he said.
With all of his accomplishments, lives he has touched, and job opportunities that this sport has given him, it’s hard to imagine that things could get any better Jay, however in the summer of 2010 he would receive the biggest honor of all. All of his endeavors eventually caught the attention of Lou Salseda, a representative of the Masters Hall of Fame Organization which honors highly decorated martial artist that have made a strong impact in the communit.
Lou Salseda said when selecting through potential inductees he looks at different areas such as their character, length of time devoted to martial arts, contribution to the martial arts community, and their accomplishments. “In reviewing Jay’s martial arts background I found he was exceptionable in all these areas and far exceeded the norm of an average martial arts practitioner. He is the example of what we want martial artists to be both on the mat and off”, he said. After careful review by the Masters Hall of Fame Organization committee, on Jun. 19, 2010, Jay Zeballos was inducted into Masters Hall of Fame alongside other accomplished martial artists.
Still continuing to train, teach, and compete after his induction in the Hall of Fame, there is no end of road in Jay’s martial arts career. “I feel I have many more miles to go on this journey and I am excited as to where it is going to take me,” he said.