Interview with blue belt David Johnson of San Antonio TX about his path to the Master's worlds.
“You enter the forestat the darkest point,where there is no path.Where there is a way or path,it is someone else's path.You are not on your own path.If you follow someone else's way,you are not going to realizeyour potential.”―Joseph Campbell
Making His Marking: David Johnson One Year Later
David Johnson (a BJJr that trains diligently in San Antonio Texas at Pinnacle MMA) is one blue belt with all the potential in the world and then some. Last year he seemed to have dropped out of the sky, won his division at Pans and then you just knew if he would be competing in a tournament, he would dominate. Master’s Worlds is only a few months out and it’s time to check in with David Johnson to see how has progressed over the last year.
BJJL: How have you grown over the past year?
Johnson: I feel more confident with my technique. I feel like I’m able to play my game, and relax.
BJJL: You went back to Pans this time around and the results were not the same, what was different about your performance this year vs last year?
Johnson: Last year was my second IBJJF tournament and I was like I’m just going to go out there and do my thing. This year I honestly have no one to blame but myself. I went in with a game plan that I was going to play it safe and conserve energy. It was the worst mistake I’ve ever made in a tournament. I ended up losing my first match to someone I’ve beaten 3 times prior by penalties. I will not make the same mistake again.
BJJL: What is your training regimen like?
Johnson: I train 6-7 days a week. I spend a lot of time watching and analyzing matches and watching technique videos.
BJJL: You have a full time job (Active Duty Military, Dad,…Husband) and train just as much as time allows, do you feel you are as prepared as those that do nothing but train as their full time job with nothing but their training to worry about for competitions?
Johnson: I never feel like I train enough. I wish I could do this full time, but I have obligations. I have a family to take care of and spend time with. I can’t be selfish.
BJJL: You were not able to compete in Master’s Worlds last year… Are you ready with all that you put forth day-to-day?
Johnson: It was very unfortunate that I couldn’t compete last year at Master’s Worlds. I had military obligations that prevented me from doing so. This year’s tournament can’t come soon enough. It’s the culminating event for the year and the one that means the most to me. Winning gold in my division isn’t enough. I want double gold!
Fresh off of wins at American Nationals (Double Gold) and the Austin Open (Gold) I have no doubt that David Johnson will walk away with just that. The question any individual should ask themselves when setting goals is whether those goals are realistic? You can set a goal however, be realistic about the objectives you have in mind. David Johnson is one BJJ aficionado that goes out there and puts it all on the line. His fervor sets him a cut above the rest and makes what he is doing vastly different from those in his division and why he succeeds time after time. Michael Jordan is 1 in a million and as far as comparisons go, there are none. When making your own way in a sport, admiration for an athlete that accomplished amazing feats is common. The question for athletes that want to stand out is do you want to be compared to someone or do you want to be the comparison? If you are taking the time to attend BJJ classes 2 to 3 times a day and attend seminars, camps, or pay top dollar for privates from the best of the best your goal is clear. You don’t want to be the next anyone but the FIRST you. If you have the potential and are on your own path, make your imprint. David Johnson is CLEARLY making his.
“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” –Hugh Prather
A Very Special Thanks Goes out to Eleani Johnson for all the love and Support You Provide.
Active duty Army, father and huband David juggles multiple moves and family obligations and wins at Masters Pans.
Sidney Howard said, “One-half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” To be the best at what you do takes an overwhelming amount of sacrifice. In the case of the 2014 IBJJF Blue Belt Masters 1 Middle Weight Pans Champion David Johnson, he has done his fair share of sacrifice and this year’s Pans win solidified how much hard work does pay off. You know you are in the presence of an indomitable spirit when asking what feeling did he have going into Pans and his response is, “Pans was my toughest and largest competition to date, with that being said, I knew I was going to win. I worked really hard and I went in with the mindset that no one is going to beat me, I want this too bad and someone is going to have to kill me to take it away from me.” These words made me smile.
David Johnson is no Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prototype; this 14 year active duty army member is so much more. His win at Pans came as no surprise to those who train with him on a regular basis. Training full time in order to compete is unrealistic for majority of the BJJ competitors. Only a select few reach that top tier and they typically do not get there without putting in work. The average BJJ competitor has a family, a job (not always 9 to 5), and a list of responsibilities that barely allows them to make it in to train 2 to 3 times a week. Johnson, a provider, a husband and a father is proving that it is not an impossible task. BJJ is for all ages, all stages, and for those who want to feel that amazing transformation that ultimately happens as long as you stay the course.
Juggling his military obligations, family life, and his passion can be tricky. Having a support system that pushes and anchors you is a must. Johnson said, “I'm very fortunate that my wife supports me. After Pans I think my wife understood the amount of training it takes to compete and win against the best in the world.” Preparation for a tournament has to be done with absolute precision. Moving from place to place comes with the territory of military members therefore choosing the right place to train is as essential as consistently passing any guard. Johnson currently trains under 3rd Degree Black Belt Bruno Alves at Pinnacle/GFT in San Antonio, Texas. “I firmly believe if you want to be the best you need to train with the best.” states Johnson.
David Johnson has become a part of an elite squad of champions, he did not walk the exact same path yet he has achieved on the same level. What more can a competitor ask for? The life he leads is not for the undisciplined. This new breed of competitor must possess the same tenacity and desire to achieve at the top tier and heaven help the man that gets in his way. I had many questions for David about his training and his Pans win. I finally asked what we can look forward to from him in the future and I already knew the answer…PLENTY.