Spotlight on David Johnson

Spotlight on David Johnson

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.


Deneatra Terry

Mother, Blogger, Soldier -- Poet

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