JiuJitsu Journey: Artie Grubba

Artie Grubba has been training in the grappling arts for many years, across various disciplines.  He holds a Purple belt under Paul Sharp (Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Helio GracieCarlos Gracie Jr > Rigan Machado > Chris Haueter > Paul Sharp > Artie Grubba).

He is an active competitor in JiuJitsu, Judo, and Combat Sambo.

Artie’s philosophy is simple: train frequently and train hard.  While being relatively young in years, he is making the most of his time on the mats and overall philosophy when it comes to the grappling arts and how he deals with the challenges of every day life.

Artie shared his JiuJitsu Journey with us exclusively at WWW. HEAVYWEIGHTBJJ.COM.


Question 1. What is your name, any nickname, your age and weight?

Answer: My name is Artie Grubba, I am 27 years old and weigh 255 lbs.

I am currently a Purple belt under Chris Haueter/Paul Sharp and a Brown belt in judo under Thomas O’Shaughnessy (8th dan).

Question 2. What is your favorite technique?

Answer: Favorite technique would probably be Cloverleaf.

Question 3. Where do you train?

Answer: I train primarily at South Elgin Budokan, but also at Old School Wrestling and Illinois Martial Arts Academy.

Question 4. Why did you start training Jiu-Jitsu?

Answer: I started wrestling in junior high, and competed all through high school and college. I also coached at the college level for 2 years and now coach at a nearby high school. I’ve been on the wrestling mat since 2000 and have been blessed to have the sport take me around the country as a competitor and coach.

I started NoGi grappling & Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in 2008 to stay in shape during the college wrestling off-season because there is no club team for college guys like there is high school. I initially trained with ADCC placer/UFC veteran Joe Gilbert, who was one of my club coaches in high school wrestling.

I started BJJ in 2011 after completing my college wrestling career and seeking a new challenge. I’ve trained with a few teams because I’ve moved quite a bit between a few cities in Illinois and Kentucky.

I started Judo in 2012 because honestly it was cheaper than BJJ and I was broke at the time. I really took a liking to it and given my wrestling background, found it more natural of a transition than BJJ.

Lastly, I just started Sambo this year, and my Sambo training has been limited to seminars and private lessons. My grappling style translates most naturally to Sambo though.

Question 5. Are you an active competitor? If so, what is your last tournament and results? Any sponsorships to mention?

Answer: I am an active competitor. I placed 3rd at the USA Sambo Nationals.

I have to thank my sponsors and companies that have been very helpful to me which include Hypnotik, GEI wrestling, and IM A BEAST apparel for the gear.

Question 6. How often do you train BJJ? Strength Train? Conditioning? Mobility or Flexibility? What does a typical week look like?

Answer: A typical week looks like this:

M: Judo
T: Boxing and Bjj
W: Judo and BJJ
Th: Boxing
F: Judo
S: Wrestling

I don’t typically Strength Train or do any additional conditioning.  Sometimes this changes. I also try to attend seminars as much as possible. I’ve gone to seminars of Eddie Cummings, James Clingerman, Shonie Carter, Josh Passini, Carlos Cummings, Travis Newaza, Carlson Gracie Jr, Miguel Torres, Ben Salas, Cleverson Silva, and Chris Haueter.

Question 7. What BJJ Practitioners do you look up to the most and why?

Answer: I have a few:

Eddie Bravo for his creativity.
Chris Haueter for his dedication and longevity.
‘Megaton’ Dias for still jumping in there with the young guys.
Rousimar Palhares for his brutal leglocks.

Question 8. What are your strengths and weaknesses related to BJJ?

Answer: My strengths are my takedowns, my passing, and leglocks.  Of course, my weakness is being on the bottom, in any position.

Question 9. What do you like most about BJJ? What do you dislike about BJJ?

Answer: I love grappling arts but i dislike the guard pulling strategy used by many and also dislike the rules against reaping and certain leglocks. I also dislike the “cult mentality” some people fall into get.


Question 10. How has Jiu-Jitsu changed your life? What types of lessons have you learned on the mats that you have successfully brought into your personal life and the lives of others? Please elaborate.

Answer: As far as lessons learned, definitely perseverance (from the training, the weight cutting, the tough matches, etc.).

Also resourcefulness. Especially when I started, i was not physically gifted the least bit. A lot of the more strength prerequisite holds didn’t work for me, and I had to rely on a lot of unorthodox moves and scrambles to get the wins.

I’ve also learned to keep calm under normally stressful circumstances. In a recent job i was working with youth that had behavior issues and got stabbed in the face with a pen. I actually ended up calming down my coworkers and the other kids (they were very distraught) even though i was the one bleeding!

When you train to be in violent or physical situations, although simulated, its easier to stay calm.


Question 11. What are your preferred methods of learning and/or teaching? Do you use any materials personally or with your students outside of the academy (e.g., Instructional books, videos, apps, etc.)?

Answer: I like to use books and videos to learn. I would eventually like to produce some videos.

Question 12. What are your thoughts on the Self-Defense and Sport JiuJitsu debate? That is, do you think training exclusively in Sports/competition-based JiuJitsu will carry over as much as a Self-Defense focused curriculum? Please elaborate.

Answer: Chris Haueter said it best – “Train sport, Think street, Practice the art.”

Question 13. How can a general level BJJ practitioner get more out of their BJJ? In other words, how can they incorporate mat lessons into their everyday life and the lives of others?

Answer: The more you put in, the more you get out. Give yourself to the art, and the art will give itself to you.

Question 14. What are your personal and professional goals with regard to BJJ? 

Answer: I would like to win more big tournaments, compete internationally, and earn my black belt and open my own gym some day.

Question 15. What do you want your JiuJitsu legacy to be?

Answer: I’m not sure at this point. I’m still young in it.

Question 16. Any parting words of inspiration or wisdom for BJJ enthusiasts?

Answer: Reap the knee!


In Closing

We look forward to hearing about Artie’s journey competing. Here are some of the takeaways we’ve learned:

Takeaway #1: Evaluate your assets and develop your weaknesses. Artie is young in years but mature in the quality of his journey.  He is constantly evaluating what he is good at, and what he needs to work on in order to be a better competitor and martial artist.

Takeaway #2: Diversify your portfolio. Artie trains in multiple grappling-based arts.  When money was tight, he trained in Judo instead of JiuJitsu.  The point is, he never stopped the quest to learn and become his best. Training multiple disciplines is having an exponential affect on his grappling abilities as well.

Takeaway #3: Have goals but continue to stretch. Artie isn’t sure what his ultimate legacy will be, and frankly not many of us do. But he does know he wants to obtain his black belt and open a school some day in order to give back to JiuJitsu and share the art with others.  Knowing this gives him a greater sense of self and a path on which to continue making and achieving goals.

What have you taken away from Artie’s journey?  

Hopefully his story will inspire you to share your story with us!

Go to the Jiu-Jitsu Journey page, fill out the questionnaire, and we will do the rest! You can be featured in a future article, just like this one!

Share your journey and help spread Jiu-Jitsu worldwide!

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