Julian Gabbard is a Brown Belt under Mike Moses of Evolve Academy.
(Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rickson Gracie > Pedro Sauer > Mike Moses).
He has been training for 10 years. He actively balances work, studying for law school, being a husband, a father to four kids, training up to 6 days a week and competing when he can.
To say he has his hands full is an understatement.
Find out how be balances it all and makes the most of his time on the mats. Julian shared his JiuJitsu Journey with us here and we are pleased to share it with you here at WWW.HEAVYWEIGHTBJJ.COM.
Question 1. What is your name, age, competing weight, number of years training?
Answer: Julian Gabbard. I have several nicknames, the most used one is Toeholio (because of my love of Toeholds), I’ve also be called The Law, Double Barrel, the Ghost and Casper (I am extremely pale).
Question 2: What is your all time favorite technique?
Answer: If I had to choose, I’d say my most common/favorite submission is the heel hook.
Question 3: What Academy(ies) you train with? What team or sponsorship do you represent?
Answer: I am coming up on 10 years training. I am currently a Brown Belt under Master Mike Moses at Evolve Academy. I also work with the Fort MMA in Frederick, MD where I teach on Saturday mornings.
I’ve competed at every belt level mostly at local competitions. I’ve placed 1st in several of those but those placements are irrelevant, what I treasure from those competitions are not the medals or belts, but the growth that is fostered from pushing myself. This is why I compete, its nothing but a tool for personal growth.
Question 2. Why did you start training JiuJitsu?
Answer: I was bored with the typical gym workout. I was a power lifter. My mind was changed after I rolled for the 1st time and was choked out by a 16 year old who weighed around 150 (I was 195 and could bench around 300lbs).
I decided to cancel my gym membership and devote as much time as I could to training martial arts.
Question 3. What can you recall from your first experiences with JiuJitsu?
Answer: I hated BJJ. I was extremely claustrophobic. I would have panic attacks when mounted.
I signed a contract so I told myself I would get my monies worth show up and at least try and learn something even though I disliked it.
Question 4. Are you an active competitor? If so, what is your last tournament and results?
Answer: I wouldn’t classify myself as an active competitor. I try to compete as much as I can while balancing other priorities (family, school, and work).
My last tournament was October 2016 at NewBreed Richmond. I placed 1st in the Nogi Masters Advanced and 2nd in Brown Belt Gi.
Question 5. How often do you train BJJ? Strength Train? Conditioning? Mobility or Flexibility? What does a typical week look like?
Answer: I train at NoGi 530am 4-5 days a week. I teach a Gi class on Saturday at The Fort MMA in Frederick.
About a month ago I started yoga. I do this 7 days a week and light weight training twice a week.
Question 6. What BJJ Practitioners do you look up to the most and why?
Answer: I wouldn’t say I look up to any. I find value in every instructor I have had and every training partner or student I train with. Every session I learn, even if its a beginner. I learn from and value everyone.
Question 7. What are your strengths and weaknesses related to JiuJitsu?
Answer: My strengths are leg locks and submitting from non-dominant positions. My weakness is definitively wrestling.
Question 8. What do you like most about JiuJitsu? What do you dislike about JiuJitsu?
Answer: What I enjoy most about BJJ is the personal growth that comes as a result from training.
Something I dislike, is sometimes people get too focused on who tapped who or focusing on the belt.
I feel the focus should be on your growth and helping others. Focusing on belts and the ego of who tapped who sometimes get in the way of improving.
CAPSTONE QUESTION 9. How has JiuJitsu 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: Master Mike Moses really set a great foundation for me.
In my early days as a white belt I had a fixed mindset when it came to skill set. If someone was good, it was because they were naturals and born that way. I felt like I was terrible not because I wasn’t trying but because my skill set was fixed and couldn’t be changed much. This mindset was like a disease infecting many areas of my life.
Evolve Academy and Mike Moses blew that mindset out of the water. Every day I came in and saw everyone working hard, taking control of the own development, the path has been paved, all that’s need is for the individual decide.
Question 10. Name a setback you’ve experienced during your path of JiuJitsu and how you overcame it.
Answer: LAW SCHOOL. I work full time and go to law school at night. I am also a husband and father of four. I told myself a lie. I told myself I was too busy to train more than once a week.
In my first three years of law school I only taught on Saturdays. That was my only mat time. I told myself I was too busy to stay in shape as well.
Then I thought about my journey and the life lessons learned from Master Mike. My development is under my control, its my responsibility. I cleaned up my diet started working out when I got home from school. I started showing up at 530 am to train at Evolve 5 days a week. I went from 190 and then competed at 156 last June. I’ve become much stronger mentally and learned to balance priorities. I am thankful for this setback.
Question 11. What are the ways you currently do or you plan to give back the lessons JiuJitsu has taught you? Are you involved in any Jiu-Jitsu related projects (e.g., podcasts, community education and training, web-sites, etc.)?
Answer: I give free private lessons every Saturday before the schedule JiuJitsu class. My goal is to really help grow the program and get more people hooked on JiuJitsu.
Question 12. How can a general level JiuJitsu practitioner get more out of their JiuJitsu? In other words, how can they incorporate mat lessons into their everyday life and the lives of others?
Answer: There is a proverb “How you do anything, is how you do everything” if you slack, or are indecisive, or lack confidence on the mat it will bleed into all aspects of your life. Fixing those problems on the mat will affect corresponding problems in your relationships, career, etc.
Question 13. What are your personal and professional goals with regard to JiuJitsu?
Answer: Growth every time I train.
I have several short term goals. I give myself specific tasks for each training session. For instance, I was challenged to hit 20 toeholds in 7 training session. Then it was 10 Kimuras in 5 training session. Right now I am trying to hit 20 arm drags.
Question 14. What do you want your JiuJitsu legacy to be?
Answer: Someone who made a difference in students lives, not just someone who helped them on the mat.
Question 15. Any parting words of inspiration or wisdom for BJJ enthusiasts?
Answer: Don’t complain or make excuses, focus on growth and be grateful for adversity.
Thanks to Julian Gabbard for sharing his JiuJitsu Journey with us. We will enjoy watching him continue to evolve and be active in the JiuJitsu community.
Here are 3 takeaways from his journey:
Takeaway #1: Time is what you make of it. Everybody has the same number of hours in a day. When Julian struggled to find time to train (or let himself believe he did) he doubled down on his effort to make the time and continue juggling everything else in his life.
Takeaway #2: Don’t set artificial limits. Looking at your progress with a limitation-first mindset is a dead-end to progress. We are all born with unique attributes and JiuJitsu has proven effective for every body-type, size, shape, weight, etc. When you don’t set limits and look at progress as a never-ending quest with milestones that are aligned to goals, you can achieve much more than you ever thought possible.
Takeaway #3: Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Julian knows he has a solid leg lock game but he also knows his wrestling is weak. He makes time in his training to work both, shifting priorities to help both areas.
What have you taken away from Julian’s story?
Hopefully his story will inspire you to share your story with us!
Go to the JiuJitsu 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 JiuJitsu worldwide!