Josh Knapp

GOAL: 2014 Pan American Brazilian Championships  AGE: 35

When I first sat down to speak with Tom about remote coaching in preparation for the 2014 Pan American Brazilian Championships, I was flat out scared.  I had never fought on a stage that big and against so many extremely tough competitors from all over the world.  This is the biggest jiu jitsu tournament in the US.  Tom and I go way back and I had nothing but confidence in his ability as a teacher, mentor and a coach.  I’ve always looked up to Tom for his wealth of information on fitness and nutrition and the passion he has for sharing this with others and as a great friend.  One of my initial concerns was over training.  Jiu jitsu training 4 days a week with heavy sparring is extremely rigorous training on its own and I was afraid I would become too tight and lose flexibility if I started lifting too much.

I wanted to remain agile and quick on the mat.  My goal starting out was to cut 20 pounds and enter the next weight class down as a heavyweight instead of a super heavyweight.  With 3 months to go until show time, we got started.  It wasn’t an easy road.  A week into our training, I dislocated a finger on my left hand taking away the use of that hand for a few weeks.  That is a bit problematic for someone needing both hands to fight.  Tom never acted like it was a big deal.  The week after I dislocated my finger I got bronchitis.  When I was about to give up….Tom said don’t worry about it you’ll be ok.  As all of these obstacles presented themselves, Tom just made adjustments.  We worked around my injury and being sick.  Tom never came down on me for doing too little or too much.  Tom kind of has a way of putting things in a way that made me realize I was being a dumbass and quit over training or quit worrying so much about the details and that everything would be ok.  He makes suggestions but won’t tell you what to do.  He went above and beyond the call of duty.  Tom would call and check in every few days to see how I was feeling.  The last few days before fighting, Tom called me every night and made sure to call me after I fought.  Tom truly cares about the people he works with and not just on a physical level.  He cares on an emotional level as well.  Well, I ended up getting in the best shape of my life during those 3 months working with Tom and dropped the 20 pounds.  I can’t remember the last time I felt this physically strong, mentally tough and had the level of conditioning that I do.  People ask me about turning 35 next month and wonder if it bothers me getting older.  That’s an easy answer.  The 35 year old me could kick the 25 year old me’s ass hands down and not to mention the level of confidence I have now.  I encourage anyone looking to train for an event or just to reach a personal goal, to sit down with Tom and have a chat.  You won’t find anyone else out there like him.  If you aren’t chasing something you’re chasing nothing.  Dare to dream and be better.  What are you waiting for?

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