Todd and his daughter, Hannah, are a wonderful duo to have in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Coach Gilmar says “it’s important to have them because they drill positions, they roll, they just enjoy Jiu-Jitsu. This is what Jiu-Jitsu is about. Family. I am very excited to see them on the mats together, consistently, over the last year.”
Learn a little more about Hannah’s journey at Rothwell MMA: “I started training at Rothwell MMA about eight months ago. I got inspired to join Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) because at the end of last year my history teacher asked us to write a biography on someone who inspires us. I had seen Ronda Rousey fight a few times and wanted to learn more about her and the sport that changed her life. So I chose Ronda, and like many others she inspired me. Later that year I asked my dad if I could try Jiu-Jitsu out, and he took me to Rothwell MMA. I fell in love with the sport.
Before I started BJJ I was really shy, timid, and not very confident. Now I feel like really confident, and not afraid to go for things I want! My favorite technique is the bow and arrow choke. I never imagined myself doing this, two years ago I watched my Dad’s kickboxing class and I was so scared, but now I roll with the pro fighters and am having so much fun. Everyone has been so nice, especially when the fighters show me a move my Dad hasn’t learned yet and I get to submit him with it! BJJ has inspired me to eat healthier, and I am excited to be training for my first BJJ tournament this year. Rothwell has really helped me to figure out who I am and now I plan to train BJJ for the rest of my life. Thank you so much Rothwell, I love coming!“
Todd stays fit, manages back pain, meets new freinds, and gets to spend quality time with Hannah during Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: “I started to train at Rothwell MMA several years ago because I was looking for a workout that would be a fun way to get intense cardio. I also needed a workout that would help my flexibility and increase blood flow to combat chronic lower back pain.
I started in Ben’s (Rothwell) Kickboxing class and earned a yellow belt with one stripe. It was fun to learn from an actual UFC fighter ranked in the top ten in the world and widely considered a very respected veteran in the UFC. I had a great time and was impressed at how everyone was treated like family. The fighters, from the pro to amatuer guys, on the fight team seem to leave their ego at the door and were willing and excited to help the new guys and ladies that joined. You could tell this was no accident because Ben pushed the family philosophy and led by his example. I learned a lot about Ben’s feelings on what it means to be a martial artist, Muay Thai technique, proper way to take angles, the clinch, and some amazing combinations and how to flow them together for great effect.
Unfortunately my travel schedule took me away from the gym for a year or so, but when I returned I decided to try the Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu classes and add a ground game to the stand up foundation Ben and James had taught me.
This was the summer of 2015 and my daughter had discovered Ronda Rousey and she asked if she could train with me. She was very shy in school and interested in team sports but extremely timid in game situations. She was excited to try BJJ, and from our first class with Black Belt Gilmar Ferreira we were both hooked. Gilmar let Hannah develop at her own speed. He allowed us to drill by ourselves and watch sparring (rolling) at the end of each class, instead of participating. It was not long before her and I were rolling with the rest of the team and excited to learn something new each week. All of the members have taken Gilmar’s lead and have treated Hannah like the big sisters and brothers that she never had. Not a session goes by where we are not warmly greeted at the door or near the cage by Jen or Ben, and usually a big hug for Hannah from Gilmar.
Gilmar, like Ben in his classes, teaches more than just technique. He also stresses what it means to be a martial artist and how that lifestyle can and should make you live and eat healthier and be happier in all aspects of your life. We also learn that Jiu-Jitsu is the “gentle art”, something to be used for defense of yourself and others, an incredible skill that allows you to easily convince an attacker that they no longer want to fight, all with the option of not hurting them permanently. My favorite techniques Gilmar has taught us are the Kimura, D’arce choke, Omoplata shoulder lock, and arm and leg triangle chokes.
The difference in Hannah has been amazing in the eight months she has been training. Her confidence and the way she carries herself is on another level. When we started she was afraid to even drill with any other member of the gym besides me, now she is drilling and rolling with amatuer and professional members of the fight team with confidence every week, and she is planning on competing in her first Jiu-jitsu tournament this year. She has gone from a girl that was almost too timid to even be played by her coaches in basketball, to our shut down defender we place on the other team’s best scorer. Her confidence has extended to her academics as well, showing more independence and initiative and higher grades than previous years.
All of these reasons aside, the biggest benefits I have gotten from our experience is the new friends we have made, the real sense of family in the gym, and most importantly the special time I have been able to enjoy with Hannah, right down to the conversations we have about school and her life when driving to the gym, and the excited conversations about what we learned and the fun we had rolling with our teammates on the drives home, laughing about each other’s stories of being submitted, or celebrating any submissions we were able to secure. Thank you Rothwell MMA/LCCT family, Ben, Jennifer, and Gilmar, our experience has been life changing.”
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Check out previous Rothwell Member Spotlights HERE.