Many people enjoy MMA organizations such as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the techniques those fighters use.
Not many of them decide to try those fighting techniques themselves.
Garland's Trevor Colvin did.
Photo submitted to the Times Observer
Garland’s Trevor Colvin, center, poses after taking first place in his Brazilian Ju-Jitsu (BJJ) division at the Western Pennsylvania State Grappling Championships held this past October at the University of Pittsburgh. Now a Blue Belt in BJJ, Colvin went 4-0 in the White Belt, 155-169.9-pound division to win his first BJJ championship during the event.
His casual interest in UFC has led to a love affair with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - something that Colvin admittedly probably couldn't have spelled in high school a few short years ago.
"It was kind of random how I decided to get into it," said Colvin. "My buddy's brother-in-law started having parties during the UFC pay previews and I decided to go to one. One of the kids in my major at Slippery Rock was there and his cousin had helped get him into training and got him involved. I asked if they'd be interested in helping me get started and things just kind of took off from there."
On the first day of his junior year of college, Colvin stepped onto the mat for the first time.
"It was my 20th birthday - August 30," he recalled.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art and a self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. The art was derived from the Japanese martial art of Kodokan judo (which itself is derived from Japanese Jujutsu) in the early 20th century.
It teaches that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique - most notably by applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person.
Colvin currently trains under black belt John Rozzi and has also trained under such well-known Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners as brothers Saulo and Xande Ribeiro.
After training for just over five months, Colvin entered his first competition at the beginning of March 2011. The event was a grappling tournament called the Rock Solid Challenge and it was held on the campus of Slippery Rock University.
"It wasn't a very big event," said Colvin. "There was really just one division with no specific divisions for belt or experience of weight. It was mainly guys I had trained with in my Gi, but I figured I'd give it a shot."
Colvin won his first match on points, but that would be the only match he would compete in during the tournament.
"I bowed out to a teammate to send him to the finals. Our other teammate made it to the finals to close it out so us three beat everyone else in the tournament."
While the showing was impressive for his first time out, Colvin outdid himself during his next competition just two weeks later - the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
"There were over 20 guys in the division and I competed in the White Belt Gi 159-169 pound division and I managed to take second place in the tournament with just six months of experience. I won my first match via rear naked choke, won my second match on points 7-0 and got into the finals with a 12-4 win."
In retrospect, the short amount of time training may have cost Colvin a chance at the title.
"Honestly, I was on the sidelines throwing up before the final match," he said. "I just didn't have enough stamina at that point. The last match was against a four-stripe white belt who was very close to earning his blue belt. I took an early 2-0 lead, but he managed to get me in the mount position late in the match for four points and he beat me, 4-2."
After his strong second-place showing at the Arnold Classic, Colvin backed that up with a victory at the Western Pennsylvania State Grappling Championships held in October at Pittsburgh University. There, Colvin won all three of his 155-169.9-pound White Belt division matches to claim his first overall championship in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu event.
Shortly after his winning performance at Pitt, Colvin stepped up his training and earned his Blue Belt this past December. The martial arts form has quickly become a full-time gig for Colvin who spends up to five hours a day on the mat up to five days a week.
"If I only get on the mat three times during a week - that's a bad week," he said. "On average, I probably put 20 hours into training each week.
"On a typical training day, I show up around 4:30 p.m. and help instruct and train younger kids. From 6 to 6:30, we do warm ups to loosen up muscle areas specific to Jiu-Jitsu movements and the rest of the night is spent working on different techniques like the guard position, positional drilling and sparring. We also do a lot of work with cardio because it's important to have the stamina to stay strong during the match."
In Jiu-Jitsu, success is harder to come by the higher your rank. Colvin has only competed twice in the six months since attaining his Blue Belt, but is 0-2 in those bouts.
Though he was extremely competitive in each match.
"My first competition as a Blue Belt was in Toledo and I was winning 3-0 before I was submitted late in the match," said Colvin. "Later, at the Kumite, I last on points late in the match, 8-6."
It hasn't taken long for Colvin to fall in love with the sport. He said many of the reasons he enjoys it so much is that it's so different from any type of sport he's competed in in the past.
"In high school, I played a lot of team sports and there were always other people to count on," he said. "It's nice to be out there and have all the responsibility on me. I also enjoy Jiu-Jitsu because it's a kind of Democratic sport. It's not about being the biggest or the fastest or the strongest. It's about technique and skill."
Colvin admits, however, that the sport is anything but easy.
"It's an extremely humbling sport," he said. "Especially when you're just starting out. A saying that goes around here is that you have to be the nail before you can be the hammer and that's totally true. Many of the fights at this level are brutal. Even if you're winning, you're involved in a fight you never want to have again."
But that doesn't mean Colvin has any plans of giving it up anytime soon.
"Some people run, some people lift. I do Jiu-Jitsu. It's a form of workout, a hobby that I take very seriously and something I enjoy very much. I have no plans of slowing down anytime soon. I've got goals I want to accomplish. I want to win a local blue and compete and medal in an International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) event. That's what I'd like to cross of my list next."