Member of the Month: Brad Sandoval

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There are often times in life when you enter into an assignment or situation believing that you know exactly how something will turn out, only to find many surprises along the way. These unanticipated circumstances may bring stress to set deadlines, but in the end may yield very exciting and unexpected results. For example, take the story of this month’s member, Brad Sandoval.

When you first lay eyes on Brad, it seems natural to categorize him as a formidable presence with an overwhelmingly serious demeanor. Off the mat, he is a humble and approachable man living with no computer and making time for the things closest to his heart…training for Jiu-Jitsu and enjoying good food.

As the deadline for my story quickly approached, I anxiously checked my email time and time again only to find nothing there. The questions I wrote remained unanswered, and I watched as April was drawing to a close. I almost felt as if the interview would never come to fruition, and THEN THEY CAME!! Brad showed up at the last minute of the last day before the end of the month with 9 pages of torn out yellow notepad paper with his handwritten responses. Each answer was crafted with a genuine heartfelt explanation that could only be attributed to someone who loves what he does. In this case, it was talking about Jiu-Jitsu with you and I, the readers. I can guarantee that once you read the interview, you will want to know more about this man, Brad Sandoval, and the martial art that he holds so dear to his heart. His experience, knowledge, and instruction is offered to you weekly just for being a member at Sacramento Pipeworks! Stop in, take a class, and say “hello”.

Brad Sandoval Image 2Bove: What does a typical Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class consist of and what can I expect if it were my first experience with the sport?
Sandoval: A normal practice session is 1 ½ hours, including a 10-15 minute warm-up/stretch incorporating many of the same movements we use in Jiu-Jitsu, followed by 30-45 minutes of instruction/practice with a partner, aka “drilling”. The last 30-45 minutes we “roll”.

Bove: How would I prepare for the class from a fitness perspective?

Sandoval: As far as physical preparation, I would suggest being well hydrated, because you will sweat! Aside from that, having an open mind and willingness to learn would be at the top of my list. Jiu-Jitsu is like chess in the way that you first learn how each piece moves before you develop strategies to checkmate other players…or a musical instrument where, you practice scales and chords repeatedly to develop mind and muscle memory; with enough practice, you can create music.

B: Is it something suitable for all ages and abilities?

S: Jiu-Jitsu is for all ages, however, at Sacramento Pipeworks we only offer classes for adults. Hopefully, in the future we will expand to offer classes for children. That being said, if a young person is mature enough to take the class they are welcome.

B: Would it make a difference if I wore normal workout clothes, or is there something specific that I should wear to class?

S: We practice with both the Gi (Kimono) and without Gi. For example, shorts and T-shirts. (Please check our class schedule for “Gi” or “No Gi” specification, days and class times.)

B: Is there a martial arts lifestyle and/or philosophy involved in the culture of the practice?

S: When you learn to see Jiu-Jitsu as a whole, you learn to accept a victory or defeat, to forgive your adversary, and to be more humble and balanced.

B: From a historical standpoint, can you tell us more about Jiu-Jitsu and its origin? What makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu different from other styles?

S: Mitsuyo Maeda was a Judo expert and a member of the Kodokan Judo Institute in Japan, and a student of Jikoro Kano, Judo’s founder. Unlike many members of the Kodokan Judo Institute who believed that the art should be demonstrated mainly through teaching and performing Kata, Maeda advocated demonstrating through actual combat. While Judo tends to focus more on throws and takedowns, Maeda’s style highlighted grappling in which Maeda was a specialist adding his innovations and philosophies. Maeda would compete in challenge matches against fighters from around the world, where he was more often than not the smaller combatant. Eventually stories spread of a smaller Asian man defeating larger, stronger opponents of many disciplines,including boxing and wrestling with little effort, rightfully earning Maeda the nickname, Mr. Impossible. Maeda traveled the world making a living through Judo demonstrations and prize fights.
In 1914, Maeda arrived in Brazil where he was befriended by a politician named Gastao Gracie, who at the time was helping Japanese colonies migrate to Brazil. Out of appreciation, Maeda offered to teach Judo to Gastao’s 14 year old son Carlos, who would in turn teach his brothers. Maeda not only passed along his techniques, but also his philosophies on combat. These techniques and philosophies would lay the foundation for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The Gracie family would go on to reveal the mysteries of Jiu-Jitsu to the world. Mitsuyo Maeda would never know the impact he made by giving us the gift of his martial art. THANK YOU MITSUYO MAEDA!

B: Where did you study and who was your mentor throughout the years?

S: I began practicing Jiu-Jitsu with Gi in 2001 in Wildomar, CA under then brown belt and great instructor, Jeff Bolton. That gym closed around 2003, so I began training No Gi (without Gi) Jiu-Jitsu, Muy Thai Kickboxing, and wrestling under UFC & Pride Fighting Championship Veteran, Chris Brennan of Next Generation Fight Academy in Temecula, CA until 2005. In 2005 he moved his Academy to Texas, which was unfortunate for my training. It was at this time that I decided to move back to my hometown of Sacramento, where 2003 World Champion professor Cassio Werneck runs his Academy in Citrus Heights. I have practiced at Cassio Werneck’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy from 2005 to the present.

B: How and when did someone with your experience and competitive prowess come to be an instructor at Sacramento Pipeworks?

S: About 2 years ago, my friend and fellow student under Cassio Werneck, Wayne Gregory (AKA the white Dave Chappelle), whom I am sure that many of you know from climbing here at Sacramento Pipeworks, asked if I would be interested in teaching here. I said, “Absolutely!” and was introduced to Vaughn Medford, General Manager Extraordinaire of the greatest gym in the world! The rest is history.

B: Do you have any rewarding moments and/or stories about yourself that you can share with us?

S: Some of my most rewarding moments include seeing my students improve and reach their goals.

B: What time/day can we join your class, and how many other people are normally present?

S: We have class Monday-Friday at 6 PM. An average class has 5-10 Jiu-Jitsu players give or take, and growing.

B: If you could be any type of animal, what would you be and why?

S: I would be a Na’vi (Avatar)…how cool would that be?!

Brad Sandoval Image 3