From Fire to Fury: How a Firefighter Ignited His Martial Arts Journey in Thailand
Welcome, dear reader! Allow me to take you on a thrilling ride through the flames and fury of my world. My name is Javi, and I am a wildland firefighter who took an unexpected detour to become a star attraction in Thailand's booming MMA scene. Join me as I share my extraordinary journey, fueled by passion and relentless determination. In this section of my blog, titled "The Ronin Diaries," I'll recount my experiences and insights gained from years of training journals and logs dating back to 2010. Through my triumphs and trials, I have become the martial arts champion I am today, and I hope to pass on valuable knowledge to aspiring fighters who wish to follow a similar path. Learn from my mistakes, experience the exhilarating highs of glory, and strive for even greater achievements.
It all began after an intense 2012 fire season in Region 5, California National Forest, when a burning desire to explore new horizons and travel ignited within me. Seeking to enhance my striking skills, I set my sights on the Land of Smiles—Thailand. Accompanied by my trusted mentor, Glen Cordoza, who had been training Muay Thai in Thailand for years, I embarked on a life-changing adventure. Little did I know that this decision would shape the course of my future.
Thailand captivated me from the moment I set foot on its soil. The vibrant energy, rich culture, and the opportunity to immerse myself in the art of Muay Thai fueled my passion. When the next fire season came to an end, while my colleagues were buying cars and houses, I saved every penny to return to Thailand and pursue my dream of becoming a professional Mixed Martial Artist.
During my time in Bangkok, I was approached by Full Metal Dojo (FMD), an underground fight league known for breeding fearless fighters and embodying the raw spirit of combat. The moment I heard about their upcoming show, I knew I had to take part. The rule set they offered closely resembled the legendary vale tudo style, and it ignited an insatiable fire within me. The chance to test my skills in a no-holds-barred environment, where 12 to 6 elbows, knees to the head of a grounded opponent, and even soccer kicks to the head were allowed, was an opportunity I couldn't resist.
And so, with adrenaline coursing through my veins, I stepped into the Full Metal Dojo cage. Three first-round submission victories and a viral video knockout later, I became a rising star, earning my spot in the hearts of MMA fans in Thailand. As I worked my way up the ranks with more wins and a loss, I was given the opportunity to fight for the Welterweight title. Instead of belts, the organization awarded swords as titles, and that sword now hangs on my wall as I write. I fought for that sword and the title of the "Baddest Man in Bangkok." In under a minute, with a quick first-round submission, I claimed the title. Holding the trophy above my head, surrounded by my teammates, close friends, and loved ones, was a moment I would never trade anything for. Some moments can never be bought, and that was one of them.
Connection to 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu:
While my striking game was improving, my passion for grappling grew exponentially. Thanks to the guidance of my mentor, Glen Cordoza, I discovered the transformative world of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. Glen, a well-respected figure in the martial arts community, introduced me to the system developed by Eddie Bravo. He emphasized that studying the 10th Planet system was essential for a successful MMA career as a grappler.
Under the tutelage of Marvin Castelle, I delved deep into the intricacies of the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu philosophy. I found inspiration in the unorthodox techniques of Nathan Orchard and Geo Martinez. Their creativity and innovative approach to grappling resonated with me. Moreover, Marvin's leg lock system became an integral part of my game, adding a deadly dimension to my Jiu Jitsu repertoire.
Training Philosophy and Personal Ambitions:
My journey led me to embrace the philosophy of "Universal Jiu Jitsu." I realized that my skills should transcend the boundaries of the Gi or No Gi, adapting to different situations and rule sets. While I still honed my skills in the Gi, recently achieving a brown belt, I found my heart gravitating towards No Gi combat. The freedom of movement and the ability to control the body rather than relying on specific Gi techniques allowed me to express myself fully.
As I continue my quest for self-mastery, my ambitions know no bounds. The pursuit of black belts in both Gi Jiu Jitsu and the 10th Planet System fuels my drive. However, my ultimate goal extends beyond personal accolades. I aspire to become a champion in a major MMA organization while dedicating myself to mentoring the next generation of fighters. I want to help them achieve mastery of themselves and express their true potential through the arts of Jiu Jitsu and MMA.
And there you have it, my new friends—the remarkable journey of a firefighter turned MMA sensation in Thailand. From the ashes of a fire season, I found my true calling in the world of martial arts. My dedication to continuous growth, self-expression, and the pursuit of self-mastery fuels my journey. As I step into the cage, fueled by the fire within, I invite you to join me on this wild ride. Through my recounts and personal interviews, I'll take you behind the scenes of my incredible journey. Thank you for reading.
The Ronin Diaries: Introduction