he was left in an uninhabited island, the first thing he’d take with him would be his Jiu Jitsu uniform. He learns to fight so that he’ll never have to. He makes time for funny little chats even in the burst of fights. He is mastering Jiu Jitsu martial art and his name is Arin Adjamian.
rin, tell us a little about your background. Where are your roots coming from?
I am of Armenian descent born in Tehran, Iran. My father’s side of the family was originally from Western Armenia. They moved to Iran fleeing for their lives when the Turkish genocide of the Armenians occurred in 1915. My mother’s family is also Armenian. They had been living in Tehran for generations, likely taking advantage of the sultan’s promise of autonomy. Though I was born in Iran, my stay was short lived. The Iran/Iraq war forced my family to leave the country and settle in the welcoming hands of the United States when I was only 4 years old. My roots hold strong with my Armenian heritage and I am always looking for ways to better both my home country and my local Armenian community here in Las Vegas. I have two Brothers, one younger and one older, that I cherish dearly. My father is a master electrician and my mother is the operations manager of a hospice center. They all live in California.
I have a degree from UCLA in philosophy with a focus on religion. I also attended Chapman Law School, but I am not a practicing lawyer.
I am the owner of an online sports nutrition consultation company. 3 years ago my wife and I decided to move to Las Vegas and open up our second business Ivy Laser Salon (www.ivylasersalon.com), a boutique laser cosmetics and microblading center offering services like laser hair removal, laser tattoo removal, and semi-permanent makeup. We were supposed to only stay a short time, just long enough to set up the business. We ended up falling in love with Vegas and decided to make it our permanent home.
ho was your inspiration for getting into martial arts?
From a very young age I took an interest in martial arts. Bruce Lee was my hero and I always loved watching karate movies growing up. I recall as a child a karate academy had opened up on our street and I begged my father to enroll me. Unfortunately, times were tough and my father simply couldn’t afford the membership fees. My friend was a student at that academy and would come over and teach me the lessons he had learned a few times a week.
hen did you discover your passion for Jiu Jitsu?
Just like many others before me, the first time I was exposed to Jiu Jitsu was when I saw the legendary Royce Gracie absolutely demolish everyone in the early days of the UFC back in the 90’s. Though I didn’t immediately jump into Jiu-Jitsu, in 2010 I started dating my now wife and she had gotten a job as a program director at a Jiu Jitsu Academy. It was there that I started training and absolutely fell in love with Jiu Jitsu. I would say the majority of credit for the development of my passion for Jiu Jitsu can be given to my wife. You see, when I started Jiu Jitsu I was at a very low point in my life. I was extremely out of shape, weighing in at about 340 lbs and dealing with major depression issues. I couldn’t run because I would get shin splints, so most exercise was out of the question. But Jiu Jitsu is mainly on the floor and though I struggled for a number of years with my mobility thanks to my weight my life started revolving around my training. I would wake up every morning and go to bed every night thinking about Jiu Jitsu. I became absolutely obsessed with the martial art and began following what we call the “Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle.” I trained hard and made healthy decisions in my life. I went from 340 lbs to 235 lbs. But that’s not where Jiu Jitsu impacted me the greatest. Though having lost over 100lbs really helped, I had finally found peace in my mind. I was no longer depressed. Jiu Jitsu had humbled me in many ways while teaching me how to deal with anything life can throw at me. I can easily say that Jiu Jitsu saved my life. I was on a very bad road to destruction before I discovered it.
hy did you choose specifically Jiu Jitsu? How is it different from other types of martial arts?
Thanks to my weight at the time I started and my inability to do other exercises, Jiu Jitsu was a natural choice for me. I was able to get a workout in while avoiding serious injury to my shins. I also didn’t want to be the big guy who got his butt kicked by a smaller guy who knew Jiu Jitsu. After all, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was made for the smaller and weaker person to defeat his opponent. It is all about leverage and technique, which is why it’s called the gentle art. I find that there are two categories of martial arts, ones that will work in real life situations and ones that will not. A statistic states that more than 70% of fights people get into end up on the ground. Jiu Jitsu is a branch of Judo. Specifically, it is what happens after one person takes down another. Usually, the person on the bottom is at a disadvantage. In Jiu Jitsu, the person on the bottom can be very dangerous. Jiu Jitsu is all about dominant positions on the ground for striking, choking, and joint manipulation to subdue your opponent. You cannot find a fighter in the UFC who does not have some type of background in Jiu Jitsu. Why? Because it works in a real fighting situation.
hat are your achievements gotten so far Arin? Which one was the most important game you won?
I am very blessed to have had a successful competition career after getting serious about competing in the spring of last year. Just this last fiscal year alone I have won 14 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 3 bronze medals. I am currently ranked #1 in the world in my weight class in no gi (which is fighting with just shorts and a rash guard) and #2 with the gi on (which is your standard Jiu Jitsu Kimono) by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation.
My most important gold medal would have to be my late 2015 IBJJF no gi world’s medal. This is the largest no gi tournament in the world and having won gave me my first world title championship.
Another achievement I take great pride in was my induction to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation of Armenia. About 3 years ago, when I first visited Armenia, I searched for Jiu Jitsu schools out there that I could train at. I had come to find out that there were only two schools in all of Armenia, both in their infancy and being taught by lower level belts that had taken the time and traveled to neighboring countries to gain instruction. They were also using online videos to learn new techniques and expand their horizons. Seeing as how I was the highest ranking Jiu Jitsu practitioner in Armenia at the time, I decided to start teaching classes there for the whole month I was visiting. I have since gone back every year and taught Jiu Jitsu for a number of weeks. The academies have since grown and flourished. They even got their own legitimate Brazilian Black Belt teaching there now. It touches my heart to know that I helped the martial arts I love to grow in my home country.
Full list of Arin’s achievements
IBJJF No Gi World Gold Medalist
2x IBJJF Bjj Pro Gold medalist
2x IBJJF Vegas Open Gold Medalist
3x NABJJF Gold Medalist
5x Jiu Jitsu World League Gold Medalist
2x Gracie Barra Compnet Gold Medalist
3x NAGA Gold Medalist
2x IBJJF Bjj Pro Silver Medalist
FIVE Grappling Championship Silver Medalist
Jiu Jitsu World League Silver Medalist
IBJJF No Gi World Bronze Medalist
FIVE Grappling Championship Bronze Medalist
Jiu Jitsu World League Bronze Medalist
NABJJF Bronze Medalist
UAEBJJF Bronze Medalist
NABJJF Bronze Medalist
re the tournaments you participate local or they are beyond Las Vegas borders as well?
My participation in tournaments has no bounds. I will compete in every tournament that comes to Las Vegas and have traveled all over the United States to compete in the larger tournaments. In the end of April, I will travel to Atlanta for the next Bjj Pro. In November of last year, I traveled to New York for a tournament. I also travel to California regularly for the major tournaments like no gi worlds. There are tournaments in Europe, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil as well. I plan on doing the Brazilian and European tournaments next year.
iu Jitsu was originated in Japan. Has that country ever been in your travel list?
Though Japan is on my list of places to visit, it wouldn’t be for Jiu Jitsu. Though Jiu Jitsu was originated in Japan, the type of Jiu Jitsu I study is actually Brazilian. A Japanese Jiu Jitsu instructor travelled to Brazil and taught Carlos Gracie the art of Japanese Jiu Jitsu. Carlos’s then taught his younger brother, Helio. Helio Gracie is known as the founder of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Being of weaker stature, he transformed Japanese Jiu Jitsu to favor the smaller and weaker person against a larger opponent. I have already been to Brazil, but would love to go to Japan to see the ancient origins of Jiu Jitsu.
hat’s hard about this martial art? Do you think anyone can master it?
The hardest thing about Jiu Jitsu isn’t the physical strain it puts on your body, but the mental strain it puts on your mind. Jiu Jitsu is one of the only martial arts where you can go 99% all the time thanks to what we call “the tap.” A tap is a way for your opponent or training partner to submit to your technique before you cause any damage. I can armbar you (a submission made to break the elbow) or choke you till I either nearly break your arm or choke you out but the tap stops me before I reach that point. No other martial arts allow for this. If kickboxers or karate experts went 99% all the time it would lead to massive trauma. But since Jiu Jitsu is all about submission and not striking, we can attack each other as if we are about to kill each other without bringing about any harm. With that being said, when you first start your journey into Jiu Jitsu you’re going to be doing a lot of tapping. It’s a constant bombardment of surviving and escaping submissions as a white belt. It can be very mentally exhausting to always submit to other people. Only those who have the mental toughness will stick around and learn the techniques necessary to get better. Only later in your blue belt and on do you really start learning how to attack.I always give lower belts the same advice, the longer you do this the more you have tapped. The blue belt has always tapped more than the white belt. The purple belt has always tapped more than the blue belt. The brown belt has always tapped more than the purple belt. Finally, the black belt, the instructor, has always tapped more than any of his students. When you tap, you learn. There is no losing in Jiu Jitsu. There is only winning and learning.
rin, what are some of the good and bad sides of Jiu Jitsu?
One good side of Jiu Jitsu: It will replace many bad habits you have in your life and is pure awesomeness. One bad side of Jiu Jitsu: Not being able to do it due to injury or obligations in life.
o you have any funny/interesting story regarding your Jiu Jitsu fights or training, you’d like to share with our readers?
I actually do have a fight that really sticks out in my mind. It was the New York Bjj Pro last year. I was fighting this very strong opponent from Marcelo Garcia’s school. I remember being on top of him and getting swept so bad that I stopped what I was doing and said “damn that was nice!” and he said “why thank you, you’re pretty strong yourself,” only to get back to business afterwards. We were in the middle of a serious tournament in the semi-final match and we were having a small talk!
f you were to encourage people to join the martial art, and so to say advertise Jiu Jitsu, what would be your slogan?
“Learn to fight, so that you never have to.” If there is anything Jiu Jitsu has given me, it’s the confidence to know I can win a fight. When you know you can seriously injure or even kill your opponent with your bare hands, it becomes very easy to walk away from a fight. Usually, people who fight or go out looking for fights have something to prove. They want to show that they are tough. Jiu Jitsu takes the tough guy out of you and replaces it with humility. Since I started Jiu Jitsu, I have not gotten into one fight. But I have walked away from a few.
“Out of the Box”
What is the first thing you’ll do, if you wake up one morning and find out that you can fly?
Strap my wife in and fly to wherever the heck she wants me to go.
If you were given a task to invent something, what would that be?
I would say a cure to a horrible disease, like cancer. Though, I think that task is already in very capable hands.
A very rich old stranger leaves you $1 million as a thank you for your hard work. What’s the first thing you will do with that money?
My wife and I live a minimalist lifestyle because we love to travel. I would likely take a month off and go travel the Asian and Australian coastline.
You go for a trip to a place you’ve never seen and heard about. You grab an imaginary backpack with you to put the most 5 necessary items in it. Remember they can be anything. What are those 5 things for you?
Wow tough one! I would likely take a Jiu Jitsu gi, my phone, some hiking clothing, headphones and a Swiss army knife.
What would be one food that you’ll never try in your life?
Arin, is there anything else you’d like to add or let our readers know about?
I would really like to take a moment and thank my wife, Ani, who tolerates a lot as the wife of a competitor. She has to deal with the long two hour training sessions twice a day 5 days a week, the 8 hour tournament days that happen at least once if not twice a month, cleaning my gi’s, tending to the many injuries I receive, and making traveling always revolve around doing Jiu Jitsu or being at a tournament. I love and appreciate you endlessly.
You can follow Arin on Instagram: DA_JITS