5 Star Profile: How Julio Soto-Kim Balances Law School, Life & Training

Posted on April 1, 2019 in Academy News, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Julio Soto-Kim is one of the most dedicated and focused students at 5 Star Martial Arts / Renzo Gracie Los Angeles. He is constantly on the mats training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has been an active member of the competition team, taking home medals at numerous events. He started training at the academy while attending law school as a way to deal with the stress of both law school and life. Law school is a very challenging, demanding, and exhausting process that tests the wills of future lawyers. Through time and hard work on the mats, Julio has been able to apply the life lessons learned on the mats at 5 Star Martial Arts to help him navigate the rigors of law school and life and become a happier and stronger person.

You started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in your thirties. What were your motivations for starting your BJJ training?

I actually had several reasons.  The first is for conditioning, weight training, and overall discipline.  As I get older, I realized the pressure on my knees from excess weight and my energy level was getting worse. Second, increased stress, poor life style choices, losing a dear family member that was very close to me, and constantly overcoming obstacles was starting to really weigh me down.  I knew I needed something to push me to get healthy both mentally and physically and wanted something practical I could do for the rest of my life. The third is that I missed training with athletes and just wanted to train with genuine people or people who just want to improve themselves because it always helps to give you motivation and encouragement being in a good community and witnessing others overcome adversity. Martial Arts was one area I never really explored and realized right away what I was missing in my life. I loved that with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you can never be too old to start and that you never stop learning.

You work, go to Law School, and train martial arts. How do you find the time and discipline to do all of these things?

Definitely time management, desire, and trust.  I learned that with martial arts you become more efficient with time management in your daily life because it becomes a lifestyle and almost a necessity.  You find yourself more focused and efficient when accomplishing tasks and daily work activities because you want to make time for training or can’t wait to train to feel the freedom of the mats.  You really start weeding out things that you come to realize are not that important and teaches you to be conscious of your overall scheduling. Plus, I love that 5 Star has an amazing multiple time schedule that allows for younger and older professionals including children and families to train with flexibility. Now, not only has martial arts helped me with gaining discipline in my life, but has also helped me with my law school focus and given me extra passion to achieve any of my goals.

Renzo Gracie Los Angeles 5 Star Martial Arts BJJ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Silver Medalist Andy Jun and training partner Julio Soto-Kim at the NABJJF All Americas Tournament.

With all of your responsibilities, what do you to stay healthy and well-rested for BJJ training, work, and school?

I would say a combination of the right amount of sleep, healthy eating, breathing, stretching, recognizing your body’s limits as you progress, and mental health awareness.  I also enjoy researching health blogs and pages, getting massages, and even started investing in skin care. As you grow in BJJ, you find yourself learning and growing in each area of your life including becoming more in tuned with your overall health which helps you grow stronger mentally and physically. You also realize that rest becomes more valuable and you learn to listen to your body and know when breaks are necessary or needed.

Besides the grappling and Jiu Jitsu techniques, what have been the biggest lessons you have learned from training at 5 Star Martial Arts.

Humility, leadership, patience, courage, and honor.  Over time, I’ve come to learn a lot of people’s stories and seeing them overcome difficulties and challenges both on and off the mat here at 5 Star.  Through each loss and victory, I feel we all share the pain and happiness. It is not only humbling, but touches your heart and soul to the core as well as teaches you many life lessons.  Often times, I can honestly say the staff, coaches, and training partners here have kept me wanting to be a better version of me every day and are living proof that hard work and determination will overcome every time.  People put a lot of time and commitment into the mats and bags. It takes a lot of courage, dedication, and grit to keep driving forward. You really learn to appreciate others and respect their patience and devotion to improving themselves and others.

How has training BJJ at 5 Star Martial Arts improved your life?

The training partners, coaches and professor have taught me a whole new level of leadership, patience, and commitment.  Their constant motivation, encouragement, and leading by example by continuously training, sharing, and teaching has also been very inspiring and uplifting.  I am really big on leadership and have been through many leadership programs as well as hold a few leadership positions myself, but I feel everyone here is constantly improving each other, growing to new levels all the time, and becoming better leaders themselves.  There is something special here that I can’t explain. You have to simply come here, train, and experience it for yourself. Eventually, you start changing and just hope to give back yourself. Most importantly, martial arts training here at 5 Star has given me confidence, motivation, and determination to continue growing and driving forward.  Not only do I feel whole again, I also feel stronger, more focused, and am highly determined when accomplishing goals as well as back on track to reaching my dreams.


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