5 Star Profile: Jerik Villasenor on His BJJ Journey & Competition Mindset

Posted on December 11, 2018 in Academy News, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Jerik Villasenor has one of the biggest smiles on the mats at 5 Star Martial Arts, but don’t let that smile fool you. What lies beneath that smile is a very focused and intense martial artist who is all business when he is training for big competitions like The IBJJF NoGi World Championships in Anaheim, where Jerik will be squaring off with some of the top Blue Belt Adult BJJ artists from around the world. Jerik, a native of the Philippines, has been a great role model and training partner at the academy, with his endless amount of positive energy, willingness to help other students in drilling and live rounds, and showing heart and determination when rolling with more experienced upper belts. While, it seems like he is always at 5 Star rolling on the mats or hitting bags and pads, he balances his family life with his and wife and training through discipline and hard work. We had the chance to ask Jerik a few questions about his martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey.

How did you get started training in BJJ? Where did you start and how did you find 5 Star Martial Arts?

I started training martial arts 4 yrs ago in the Philippines, I started training BJJ after a year of training freestyle MMA, as I felt the need for more focus on grappling. 5 Star Martial Arts, more specifically Professor Shawn Williams was introduced to me by my teammate in the Philippines who regularly watches Prof Shawn’s video instructionals on Youtube and is a big fan of the well known “Williams Guard”, as I moved here in SoCal I sought his gym out and found his teaching methods and techniques well suited for me. I have been training at 5 star Martial arts under Professor Shawn Williams since December of 2016 and received my blue belt from Professor Shawn himself.

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

Jerik went from watching Shawn Williams BJJ training and instructional videos in the Philippines to being one of Professor Shawn’s trusted demonstration partners.

What have been the biggest benefits that you have experienced by training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Hand-to-hand combat knowledge. BJJ , in my opinion, is the most efficient and effective martial arts discipline, in terms of self defense. Self-confidence, good physical conditioning and mental awareness are few of the other major benefits I get from training jiu jitsu as well.

You are one of our regular competitors. How does your training change when you prepare for competitions?

It all starts when you condition your mind to be on another level. I prepare my mind for the hard training and weight cut that’s about to come. I make sure I eat clean, I get enough rest, make sure I’m well with in my range of weight. Come training, I set a game plan for myself with the help of the team, I focus on implementing my game plan throughout training and preparing for any contingencies, all while gradually pushing my body a little bit over it’s limits everyday.

How do you develop a game plan mindset, and strategy when you compete?

Competing regularly puts your mind in a familiar state or environment when you compete, in my opinion, competition and everyday training are two very different environments which can affect your composure if you have not regularly done either.  My game plan is simple, attack first and secure an early lead, after which i go for submissions without compromising my position.

5 Star Martial Arts BJJ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Los Angeles Jerik

Jerik celebrating with his 5 Star Martial Arts / Renzo Gracie Los Angeles teammates after winning hardware at the NABJJF Los Angeles Open.

You are married, work full-time and have other responsibilities? How do you fit training into your busy schedule?

Time management. I avoid unnecessary stuff that would compromise my rest and physical state, such as: partying, drinking or smoking or eating too much and too unhealthy. This allows me to train with my mind and body at an excellent state. I also make the most out of the training hrs or days I get.

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