Very interesting and insightful interview from a Spartan Martial Arts member and business professional John Melsha.
Name: John Melsha
Location: Woodbury, MN
Married with a Son.
What is your occupation?
"I am a Director of Sales and Operations for a Human Capital Solutions Company, I manage our operations in Minneapolis, Rochester, & Mankato. We partner with many Fortune 100 & 500 Companies to help them analyze, and develop a strategic staffing augmentation model."
How long have you been doing Jiu Jitsu?
"About 3 years, with my position I have to travel quite often so in the past it made training difficult. The great thing about Spartan Martial Arts is that they have a ton of different BJJ classes, it allows me to still be able to make it a few times a week as my schedule dictates."
What attracted you to Jiu Jitsu?
"How long do you have, there are so many reasons. First and foremost, this sport is without a doubt one of the best ways to stay in shape. In a single workout you an burn 800-1000 calories, how long does it take to do that on a treadmill. Secondly, it is an amazing team atmosphere, you have so many people supporting you to help you hit your goals. If that goal is to compete or if you are just simply looking to lose weight, self defense, add confidence, there is just a multitude of benefits to Jiu Jitsu."
There are so many Gyms in the Twin Cities, why Spartan Martial Arts?
"Your right there are many gyms in the cities, even in just Woodbury where I live there are 4-5. I am originally from Green Bay, WI so when I moved here a few years ago I visited many of the gyms in the local area. Some of them were good gyms with good people; however, from the first time I went to Spartan I knew that was where I wanted to be. I came in and was greeted by BJJ Black Belt Tom Schmitz, wasn't used to that. Tom made me feel welcome immediately, every other person in the room came up and introduced themselves to me right away as we'll. Most gyms you walk into and you feel like you are getting measured up by everyone the moment you walk in, not Tom's gym. Frankly, Tom doesn't put up with anyone that doesn't carry the same team values that everyone else in the gym does, which in my opinion is Hard Work, Dedication, & Humility. As I mentioned I work in a white collar business setting, I could never go to a gym where I thought I would get intentionally hurt. The real world doesn't work like "Fight Club" where I can show up in a suit with black eyes and a busted nose. We have a amazing Black Belt Instructor in Tom, he is extremely talented and technical, he is also patient due to the fact everyone develops at different speeds. Plus, you get to train alongside 2 Black Belts, a few Brown Belts, as well as a ton of Purple, Blue, & White Belts, not many gyms around here that have a stable of talent like that."
Did you compete in any tournaments this year?
"Yes, I actually just competed in two tournaments this year and finished 1st in one, and 2nd in the other. I competed for many years in wrestling so it is nice to get to compete again. There are a ton of great guys at our school to test yourself with; however, it is always nice to compete against someone that you don't know each others game."
What's your Jiu Jitsu aspirations?
"A year ago I would have said Blue Belt but I feel like I am close to that so I have set my sights on a Purple Belt. Long term goal is hopefully a Black Belt, but just as importantly having fun and staying in shape along the way."
What advice do you have for anyone looking to join Martial Arts?
"Honestly, it will change your life. You get to stay in shape while developing great relationships with people on your team. I think a lot of people are intimidated to try a Martial Art because of the fear of getting hurt or embarrassed, that doesn't happen here. You can train as hard as you want to, everyone is there to encourage and teach you so you can achieve your goals whatever they maybe. You don't need to be fit when you come here either, you will get fit from coming here though I can assure you of that. Martial Arts is like a family, especially here at Spartan."