AMBASSADORS OF WAVE
Every month we will showcase one of our students, these will be mini interviews giving you an insight into their BJJ journey as well as a bit about their backgrounds.
If you are a member and would like to be an Ambassador email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Ambassador in the subject line. If you are chosen you will win a £20 Amazon gift card.
Some of my non bjj friends call me Randy / Smiler, but I don't have a bjj nickname yet! Although I recently bought a Judge Dredd rashguard, so maybe I can go by "The Law"?
Just turned 27 (St. Patrick's Day, always a messy birthday)
Why did you start BJJ?
The first time I heard about BJJ was through The Joe Rogan Experience about 6/7 years ago I think. I then finally saw some BJJ in action when a couple of mates at uni introduced me to the UFC and I got to see the 'ground game' side of fighting, which I hadn't really considered before. After seeing some submissions and the strategy involved I knew I would love BJJ as I'm really into anything that uses my whole body (yoga etc.) and i'm a big fan of real time strategy games, which is basically what Jiu-jitsu is. I'm also really not into getting hit in the head and I loved the idea of being able to spar hard without getting (too) hurt! So then I must've had "book a jiu-jitsu class" on my to-do list for maybe half a year, until one day I walked past the Artworks at Elephant & Castle, saw the instantly recognisable people in Gi's rolling around, popped my head in and booked a class that week. Ultimately though, I basically started BJJ because I wanted to know I was physically capable of defending myself! Growing up I'd been attacked a bunch of times and never had a plan and got my arse beat.
What is your favourite submission and why?
I would have to say, without a doubt the triangle / reverse triangle is my favourite submission. I've got some long, gangly legs and i'm flexible so I tend to catch triangles from all over the place (as my teammates in South East know). I really enjoy catching people from bottom side control and inverted guard!
Who is your favourite BJJ athlete?
This is a really difficult question to answer, so i'll give a bunch of names that have really inspired me and helped me learn (big ups YouTube): Jeff Glover, Renzo Gracie (and the whole Danaher Death Squad), Firas Zahabi, Kurt Osiander, Stephan Kesting (Grapple Arts), Kent Peters (Zombie Proof BJJ) and Mike Bidwell (BJJafterForty).
Have you been on any BJJ related trips?
None so far, but I'm going back to Barcelona this summer and would like to pop into a club for a roll and to meet some locals! I've been really excited to do this since I got into BJJ and we've had visitors at Wave. As for a proper BJJ trip, I'd like to go on one of those BJJ surf camps someday, they look awesome!
How do you choose your gi?
Well I got my gi for free back when the introductory deal was still available, so I only got to pick the colour not the brand. I think I said to Lorenzo, "any colour but white" as i'm always covered in scratches from gardening and didn't want to get blood all over it. So I was eventually given a blue tatami gi, my first and only one.
What is your favourite gi brand?
I don't really have a favourite as I only own one gi, but my training partners all have a bunch of different brands and I've had my eye on those Scramble Stuff gi's. They look really high quality, comfortable and fit well.
If I could afford it i'd get myself a black one of those.
What other martial arts have you tried?
Formally i've only ever trained karate for maybe a month or so when I was a kid. I was the oldest kid in the class by quite a few years and there was no sparring allowed, so it was super boring and I quit!
Informally we used to have this ridiculous 'fight club' (yes we had watched the film) where we'd beat the crap out of each other with some argos boxing gloves in an estate car park from the age of about 10/11. We made ID cards and obviously following rules 1&2, never spoke about it! This only lasted a few months until someone got really hurt and parents found out, groundings ensued etc.
What other hobbies do you have?
In varying degress of frequency: guitar, cycling, axe throwing (hopefully archery soon as well), circus skills (poi, contact staff, juggling clubs/balls), reading (Sapiens at the moment), gardening, dancing (badly) and yoga. I'm also looking at getting into bouldering and working on my bushcraft / foraging skills this year.
What is your profession?
I've been a gardener at Eaton Square for 2 years now, studying horticulture 1 day a week at Capel Manor. Absolutely love working a physical job outside, although not always after a hard training session.
How has BJJ helped you outside of being a great way to spend your evenings?
BJJ has helped me immeasurably as a means to blow off some steam, hangout with some great people, learn some new and engaging skills and feel that sweet sweet taste of victory when you get a tap. Its also helped me feel more comfortable being completely and utterly helpess which I think is equally as important as feeling completely dominant.
How has BJJ affected your life?
Well I've been out of training for a little while due to having a medial meniscus tear, which is my first sports injury ever. It's made my job harder and not being able to train has really been a huge bummer, particularly because I'd gotten used to the stress relieving aspect of BJJ. But I know i'll be back to 100% eventually and I can't wait to get back to training, catch up on all the stuff I've missed, hopefully get my arse kicked all over again and train a lot smarter from now on. Apart from the injury though, BJJ has been nothing but positive, I still can't stop thinking and talking about it daily and I physically crave having a roll about. BJJ is something I intend to do for the rest of my life.
Do you have any funny stories?
During my frist trial class one of the higher belts mounted me, tied his belt around my hands and neck and proceeded to strangle me while calmly saying, "you're under arrest". It was hilarious but slightly terrifying because I couldn't use my hands to tap and I didn't think to tap with my feet as it was my first class. Luckily he must've seen my eyes were screaming help or my fingers wiggling and he stopped to check if I was ok and why I wasn't tapping.
I've also farted a few times when I've been knee on belly'd 😂
How long have you been training and what belt are you?
I only started training in May, 2017 - currently white belt. I'm a massive noob.
What advice would you give to new people?
Research supplements, strength and conditioning exercises and stay hydrated before / after class, don't just go to the pub after class and smash a load of beers, have some water too. Look after your body and train smarter. Figure out your limitations and try to expand on them. For example i'm flexible, but not very strong, so I've started lifting weights. Some of my training partners are strong as hell, but not very flexible, so they've started doing yoga.
Follow me on instagram at randy_mcranderson