Today, Revolution Interviews is interviewing Vince Newton. Vince is an example of a great training partner and is well versed in BJJ. Vince can be seen training jiu-jitsu at the gym on Wednesday’s No-Gi class and on Sunday’s Open Mat.
Revolution Interviews: Hello Vince Newton. First of all, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. I understand you have quite a bit of experience in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and I’d like to help our members get to know you a bit more.
RI: What rank are you in BJJ?
Vince Newton: I’m a new brown belt.
RI: How many years have you been training?
VN: I started out in the late 80’s kicking and punching in tae kwon do. Then, i saw Royce Gracie in the mid 90’s ruling the UFC, and he made me want to grapple. I found my way to VCU’s Judo Club in 1995 where i met Dave and Tim Wooton, Kevin Santi, Andrew Smith, Jarrett Church, Trey Martin, Russ Helm, and many, many of our like-minded friends who went on to other area schools. We all trained and grew together.
RI: Can you tell us how you first got into BJJ and what motivated you to do so?
VN: Andrew had set out on his pilgrimage from VCU Judo to study BJJ on the side in the late 90’s. Everything he learned and saw, he brought back to us. By the turn of the century, my body was suffering from being thrown around like a rag doll. I was getting older and figured I’d be safer on the ground. Andrew soon opened up his own school associated with Eric Burdo and our Brazilian founding fathers, Rodrigo and Julio. So, it was a natural progression for me to follow Andrew and everyone else in the Revolution.
RI: How often do you train?
VN: I train twice a week. I need the time to heal in between workouts. I’ll be 50 years old in February of 2012. At this point, I can’t really remember a time when something didn’t hurt at least a little bit. But, BJJ has something for that. You learn to adapt to what your body can and can’t do. And you keep on rolling. And it always feels better after a workout.
RI: What do you love most about BJJ?
VN: BJJ is a perfect fit for my personality. It’s like a chess match between two players who respect each other’s skills. I’m not very aggressive, I’m basically a reactive person. And BJJ allows me to keep that perspective in some very confrontational situations. For me, i care much less about winning than i do about surviving. Most of the people I train with are younger, stronger, bigger, and often better than me. But, if i can manage to roll around with them for a while and hang in there without getting hurt, i feel pretty good about that.
RI: Why do you train at Revolution BJJ?
VN: I’m lucky enough to have met Andrew 15 years ago. He’s my mentor. I’ve always liked his BJJ sensibilities. He’s relaxed, focused, flexible, and technical – a true scholar. His school has always been open to all, and he views the BJJ community as a brotherhood. Anyone is welcome at his school anytime, it doesn’t matter where you come from.
RI: We understand you run the open mat program on Sundays, what is it, and what can new students at Revolution BJJ expect when they come in for open mat?
VN: Open mat is the continuation of a practice we used to have at VCU Judo. It’s an open day when people can come and visit and roll. All in the grappling community are welcome – BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, what have you. It’s all about community.
RI: What advice do you have for new students at Revolution BJJ?
VN: Advice? Give yourself time. Time to learn, time to make mistakes and learn from them, and time to heal. Don’t overtrain. Open your heart and your mind and come have some fun. It’s a blast. It really doesn’t take long to learn the game, if you open up. You first learn to defend the attacks that they throw at you. Then, you learn to respond with your own attacks. There’s always someone not quite as good as you, and always someone better than you. Appreciate your place in the grand scheme and work to get better in the evolution of this beautiful art form.
RI: How do you feel BJJ has affected your life?
VN: BJJ has allowed me to grow into the person i really wanted to be. I wish I’d had the opportunity to join this community when i was so much younger.
Revolution Interviews would like to thank you for your time today, Vince. We appreciate your insight and look forward to seeing you on the mat!