danielle columby

GD Student of the Month - Domenic Hurtado

GD Student of the Month – Domenic Hurtado

[by Yasmyn Castro]

Domenic Hurtado is a GD Jiu Jitsu Academy student and a freshman at Desert Vista High
School in Phoenix.

Despite being busy with school and all the extra curriculars that come with it, Dom makes time to train Jiu Jitsu nearly every day. “When I came to Arizona I wanted to join a good jiu-jitsu academy quick. The first jiu-jitsu academy I went to was GD. I took the Kids Advanced class to try it out and right away I knew I wanted to stay. Everyone treated me well and were good training partners. Competing for GD is also a great experience because you have so much support, win or lose. My favorite thing about competing is the love and support behind you.”

Although Jiu Jitu and school work keep Dom very busy, he also wrestles on the varsity
Thunder wrestling team. “I wrestle varsity on the Thunder wrestling team. I did wrestling because I knew it would help with my Jiu Jitsu and a college degree if I do really well. Wrestling has helped me with the beginning of my Jiu Jitsu match. I have learned stronger takedowns and ways to pin people down. I’ve learned things like low shots, single leg trips and how to have better pressure.

Wrestling really emphasizes being first so you can get ahead in the match. It helped me realize it’s the same for Jiu Jitsu.”

Dom’s training in Jiu Jitsu and wrestling are preparing him for his ultimate goals. “In the
future I want to be an MMA fighter. I want wrestling to get me a scholarship and Jiu Jitsu is going to help me toward my goal of becoming an MMA fighter and opening my own gym.

These are my goals for the future and the path I want to take.”


GD Student of the Month - Danielle Columby

GD Student of the Month – Danielle Columby

Many Jiu Jitsu practitioners often start their training after transitioning from another sport. It is less common though to be competitive in Jiu Jitsu while simultaneously competing in a different sport. GD Jiu Jitsu blue belt Danielle Columby has been training and competing in Jiu Jitsu for the last year and a half in addition to remaining active in powerlifting competitions. “I was really looking for something else to challenge me with more cardio training besides powerlifting. I wrestled all four years of high school, and never knew about any other types of grappling. Once the stress of finals were over for the semester, I gave it a try and have been hooked ever since!”

It is always helpful to come from a competitive sports background before starting Jiu Jitsu as athletes are familiar with the process of setting goals and putting in the work necessary to achieve them. “I have been a competitive powerlifter for almost 6 years now. When I first started powerlifting I didn’t even know what a deadlift was and now I am ranked number 3 in the world. I love to set a goal and make improvements daily to help reach those goals. I am a nurse and work three days a week, which leaves me 4 days to fit in all of the fun stuff! I lift for about 2 hours and then make it to the academy for 10 AM class and I also try to make it in for an evening class, if I don’t have to work the next morning.”

One of the main aspects of Jiu Jitsu that distinguishes it from other sports is that it practiced by people from many different backgrounds and abilities. Many practitioners have goals that are unique to them. As Danielle explains, GD Jiu Jitsu Academy has established an atmosphere that is conducive to all types of students with unique goals. “I love the atmosphere and comrade we have at the academy, which has made me feel welcomed since day one. It’s exciting to come in everyday and have people you are looking forward to seeing and learning from. Coaching can be very individualized and all of our coaches care about learning our styles and helping us grow from that.”

With two different sports to train and compete in, Danielle has her sights set on a variety of goals for 2018. “My goals this year for powerlifting are to compete at least 2 more times and hit a 400 deadlift in competition. For Jiu Jitsu my goals are to stay consistent with class and competing also. Jiu Jitsu competitions make me so much more nervous than lifting competitions and I think competing more would help. You really are never as tired as you think you are and competing helps me realize what my lungs and brain are capable of! Jiu Jitsu is a sport of never ending learning and something that can never be mastered, which is humbling.”