The latest edition of the IBJJF Las Vegas Open took place on Saturday April 29th and brought out plenty of high profile black belts including Marcio Andre, Issac Doederlein, Joao Miyao, and Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa among many others. While IBJJF Las Vegas Open tournaments consistently draw some of the sport’s top talents, these tournaments are also a breeding ground for the sport’s up and coming prospects. GD Jiu Jitsu’s Aaron Wilson is one of those prospects, having now won the Vegas Open at white, blue, purple, and brown belt.
If you were lucky enough to catch any of Aaron’s matches in Vegas, you’d likely describe him as an aggressive guard player with slick submissions from his collar and sleeve control. Those who have trained with Aaron for more than a few weeks, however, will likely tell you about his lightning fast shots and his smooth transitions between his single leg takedowns and guard passes. “I came from a powerhouse wrestling program at Highland High School in Gilbert, Arizona. Every day was a battle at practice and I credit my mental toughness to the years I spent wrestling. I originally started with aspirations of being in the UFC. I didn’t know much about Jiu Jitsu and thought that wrestling was king until I got choked unconscious at my first Jiu Jitsu tournament.”
Prior to competing for the first time, Aaron’s main weapons were his takedowns and top control. ‘’As a white belt I used my wrestling and athleticism to win most of my tournaments. About 6 months into my white belt I signed up for IBJJF U.S National’s and it was there I started playing spider guard and got my first of many triangle chokes. It was a cool feeling. I challenged myself to try something different and accomplished my goal. Now it’s great to have the same confidence in guard as I do in my takedowns. I can pick and choose my poison depending on my opponent. It’s really important to have a well-rounded game.”
Utilizing both takedowns and an aggressive guard game have led to many successful competition performances, but Aaron always seems to compete especially well in Las Vegas. “I’ve been competing in Las Vegas since I was 14 years old. Every year our wrestling program would go to the Green Valley Duals to kick start the season. I have a lot of Vegas roots. One of my best friends and my sister live out in Vegas so it’s always nice to have a tournament out there. Usually it’s a stress free environment and I always have a huge support system cheering me on. I just feel comfortable in Las Vegas, it’s like my 2nd home.”
If the Vegas Open is any indication, 2017 is going to be a big year for Aaron. He plans on continuing to compete and further evolve his game. “Competition is key. I’m ultra-competitive and have been since I was a little kid. I thoroughly enjoy challenging myself and going toe to toe with the best guys in the world. My goals for ’17 are to get on the podium at Worlds and compete and win as many tournaments and super fights as possible. I really want to make a name for myself in Jiu Jitsu this year. I’m not one for trash talking or having poor sportsmanship so the only other way to make a name for myself is results. Results breed confidence and confidence breeds results. I’d also like to give a shoutout to Aggro who have been sponsoring me for the majority of my Jiu Jitsu career.”
For more on Aaron’s day to day training routine be sure to follow him on Instagram @aaronwilsonbjj. For more on Aggro follow @aggro_brand.