[by Danny OD]
Beau Tribolet is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and former MMA fighter, having fought under the Bellator MMA banner. After compiling a 7-3 MMA record with all of his wins coming by submission or TKO, Beau stepped away from MMA to focus on further developing his Jiu Jitsu skills. While many fighters who make it to the top promotions started training during childhood, this was not the case with Beau. “I started training in 2006 at Undisputed Tucson. I was a power lifter and I thought all the MMA and BJJ stuff was a bunch of nonsense and just a fad. At that time, Joey Rivera (owner and head coach of Apex MMA) approached me trying to get me to take a grappling class, but each time I refused. I finally ended up taking a class with Joey and got hooked as most people do. Joey has always had a great passion for the sport and I was lucky to have him as my first instructor. His attitude was a big reason I wanted to come back each day. I was fortunate at the time my work schedule allowed me to train a lot, 5-6 times a day and luckily, I avoided any major injury.”
Despite training in a small town, Beau was fortunate to train with several black belts including Manny Flores (owner/head instructor at Daimyo BJJ), The Beauregard Brothers and Rafael Dalhina (Clark Gracie BJJ/La Jolla). “These guys are all top tier black belts now, learning from them when I first started was a gift as I was exposed to many different styles and it helped me develop my jiu jitsu with an open mind.” In addition to the above-mentioned black belts, Beau also spent considerable time training with current Medium-Heavweight No-Gi World Champion Josh Hinger. “Josh created a patented move on my neck, introduced me to “hard training” and taught me how to be tougher than I thought I could be. We trained daily for over three years. Josh is now a black belt world champion at Atos in San Diego.”
All the high-level training ultimately led Beau to Mixed Martial Arts. After practicing Jiu Jitsu for about a year, Beau delved into striking and wrestling to round out his skillset. Despite not learning how to strike properly until he was 32 years old, he made it to one of the premier MMA organizations in the world. “I had a relatively successful MMA career. I was able to fight in Bellator two times. I lost both fights, but just getting there was pretty cool since I was 37 and 38 years old at the time. I was able to fight in their tournament system against world-class black belt, Tim Carpenter and then against future Bellator champion, Liam McGeery. When I stopped fighting in 2013, I started training BJJ full time and cut out all the MMA/striking training.”
Training in Tucson was going well, and Beau was promoted to Black Belt by Shawn Hammonds in 2014. A move to Chandler in 2016 forced Beau to seek out a new training environment. “I joined Gustavo Dantas Jiu Jitsu in Tempe. This school is full of great instructors and training partners and has a great atmosphere. On any given day, there are at least 2-3 world champion/world class players in the room. Being able to hang with the caliber of BJJ players at GD validated my jiu jitsu while also keeping me super humble. There are no easy rounds at GD.”
Competing in MMA and training with high level athletes in Jiu Jitsu can take its toll on both the body and mind, so it’s very common for those who stay training for years to have well developed mental strategies to deal with discomfort. Beau’s advice is pretty simple. “Have fun with the process. From the training, to the drive to the tournament, waiting in the bullpen, stepping on the mat, all of it. Nobody competes in BJJ for the money; they do it because they love it. I always try to tell anyone competing to remember that everyone watching wishes they could be competing and putting it out there the way competitors do. I also insist they take 10 seconds as they walk out to compete that they look around at the crowd, see the stands, find their family and acknowledge them and take that time to realize what they are doing by competing is special, especially on the big stages. Winning is important. No one signs up for a tournament to lose, but it is part of the game. BJJ is a tricky sport and winning doesn’t always happen so it’s important to enjoy the process. I feel this approach frees up the mind and soul a bit and that leads to better performances.”
Having gone through the learning process with martial arts as an adult, Beau has developed an awareness for how to best approach training and competition. His advice for those just getting involved in the sport is to accept that your development is a process filled with wins and also losses. Thus, practitioners should seek out opportunities for growth, rather than only thinking of their competition record. “Losing is inevitable in BJJ, no matter what level a person is at. A loss does not mean much in the big picture of life. A competitor’s family, friends, coaches and teammates only care that a person is not hurt and are very proud of the effort. My suggestion would be for competitors to train hard, do all they can do to prepare for a competition. Also be realistic. If a guy or gal has a full time job, a family and coaches little league; their preparation is going to be different than a sponsored athlete who can train three times a day, it’s important to recognize this and not have crazy expectations. Mostly HAVE FUN and remember you are paying to do this!”
Having good training partners and instructors is essential in order to develop your skills and enjoy your journey in Jiu Jitsu, and Beau has had no shortage of great people around him. “I’d like to thank Josh Hinger, Jason Bukich, Joey Rivera, David Reilly, Shawn Hammonds, The ENTIRE GD Crew and staff and my hero, Ailis “Moose” Tribolet and also everyone I have ever been able to train with. Ever.” You can find Beau on the mats every day at GD Jiu Jitsu and at all the Jiu Jitsu Tournaments in Arizona!