MAY Featured Athlete – Chad Hawkins Sport – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu around the age of 28 years old, I put the Gi on at 29 years old and started learning from Heath Pedigo. He painted a picture of being a World Champion. The funny part is, I did the whole process backwards but I knew when I started that I was going to have to work extra hard. I knew with my age, that I was in a sport that most people had years of dedication or at least youth on their side. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is growing fast.
It’s a very competitive sport where nothing is forgiven and some say losing is learning but when your trying to build a name, grow an academy and keep up with all the young studs coming up fast, losing isn’t an option. I started competing right away. I did this knowing I was behind in skill and time, knowing that to catch up, to have a chance in this sport I’d have to compete. It made me completely sick to my stomach knowing that I’d be facing someone I didn’t know and didn’t have a clue what they were going to do. The thought most times is over whelming mentally, even to this day. Heath Pedigo from day one never doubted me. Every time I asked how I was going to do it, he just looked at me and said “your going to win” and that is exactly what I did.
I have won 7 Master World IBJJF Gold Medals, 5 Master Pan American Gold Medals, Abu Dhabi Pro Trials Gold in division and 2nd in absolute to my team mate, 16 IBJJF Chicago Gold Medals, 5 Atlanta IBJJF Gold Medals, BJJ PRO IBJJF Gold Medal, Orlando, Nashville, Gold medals, everything was going very well. It was around 300 wins in my career, right before the last Master Worlds, I herniated my L5/S1 lower back disc. I had many injuries before this that I had overcome but this one being the worst, especially for the way that I play my game.
My first loss in my weight class came at the IBJJF No-Gi Pan Americans, second loss at the IBJJF Master Worlds, third loss at the No-Gi Worlds and forth loss at the IBJJF Pan Americans. Each one of these losses hit me hard because in my mind, the goal was to win. These losses hit hard but never stopped me from the goal. I know my instructor is trying to put our name on the map, Pedigo Submission Fighting. We’re building high level Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competitors and losing wasn’t part of the plan. Then again nothing really ever goes as planned.
I’ve been very lucky in my career to meet some amazing people who have kept me on track and in the fight. Rich Lorton has done amazing things with my back and muscles to help keep me competing at the highest levels, Heath Pedigo has shown me how to get to the top levels and still be competitive. These losses as much as they were a set back in my career, they didn’t stop me from growing myself or this team. Every time I’ve lost I have never missed a beat when it comes to improving. I always returned home and started to study, research, and fix the mistakes I am making.
This sport is something I absolutely love. The strategy behind it, the way people think, move, make choices on the mats is fascinating to me in so many ways. My goal will always remain the same and that is to win. Win in all ways of life. On the mats and off the mats. Being a great competitor, significant other, father, coach, team mate, all around good person. Nothing can stop me except for myself and I choose to always move forward no matter the circumstances.