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Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Kirkland, Member Profile, Nathan Bove.

Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Kirkland, Member Profile, Nathan Bove

Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Kirkland, Member Profile, Nathan Bove

Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Kirkland wanted to take some time to introduce some of our students and share a little about them and their journey, insights, and memories of training throughout the last year. This month we are featuring Nathan Bove. Nathan has been training with GB Kirkland for nearly a year now. Below is a short interview we did with Nathan. We welcome you to share your thoughts, favorite memories, and stories with us. You can share them on our Facebook page at or on our website at

GBK: When did you start training?
Nathan Bove: I started training around the middle of February 2015.

GBK: What do you think are the greatest benefits of training at Gracie Barra, Kirkland?
Nathan Bove: Personally, the greatest benefit is my health. I have found my endurance, strength and energy levels to have increased substantially since I started training. I have lost weight, and my blood pressure has come down. My friends have commented that I look like I am in much better shape and I am able to notice a difference in my physical appearance. All this after just a few months of training! I can’t wait till I’ve been training for a year!

GBK: Do you notice a difference in life and at work after you started training bjj at Gracie Barra, Kirkland?
Nathan Bove: I hope you don’t mind if I ramble on for a bit on this question, as it strikes a rather resonating chord in me. I am the type of person who tries to see how everything fits together. I try and find patterns and similarities in things that are not necessarily related. For example, when I played video games competitively, one of the lessons I learned was “don’t play by rules that aren’t part of the game”. Meaning if a person thinks it is “unfair” or “cheap” for me to use a particular tactic or strategy, that is irrelevant. The rules of the game are clearly defined, and anything within the rules is therefore a valid part of the game. When applied more broadly, at work I can see that sometimes when designing a piece of software, people will artificially place constraints on the product that are not part of the design specification. By doing so they limit the solution space and make the engineering challenge more difficult than it needs to be because they are “playing by rules that aren’t part of the game”.

In jiu jitsu, I have found a few nuggets of wisdom that have resonated with me and have made a difference when applied broadly in my day to day life.
1. “The person that wins a roll is not the one who didn’t tap. It is the person who learned more.” – Humility is an essential component of jiu jitsu. Learning to separate your pride from the outcome of a roll is critical in your progression. In life, learning to separate yourself from the outcome of something you are working on is critical to progressing and learning from your mistakes.
2. “You tend to end up in the position you deserve.” – In jiu jitsu, if you are unfamiliar with a particular position, or how to defend against a particular attack, a good opponent is going to probe your reactions to different moves, discover your weakness, and exploit your unfamiliarity. If you find yourself always in the bottom position in jiu jitsu, it is because you have not yet learned how to earn a spot on top yet. In life, you will constantly be tested in your career or other endeavors, these tests will probe your reactions and discover your weakness, and ultimately exploit things your unfamiliarity. If you find yourself not achieving what you want in life, it is because you have not yet learned how to earn the position you desire.
3. “Position before submission” – In jiu jitsu, it is often a mistake to attempt to submit your opponent if doing so would lead to giving up a positional advantage. If the opponent escapes your submission, you will often end up in a worse spot than if you had simply maintained your position and waited for a better opening. In life, it is often a mistake to attempt to attempt to quickly complete a task or a goal if doing so would lead to giving up an otherwise good or stable situation.

GBK: Why did you start training jiu-jitsu and what did you want out of it?
Nathan Bove: There were two main reasons that drove me to start training in jiu jitsu. The first and most significant reason was my health. Along with being significantly overweight, I have stage 2 hypertension (high blood pressure). According to my doctor these two factors put me at roughly triple the risk for heart disease and double the risk for diabetes and stroke. While my health hadn’t started to significantly decline, he informed me that if I didn’t make some changes the life I was living, it would likely lead to serious medical problems.
The second was my desire to be capable of defending myself and my family. I have always felt unprepared for a self defense situation. While I have never been attacked myself, I have seen people attacked and felt completely powerless to intervene. What I wanted out of jiu jitsu when I started is what I still want today, lose weight, lower my blood pressure, and be more capable of making a difference if I am ever put in a situation to defend myself or the people I love.

GBK: What are your favorite submissions and why?
Nathan Bove: My favorite submission has to be the triangle choke. To me it represents the combination of diametrically opposed concepts that seamlessly blend together. You are using the most powerful muscles in your body around some of your opponents weakest muscles. Despite this enormous disparity in comparative musculature, there is often little to no pain involved in the submission. In fact, I consider it to be one of the most gentle submissions one can apply. The simplicity of the application opposed the the massive variety of the setups, positions, and transitions that it can be applied from. There is a certain beauty and elegance in it’s simplicity, it is exactly what you need to obtain a choke, no more, no less. How could you not love the triangle choke?

GBK: What advice would you give to beginners or those who have not tried BJJ?
Nathan Bove: If you haven’t tried it yet, try it. It is amazing. It is one of the most entertaining things I have ever done, and it has gotten me into the best shape I’ve been in my life. I know I might sound like I’m being paid to say that, but I’m not. Just try it and see for yourself.

GBK: What is your most memorable moment in BJJ or on the mats?
Nathan Bove: When I first started training in jiu jitsu, I nearly passed out during the warm-ups. That is not a figure of speech or an exaggeration, my lips turned white, my knees started to wobble, and I had to lay down. For weeks my goal was just to be able to make it through the warms ups. In the first week of April, I was able to make it through all of the warm ups at full speed without skipping any exercises. That is currently my most memorable moment.
*Editor’s note: You try to take away something from every drill, roll, session, class, and partner. It’s really about an accumulation of knowledge. We’re excited to see growth and accomplishments in our students and for the team. Ask Nathan if this answer has changed.

GBK: What is your favorite class at Gracie Barra Kirkland?
Nathan Bove: I train 4 times a week and attend several different courses and I thoroughly enjoy all of them. However, if I had to pick a favorite, I would say the self defense class with coach Dave Hawley is my favorite course. The training is focused on practical application of jiu jitsu concepts in realistic self defense scenarios. Coach Hawley is very attentive and receptive to any ideas that any of the students want to cover or specific scenarios they would like training on. He also does a great job of creating a very challenging, yet encouraging and motivating environment that brings out the best in his students.

We wish Nathan positive vibes on his journey in life and on the mats. Thanks for being part of the team!


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