Age: 42 | Height: 6’ 4” | Starting Weight: 240lbs | Current Weight: 195lbs
Hometown: Florence, SC | Home School: SwampFox Jiu-Jitsu | Instructor: Tim Jones
Brian Edwards was a big guy (he weighed 240lbs) when he started training jiu-jitsu eight years ago. That might seem like a lot, but at six feet four inches tall, we’d say that’s probably about right. He found jiu-jitsu not out of a desire to make some life altering change but looking for the best form of self-defense he could. Little did he know then that jiu-jitsu would change his life for the better in many, many ways. He recently received his black belt. He’s a Pan Am Brown Belt Gold Medalist, a 2x Brown Belt World No Gi Gold Medalist, a 19x NAGA Gold Medalist, a 14x SC State Gold Medalist, a 4x US Grappling Gold Medalist, a 6x Monster Cup Gold Medalist and a Fight Lab Grappling titleholder. To date, he’s competed in over 200 competitive grappling matches since 2008.
How did you discover jiu-jitsu?
I discovered jiu-jitsu by researching the most effective forms of self-defense. I started out taking private lessons and training in a garage out of town until our local school opened in 2008.
What motivates you to train?
Several factors motivate me to train – jiu-jitsu makes me a better father, husband, and all around person. I am 42 and in the best shape of my life. Jiu-jitsu and competing motivates me to eat right and workout on a daily basis. My best friends are now my jiu-jitsu partners. We share the same bond and love for jiu-jitsu. I am not sure I could quit even if I wanted to!
What else do you do for physical fitness?
I lift weights and do metabolic conditioning five times a week. Mostly concentrating on movements and lifts that complement jiu-jitsu.
How have you changed your diet?
Jiu-jitsu has caused me to greatly change my diet. I have given up processed foods and try and stick with lean meats and vegetables with occasional fruit. I try and focus on foods that help with performance and recovery.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge so far has been time. I am the father of five beautiful little girls. Fortunately, my oldest three girls train BJJ. But time is a commodity. I have had to find ways to workout and train at odd times and even bought mats for our bonus room in our house.
What’s been the best benefit from the changes you’ve made?
The biggest benefit from the jiu-jitsu lifestyle is just a better, more fulfilling, and all around happier life. A better well-being. I am happier in my own skin than I have ever been. More content than ever. It’s paradoxical, but somehow getting beat up regularly and tapping is good for a man’s soul.
What advice would you give to someone else looking to make the same sort of change?
The best piece of advice that I can give is to set goals and stick with a plan. Change and progress take time. Do not listen to the naysayers and surround yourself with people that lift you higher. There will always be bumps in the road, but let nothing derail you. It’s worth it. Anything worth having is hard work. And read JJM!