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Meet Jay Pages of Jay Pages Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Chandler

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jay Pages.

Jay, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always been involved in the martial arts. Truth be told, I was. and I still am, horrible at ball sports. For some reason, I simply didn’t have the hand-eye coordination for any ball sport, with the exception for soccer. That, I was able to do. I wasn’t the best, but I was able to play the game and not completely suck at it. What I did excel at, what I gravitated to as a child, more than any other activity, martial arts!

Martial arts have been in my family in one form or another, to one degree or another, from my father and his brothers, down to myself and my cousins. Martial arts was always in and a part of our lives growing up. There was something about combat that always interested more than throwing a ball or skating across ice. Whether it was all the movies I watched as a kid, my family, or a combination of the two, martial arts stuck with me and I’ve never wanted to do anything else.

As I grew older, as my tastes changed and matured, so did my interests within the martial arts. As a kid, I wanted to be like the guys in the movies. High-flying, twisting, turning, kicking, and punching everyone into submission. That was until 1993 and I saw the first Ultimate Fighting Championship. That first event opened my eyes to reality. After seeing a smaller man defeat larger opponents with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I had to do that! I had to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!

After the first UFC, I searched high and low for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school. My search came up with nothing. Where I grew up, my options were very limited. It was a small town. So I took what I could find. Through my search, I found a school and started studying Shooto or Shoot Wrestling and I Wrestled in high school as well. As my studies of grappling pursued, I participated in multiple full contact karate matches. It was the closest we had to a full-blown Mixed Martial Arts fight (MMA).

I soon moved to Arizona to attend ASU for college. As soon as I moved, I started searching for a new place to train and I eventually found a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) school that I would be at for the next 5 years, and the rest is history.

Not too long after joining the BJJ School, I had my first full MMA fight. It was a very historic event. The first attempt at the event was canceled by Senator John McCain. The promotor jumped through some hoops and was able to get another one going shortly after. I was a part of that first MMA event ever held in Arizona and I was the first fight of that evening. It was a true honor no one can take away from me. I continued to fight and accumulated a record of 5 amateur wins, 0 loss and 2 pro wins, 1 draw. I also held the first-ever ISCF (International Sports Combat Federation) lightweight title. After my last pro fight, I retired from MMA competition. I no longer had the desire to get punched in the face.

The years went by, I concentrated on just Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu working on furthering my development in the art itself. One day, I had a friend and his business partner open up a franchise location across the street from where I lived. They were part of a chain of fitness facilities based out of Southern California. I got a call, asked if I wanted to teach/coach, I said heck yeah and I never looked back. At the time, I had a full-time job, a wife, a daughter, and a full schedule. Time went by, my student base grew, I became busier with coaching and personal training, it got to a point where I had to quit my full-time job.

My friend that hired me to teach, passed away shortly after and his partner more or less ran it into the ground. Of the two partners, my buddy was more hands-on with the gym and more involved with his employees. I truly miss him. I still celebrate his life every year. I even have a memorial for him tattooed on my calf.

After a short time of poor management after my friends’ death, I had to move on. It was a sign that I need to open up my own business and run things the way I see fit. With my background in web development and an MBA in Marketing, I felt more confident in this venture than most would. I don’t regret one bit of it. I started small and slowly grew into what I am today. My own business, my own boss, no partners, no debt, and 300+ students I call friends and family.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Far from a smooth road. I was very challenging. I didn’t have a mentor I could look up to for guidance in any part of this process. I was alone. Most everything I did, all of my successes and failures were all endured through trial and error. How to teach, what to teach, interpersonal skills with students, and business owners, and how to market to a very limited demographic and market to a demographic that does not know yet that they want to take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Although the UFC has made it easier to sell our product, it was still very difficult because there are far more out there that do not know than know what BJJ is.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Jay Pages Jiu-Jitsu Academy – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We’re a martial arts school. We specialize in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). We’re known to be one of the top BJJ teams in Arizona. The one thing that makes me proud of my business/company is our retention. I pride myself in having a very low turnover rate with larger than average class sizes. I believe the thing that attributes to the low turnover and what sets us apart is our environment! The people, the coaches, and myself. I worked my tail off to truly create a family-friendly environment. Another thing that sets us apart, unlike most other business like mine, I teach most of the classes. Where other businesses have it sourced out to one of their students, I do it all myself. We’re also the only business in our industry that has an early morning, 6 am class 5 days a week. Something I’ve been doing for over 10 years. Class training time and availability is another aspect of our business that sets us apart.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Future plans? Growth! A larger facility, more mat space, and a larger student base. If I build it, they will come! I’m also working on growing my affiliate program into other countries outside the US.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF)

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