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Meet Sean Downie of Lotus Club Fight & Fitness

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean Downie. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I began training MMA right after I turned 18 as a new way to challenge myself. I grew up playing competitive soccer and baseball and after turning 18, no longer able to play youth sports, I found myself living a rather unhealthy lifestyle without the structure and physical push from playing sports competitively. I had a friend who found a place that was teaching MMA and I had recently discovered the sport and thought it would be a great new challenge. I focused on all aspects of MMA for the first 3-4 years but ultimately found my passion was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I initially had set my sights on a professional career as an athlete, but at that time, the sport was nowhere near as popular as it is now so my goals switched to becoming an instructor and one day operating my own academy. As I was coming up through the ranks in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the West Valley was lacking a high-level Jiu-Jitsu academy that could cater to athletes of all skills and levels. I knew early on that this was a void that I wanted to fill and bring the best instruction and facility possible to the West Valley. As the years have gone on our program has established itself as one of the best Jiu-Jitsu programs in the entire state and certainly the highest-level Jiu-Jitsu program in the West Valley. Over the last 3 years, we are the only Jiu-Jitsu program in Arizona that is ranked in the top 3 for both Youth and Adult Jiu-Jitsu academies and teams. In November of 2020, we moved from our former location to a new, larger facility and have our sights set on reaching even more people now to spread not just the art of Jiu-Jitsu, but Jiu-Jitsu being taught the way it was intended, giving everyday people a whole new level of confidence and the ability to truly understand how to properly defend themselves. On top of our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program, we also offer Kickboxing, Wrestling, Strength and Conditioning, Personal Training, and Group Fitness classes. Our focus is to provide a place for not just competitors, but entire families to be able to work out together and have an activity that the whole family can be involved in together. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It certainly has not been a smooth road. We’ve run into just about every struggle one could think of along the way, but we have always maintained the attitude of forward progress and continued to press on. I would say that our biggest obstacle was probably COVID. When COVID hit, it was an entirely unknown issue with no reference of how to address a situation like that. Obviously, there was the financial issue of being forced to close our doors, but furthermore just the issue of how to proceed after opening back up. Fortunately, we have an amazing member base, most of which were incredibly supportive throughout the process. Moving locations in the middle of the COVID pandemic was probably one of the scariest decisions I have ever made, but it definitely turned out to be the right move as our program has grown exponentially since we have moved to our new location. 

As you know, we’re big fans of Lotus Club Fight & Fitness. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Lotus Club is a global Jiu-Jitsu organization with academies all over the world. We are the representatives of the organization for Arizona with three different academies representing the team. We have our main location located in Peoria along with a satellite school in Goodyear/Avondale and an affiliate academy, Roots BJJ & Fitness, in Mesa. Our focus has consistently been on the idea of quality over quantity. As the years have passed, our program has certainly grown and we now have one of, if not the biggest Jiu-Jitsu programs in Arizona, but the focus has never shifted from maintaining the highest quality instruction, training, and facility possible. We offer a very wide variety of classes and class times starting with a 5 am class Monday- Friday and running classes all the way to 8 pm in the evening. Our evening schedule is designed in a way that families can all train together with classes for both adults and children taking place at the same time, it truly is a great way for families to bond and stay healthy and active together. 

What matters most to you?
What matters most to me is sharing the true essence of Jiu-Jitsu with as many people as possible. I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am today without Jiu-Jitsu in my life. As Jiu-Jitsu has increased in popularity over the years, many people have attempted to water down Jiu-Jitsu to make it more consumer-friendly. Many gym owners tend to shy away from the hard work and high-pressure situations that are afraid will scare people away. The problem with this is that the hard work, the ability to operate in high-pressure situations, and the tough practices are what allow Jiu-Jitsu to shape us. In the same way that the strongest piece of steel can never become a sword without being forged through fire and pounded into shape, a person cannot experience the positive transformations that Martial Arts provides without enduring the same stress. If a person walks into a Jiu-Jitsu academy and is never pushed beyond the limitations, they place on themselves, they will never evolve into the person they are truly capable of becoming. It is important that as humans we never stop growing, never stop pushing ourselves to become a better version of ourselves and never become complacent. As a child my father would always tell me that the moment, we think we’ve reached the top of the mountain, we’re already on our way down. My goal with running a Martial Arts Academy has always been to help people of all ages, backgrounds, and social statuses realize that they are capable of more. I feel that what we have created here at Lotus Club Fight & Fitness is something truly special that helps people improve by showing them they can push themselves farther and adapt to pressure and come out stronger. The strength that our members gain here on the mats will inevitably carry over into their everyday lives and allow them to live happier and healthier lives as better and stronger individuals. 

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