Why did you start BJJ?

I credit Mike Pandolfini 100% with getting me started in the martial arts. He’s been training in a variety of disciplines since we were in high school, and he was always looking for partners to train with in his basement and backyard. After years of asking, I finally took him up on it and starting taking BJJ classes during law school so that we could train together after graduation. Really no deep rhyme or reason as to why I started. During my teens and 20s, I got into a lot of street and/or bar altercations for no good reason and had a fascination with combat sports and the fighting arts. Just wanted to be better equipped than the next guy.

How long ago?

So, technically, I started BJJ my last year of law school (2005) at the Yamasaki Academy in Rockville, MD, but only lasted three months as a white belt there. Moved back to NJ and trained strictly no-gi grappling and muay Thai for the next three years. Finally put the gi back on in or around the beginning of 2008 at the Daddis Cherry Hill location and haven’t taken it off since.

What are the 3 most important things BJJ has taught you?

That BJJ is like everything else in life:

  • Never judge an opponent or adversary by his appearance,
  • If something’s worth having, it will not come easy, and
  • Perfection is unattainable.

What do you enjoy about teaching?

Makes me happy to share what I love, and how I love to do it, with like-minded people.

What is your outside profession?

Trial attorney

Goals for the future?

Train till the wheels fall off.

Finish this sentence: If I knew then what I know now about BJJ, I would…

…have started as a teenager AND studied more as a white/blue belt.

If you could meet anyone in the world/history, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr … just to say thank you.

What is your favorite candy/bar and why?

Twizzlers, because they remind me of going to the theater with my pops as a kid.

Mark Davis