I sit down with Dakota Wader for a brief chat before his Fight to Win and Gym Wars debuts
So if you made this far you are probably thinking this is a brief chat. I lied. However thanks for the effort and if you do somehow make it to the end give yourself a pat on the back you've earned it! If you don't know who Dakota Wader is here is a grappling resume he put together for you:
You can also find Dakota here:
As for the interview. This interview was conducted in person and it was edited in the tiniest way to eliminate some dead air and fill ins. Dakota has a Fight to Win match and a Gym Wars match coming up this weekend and next month respectively. So without further ado off to the interview:Sleeve and Collar: What is your full name?
Dakota Wader: My full name is Dakota Wader
Sleeve and Collar: Awesome Dakota and you’ve obviously trained in Jiu Jitsu so how long have you been training in Jiu Jitsu for?
Dakota Wader: Just over four and a half years, it will be five years for me November so...
Sleeve and Collar: And your current rank is?
Dakota Wader: Purple belt
Sleeve and Collar: Sweet, and what is your Jiu Jitsu history like? Where did you train, how did you start?
Dakota Wader: So when I actually first started training I did about six months when I was about fifteen years old and then I turned sixteen got a full-time job, still in high school, I didn't really have much time. So after about six months I stopped, I started back up when I was I think nineteen, and I started back up under Noel Smith in Glen Bernie and stayed with him all the way up until about a year and a half ago and then I came over to Conquest in Millersville, MD.
Sleeve and Collar: Nice, what got you started at fifteen?
Dakota Wader: So, actually, I’ve never really told the story before so you are going to get a
Sleeve and Collar: Exclusive?
Dakota Wader: Yeah. So, I was probably, I want to say it was early tenth grade, it was still fall out and I used to ride BMX a lot with my buddies and one of my friends was going, he had a problem with some other kids and they were going to go fight, so I was going with them, and when we showed up…
Sleeve and Collar: You were going as back up?
Dakota Wader: Yeah you know, you got to have your friends back. You know he's gonna bring people, so I show up with them and so they fight and of course my buddy wins and then one of his friends wasn't happy about that and wanted to fight and so he decided he was to going fight me because I was the only other person there. So, you know I thought I was tough shit because my older brother used to beat me up when I was a kid and I felt like I could handle myself, so we go to fight and he gets around my back and puts me in a rear naked choke and my friend had to step in and stop him because he was not going to let go so I decided that's not ever going to happen again so I started training.
Sleeve and Collar: Did that kid actually train Jiu Jitsu?
Dakota Wader: No, I don't think so he just probably just watched UFC or something and ended up, he snapped me down pretty good you know like you're facing the ground, pretty much like wrestling style snap down, hit me on the head a few times, got around to the back and just locked up a rear naked choke.
Sleeve and Collar: Did he choke you out or did you tap?
Dakota Wader: Of course you've got to tap but that's not the rules when it's a street fight so… I can't blame him for not letting go but my buddy was there
Sleeve and Collar: So, you trained for how long at that point? Six months you said?
Dakota Wader: Probably about six months and I didn't start training until after that so training for about six months and of course work and being in high school got in the way
Sleeve and Collar: I got you where did you train for that six
Dakota Wader: It was actually right by Conquest called Club One Fitness right back there I don't even know it's still there, they had a pretty good boxing program and they had a Jiu Jitsu program and that was really…the only thing in the area way back then. I don't even actually I can’t even think of the year that it would have been there
Sleeve and Collar: Who were their instructors there?
Dakota Wader: It was actually Coach Crawford. Jason Park (Conquest Team Mate) knows him and trains boxing with him still. I don't even know if he is a Jiu Jitsu black belt I'm pretty sure he was a Judo black belt with Jiu Jitsu experience or something in that manner, but when went in there I was expecting just a Jiu Jitsu class you know just like based off what you watch on UFC and all that and so I went in and if you've never seen Coach Crawford you wouldn't really just looking at him, he doesn't look athletic or anything he just looks like an older middle age dude, he has a belly on him, just real unassuming. So I go in there and there's probably two or three other people in the class and sign up, go in there and he gives me a Judo gi, I didn't know anything at the time so I was like awesome it's a gi it’s like forty bucks and start training and everything, we went over a lot of basics and it turns out it wasn't actually just a Jiu Jitsu class, we did a lot of Muay Thai basics in there and everything so, it worked out it gave me a good base to work off of for when I started training again later.
Sleeve and Collar: Nice, so now you're at Conquest. You're a purple belt, you've been at Conquest for how long? A year now did you say?
Dakota Wader: I came over February, not this year, but last year. So just over a year
Sleeve and Collar: Nice and obviously we're doing this interview because you have a couple events coming up what's the first one? And, when is it?
Dakota Wader: The first one is Fight to Win Pro 42 in Pittsburgh and that's going to be July 28th… about a week and a half away.
Sleeve and Collar: Alright and the second one?
Dakota Wader: The second one is Gym Wars 4 and that's in Crisfield, Maryland on August 19th
Sleeve and Collar: Nice alright. Fight to Win, have you watched any of that promotions events before or how did you find out about them?
Dakota Wader: I've been watching them for a while on FLOgrappling and then Brian, of course, had a match there, Brian Clouser from Conquest and so that was the first one I actually attended in person and you know it's cool watching online and everything but being there in person is something different of course if you've been to MMA fights and things like that you know it's way better in person
Sleeve and Collar: Yeah you have the raised mat and the production like the fog machines and shit and having the walk outs pro wrestling style
Dakota Wader: Yeah it was definitely way more legit than I expected it to be
Sleeve and Collar: They make their grapplers look like rock stars
Dakota Wader: Yeah, so I did some research into it and I realized you could apply right on their site so I applied for the Philly one that just happened that Matt (Schellenschlager) was on and then I also applied for the one on the 28th and they contacted me back and said the guy's name and asked if I wanted the match? And I said yes of course
Sleeve and Collar: Awesome! And who is your opponent?
Dakota Wader: Will Dwyer out of Renzo Gracie
Sleeve and Collar: Alright, obviously he’s also a purple belt?
Dakota Wader: Yeah
Sleeve and Collar: What weight are you guys competing at?
Dakota Wader: 170
Sleeve and Collar: 170, nice and is the Gym Wars event going to be 170 as well?
Dakota Wader: Well, Gym Wars is kind of a gentlemen's agreement on the weight. The guy is a lot bigger for that one and it's no time limit on that one. So, he's supposed to come in at 175, and we're not even stepping on the scale so who knows what he is really going to be…
Sleeve and Collar: Oh really?
Dakota Wader: Yeah
Sleeve and Collar: Why is that? Is that every match…is that how Gym Wars runs it?
Dakota Wader: Yes, that’s how Gym Wars does it
Sleeve and Collar: And every match is no time limit as well?
Dakota Wader: Yeah
Sleeve and Collar: No time limit submission only?
Dakota Wader: Yeah
Sleeve and Collar: Have you been to a Gym Wars event before?
Dakota Wader: No, but I know Mike Otwell (old training partner) has done a few of them. That's someone I used to train with at Noel's when they used to stop by and I'm pretty sure he won his matches there if I remember correctly.
Sleeve and Collar: Did you talk to him about the promotion and everything else?
Dakota Wader: No, Stephen Miller (local grappler) posted some videos of himself competing there so I kind of got an idea of how it's run
Sleeve and Collar: I got you
Dakota Wader: It seems like it's going to be a pretty good event as well. Of course, you know there's no way for them beat the way Fight to Win sets up their events but from what I hear, it's also pretty good.
Sleeve and Collar: Yeah and Fight to Win has to be the premiere grappling event especially for people that aren't at the black belt level. Obviously, because you got EBI’s and ADCC’s all the super fight's etc, but Fight to Win's are definitely the most entertaining and the production value is incredible and FLOgrappling covers it. Cool man, so without giving away any secrets how is training going for these matches? Do you have any particular game plans in place? Are you working on any certain things for these matches?
Dakota Wader: Yeah, I do, I mean of course buckling down on everything that you're good at already, drilling that until you're completely exhausted and also I'm kind of letting myself get a little bit deeper into bad positions and working my way out of it just trying to feel it out and see how far I can let it go before I address it and see if I can still get out at that point
Sleeve and Collar: When it comes to Jiu Jitsu are you more of a flowy guy, high pressure or top game only, do you like to play on the bottom?
Dakota Wader: So, when I first came over to Conquest I was pretty much a 100% guard player more flowy, I didn’t understand the concept of pressure at all as much as I like to think I did and you know training with guys like Rich (Richard Semides) I have to kind of step it up a little bit, you can't get away with anything with those guys on the competition team so I would say I’m kind of filling out my game at this point I feel pretty good about my passing and my pressure. I feel like I have a good idea when it's time to flow with the guy versus when it’s time to buckle down and lock him in place. I'm feeling pretty good about it.
Sleeve and Collar: (Spoken in Joking) You're a purple belt so you should know pretty much everything at this point. Is your goal to become a black belt and compete at that level? What are your goals in Jiu Jitsu?
Dakota Wader: Yes, I would love that too, in order to go out and be on a lot of the main cards and go against the top guys at the black belt level eventually
Sleeve and Collar: When you say main cards are you talking about Fight to Win?
Dakota Wader: Yeah, I mean Fight to Win, Five Grappling has some promotions that they run with a lot of high-level black belts and things like that and of course all the IBJJF tournaments so that would be the top goal that I have as far as Jiu Jitsu but I also have a career outside of Jiu Jitsu and so I would say unless I get some really good offers or I just get tired of working there pretty much I wouldn’t say that Jiu Jitsu is my full-time job just because I also have the other career that I have to go to Monday through Friday
Sleeve and Collar: And what’s that Monday to Friday?
Dakota Wader: I do electrical design for MC Dean. It's a company in Baltimore. I think we’re the biggest nonunion electrical contractor so I do design work for them mostly in 3D models and coordination, things like that
Sleeve and Collar: Did you go to school for that?
Dakota Wader: No actually, I met the guy who got me the job in Jiu Jitsu. Apparently, I helped him on his first day, I don't even remember any of that
Sleeve and Collar: Were you a white belt at the time?
Dakota Wader: No, I think I was a blue belt and when he came in and started training at Noel's with me. I think I overheard him talking to another person about some computer problems and something about job options. I walked over of course and started talking to him about it and he ended giving me the job and it's worked out great so far
Sleeve and Collar: That's cool, you meet a lot of neat and interesting people in Jiu Jitsu. Would you say the majority of the people you hang out with come from Jiu Jitsu after having trained for so long at this point?
Dakota Wader: Yeah, I would say other than my girlfriend's family and friends all my friends are friends from Jiu Jitsu it's weird how that works out. Over time some of your normal friends they just don't get it so they kind of fade off for the most part other than a few here and there
Sleeve and Collar: So you talk to them still?
Dakota Wader: Yeah definitely, I still hang out with them every once in a while
Sleeve and Collar: That's cool. What's a funny, interesting story you got from Jiu Jitsu?
Dakota Wader: Yeah we are going to be here for hours if I do that
Sleeve and Collar: Funniest story you have from Jiu Jitsu
Dakota Wader: I don't know man I mean most of my time is spent training pretty hard so we don't really goof off too much but I would say the funniest thing I’ve seen as far as Jiu Jitsu is being at a local tournament and a guy having so much shoulder pressure put on him that he shit his pants
Sleeve and Collar: Oh wow!
Dakota Wader: Yeah so that was actually Newbreed (Newbreed Tournament Series) right up by Conquest
Sleeve and Collar: Yeah so maybe we shouldn't say that person's name.
Dakota Wader: I actually don't know his name. I want to say he’s a blue belt if I remember correctly but he had a white gi on and that’s not a day to wear a white gi so I was just glad it wasn’t me
Sleeve and Collar: Yeah I feel bad for those kinds of accidents that happen, it happened at a UFC event just recently as well but we won’t discuss that.
Sleeve and Collar: What is something about you that no one that you train with and none of your close friends knows? It doesn't have to be like some crazy ass I like to kill children or anything like that.
Dakota Wader: Man honestly there's not much else that I do other than train and work and that's about it and so yeah!
Sleeve and Collar: Boring life huh?
Dakota Wader: Yes pretty much I mean other than Jiu Jitsu that's what I like to do
Sleeve and Collar: In your spare time is anything like Jiu Jitsu on YouTube you watch or any people that you follow? Any grapplers that you like to watch?
Dakota Wader: All through blue belt, I followed a lot of Keenan Cornelius and I feel like that's where a lot of my guard came from and trying to flow around people and stuff
Sleeve and Collar: You play a lot of worm guard?
Dakota Wader: Yeah actually I had his DVD's for a while, Mark (Mark Geineder) from Noels let me borrow them for a few months so I studied those until I couldn’t find anything else I felt like I needed to know
Sleeve and Collar: So you're saying you know everything about the worm guard?
Dakota Wader: No just from his DVD's there but you know he's always coming out with new stuff
Sleeve and Collar: Is there anybody else you like to watch? Anybody, you like to watch compete?
Dakota Wader: Marcio Andre, Edwin Najmi, Most of the guys around my weight class I mean I like to watch Buchecha and bigger guys but there's not too much that I can pull out of there and try and dissect that I could use for myself I mean there are things here and there but a lot of the stuff they do they are just powerhouses
Sleeve and Collar: So you just watch middleweight?
Dakota Wader: I try to stick around lightweight, I like to watch a lot of the smaller guys too like Bruno Malfacine, Caio Terra, Kristian Woodmansee, Jeff Glover, and the Mendes Brothers
Sleeve and Collar: So who are your coaches over at conquest now?
Dakota Wader: Vicente Junior is the main coach over there and you also have Lance Trippett, Nate Grebb and Kail Bosque
Sleeve and Collar: Nice and you're part of the competition team?
Dakota Wader: Yes and I can't forget Matt Schellenschlager he's just been promoted to black belt and has coach status now
Sleeve and Collar: Who are your main training partners on the competition team?
Dakota Wader: I would say Matt (Matt Schellenschlager) for sure, he and I always end up drilling together and he's the same size and he likes hard rolls so I’ll say for sure Matt. I mean you could pretty much include everyone else you know, T.R. (TR Fleming), Nando (Fernando Iribe), the guys my size I try to work with.
Sleeve and Collar: And how often are you training? Like let’s say average week; how many times do you find yourself at the gym?
Dakota Wader: Average week, training sessions I would say probably around eight to nine
Sleeve and Collar: Per week?
Dakota Wader: Yeah
Sleeve and Collar: So you’re doing two a day sessions on certain days?
Dakota Wader: Yes, I do two a days on Tuesdays, Thursdays with the nogi class added. That puts me at two on Tuesday and Thursday and then Saturday and Sunday open mats. I usually get one day of rest, so you can put that in anywhere, whether it's on Wednesday or Saturday, one of those are usually my rest days you can put that in where ever.
Sleeve and Collar: How old are you?
Dakota Wader: 23
Sleeve and Collar: 23? Damn! You need rest days?
Dakota Wader: Here and there only when I'm doing two a days and lifting, that's usually when it kicks in. I only see you in the gym like twice a week so....
Sleeve and Collar: Do you supplement your Jiu Jitsu with anything else like yoga, power lifting, diet?
Dakota Wader: Yeah, I do yoga here and there, it's hard to get like, once you get in the groove with doing yoga with Jiu Jitsu back to back it works out but as soon as you take a small break you just kind of fall off and so every once in a while I'll get back into that for like a week here and there and then I also go to Gold's and lift with Big Rich (Richard Semides) every now and then, so try to keep that to about two or three times a week to do strength training at Gold's.
Sleeve and Collar: Strength training? Okay. Do you do any further conditioning like Crossfit, sprints, hill sprints or anything like that?
Dakota Wader: Not really, I mean I like.., actually, I would say going back to the question of what nobody else knows about me from Conquest would be I actually go cycling, like I'm not full spandexed out or anything but I kind of use that as an extra cardio tool. I used to run a lot but it definitely tears up your knees after a few weeks of running hard.
Sleeve and Collar: You ride on a road bike?
Dakota Wader: Yeah.
Sleeve and Collar: Do you go for distance or intervals?
Dakota Wader: I put a heart rate monitor on and I actually try to do it where it's like interval training, so I'll kick up a gear and I work my ass off till my heart rate is at certain point for a certain amount of time and then I'll lower it back down to a certain point for a certain amount of time to recover and then do that over and over again for a certain amount of time.
Sleeve and Collar: And you feel that’s been definitely helping you with your grappling cardio?
Dakota Wader: Yeah for sure, I feel like I can go harder for a lot longer now and it also helps the strength training a little bit. They tie together pretty good
Sleeve and Collar: That's always been an argument in Jiu Jitsu. How do you get better cardio in Jiu Jitsu?, Is it finding other kinds of cardio to work on? Interval training, sprints whatever and you know a lot of people, their argument is if you want better Jiu Jitsu cardio to do more Jiu Jitsu
Dakota Wader: Yeah, I mean I definitely think that's true. You do hit a certain point though after rolling for like an hour and a half, two hours where you can sit a round out as many times as you want, you're just not going to get back to the point where you're rolling effectively
Sleeve and Collar: So you feel like you’re getting worse.
Dakota Wader: Yeah, after about two hours of rolling, you definitely get worse
Sleeve and Collar: So you do those two hours marathon sessions?
Dakota Wader: Yeah during open mats
Sleeve and Collar: That's awesome man. So for the no time limit sub only I guess that's the next camp right after your Fight to Win but are you doing anything special for that just to prepare for no time limit?
Dakota Wader: Yeah well, the two a days obviously helps with rolling twice a day and then going up to Penn state for work on Mondays and Thursdays. I found another gym up there that will do their normal class and then their guys also stay after and roll, so I get probably about an hour and half of rolling up there on Wednesday nights.
Sleeve and Collar: What gym is that?
Dakota Wader: It’s Raptor BJJ it's a Tony Passos gym the guy’s name is Jeff (Jeff Rockwell), he's the black belt instructor there
Sleeve and Collar: Nice, that's awesome they're nice, no politics and they were able to let you come in and get some training. Are they aware that you have these events coming up?
Dakota Wader: Yeah, I think they know about the Fight to Win but not the Gym Wars. But they are good people up there and I’m actually going to see them again tomorrow.
Sleeve and Collar: Nice and they're obviously okay with you coming up there and training, not worrying about you seeing their guy's game plans and things like that
Dakota Wader: Yeah, I mean it's a smaller gym but they have a lot of really good guys up there and they roll hard so there is really no complaints up there. I don’t know if they’re that competitive as far as IBJJF and going out and doing that so I don’t think that they are that worried about it
Sleeve and Collar: Okay
Dakota Wader: I'm pretty sure they're kind of branched off from our lineage so that kind of helps as well
Sleeve and Collar: What do you mean by branched off?
Dakota Wader: Tony Passos is a black belt under De La Riva lineage and Vicente Junior is a 4th degree De La Riva black belt
Sleeve and Collar: Ok is that how you got an in at the gym? Through VJ (Vicente Jr.)?
Dakota Wader: No actually I know a guy named Alec Castro. I added him up on Facebook a while ago and he trains up there and just having work up there it ended up working out down the road actually when I added him I didn't know that I was going to have work up there ever or ever going up there to train at his gym so it ended up working out in the long run. He's actually pretty helpful, like the gym is kind of hidden in the back and it's kind of like a complex but it says like H&S Security or something on the door you would never expect it to be a gym so he gave me really good instructions on how to get there
Sleeve and Collar: So is the gym at the back of the office or something?
Dakota Wader: No it's actually kind of like a general fitness place but if you go into the back room they have mats set up back there but it's kind of hidden off to the side
Sleeve and Collar: And what is the name of your friend you met on social media?
Dakota Wader: Alec Castro
Sleeve and Collar: What rank is he?
Dakota Wader: He is purple
Sleeve and Collar: And you met him on Facebook or something?
Dakota Wader: Yeah I mean I don’t know if he added me or I added him
Sleeve and Collar: You guys meet each other in like in a tournament or something before that?
Dakota Wader: We may have, I go to a lot of different tournaments where I meet a lot of different people
Sleeve and Collar: What's your competition record like to this point?
Dakota Wader: As far as wins and losses I will say I definitely have more losses but lately it's been switching around for me
Sleeve and Collar: So purple belt is kind of like when you hit your stride you would say maybe?
Dakota Wader: Yeah I mean I've won a lot of stuff a blue belt but it was more local tournaments I didn't really start doing any IBJJF until purple belt so when I first started doing that it was like a whole another level of competition these guys at purple belt IBJJF the guys who win all the time definitely make Jiu Jitsu their life that's what they do for their job they don't really do much else
Sleeve and Collar: Do you view the IBJJF as the top level of Jiu Jitsu competition?
Dakota Wader: That's an interesting conversation. I would say there is definitely the best submission only guys and the best IBJJF guys and then depending on the ruleset it depends on who would win when you put them together
Sleeve and Collar: Do you see it as two different types of competitors or two different types of competition?
Dakota Wader: Two different types competition definitely. Like the way I'm trying to train now is not the same way that I train for IBJJF when I train for IBJJF I try to work more positions and even if I see a submission there I'll try and create a scramble and work positions and just work my transitions over and over and over to make sure I have those dialed in. For submission only I definitely will jump on any submission even if I have to lose position for it just because points don't matter
Sleeve and Collar: I got you. In your opinion do you feel that points only guys can do well in sub only and then on the flip side do you believe that sub only guys can do well in IBJJF competition?
Dakota Wader: Yeah, in my opinion, I think it's easier for the points only guys to make the transition better just because they can go in there and control the positions a lot better, hold people down and make sure they get what they want. The sub only guys tend to give up position a lot easier so I think it kind of hurts them in the points and it takes a while to get out of that habit
Sleeve and Collar: You don't think that the points only guys are butt scooters that just pull guard in sub only tournaments?
Dakota Wader: Yeah you can call me a butt scooter my takedowns are not where I want them to be but I have plenty time to work on that
Sleeve and Collar: Are you currently working on that?
Dakota Wader: Yeah actually Rich (Richard Semides) put me on my back today trying to work takedowns
Sleeve and Collar: Are you working with any wrestlers? Are your take downs based more on your grips or would you say that you are more like a wrestler attacking the upper body or lower body?
Dakota Wader: I would say it's definitely based on grips I mean it's Jiu Jitsu and especially with the gi it's hard to just shoot in on people from a distance all they have to do is grab you and stiff arm you so it's definitely working off the grips but there's definitely a plus side to learning both
Sleeve and Collar: Are you looking throws then or foot sweeps? Snap downs? Collar drags? What are you doing?
Dakota Wader: When I first got interested in takedowns it was more Judo that I was working on and so I feel comfortable with Judo and now I'm kind of starting to work more on my wrestling and I have been for the past few months. When I try takedowns I try to link them together so you know, you set up your foot sweeps and your throws so you get them to change their grips and then you can shoot so I try to make them work off with each other the best I can anyway.
Sleeve and Collar: So your Fight to Win and your Gym Wars matches are both gi or nogi?
Dakota Wader: Gi
Sleeve and Collar: Do you compete in nogi?
Dakota Wader: I do every now and then. Whenever I do it's usually local tournaments that you know you can bundle. Say you can do gi and nogi for eighty dollars something like that. That's usually when I jump in and do both
Sleeve and Collar: You like to grapple on a budget?
Dakota Wader: Yeah it's definitely an issue for us lower belts. You don't get free entry like black belts do in US Grappling or Grappling Industries stuff like that
Sleeve and Collar: So I'm assuming you prefer competing in a gi
Dakota Wader: Yeah definitely prefer that
Sleeves and Collar: Would you say your gi game is more advanced than your nogi game?
Dakota Wader: I mean a lot of the stuff that I do in the gi can translate pretty well to nogi but I would say there's another level of control that you need in a gi especially for points tournaments. Sub only nogi I'm a little happier there than with points nogi just because it's so much easier for people to slip out of positions and whatnot with nogi
Sleeve and Collar: So you said you felt a lot of control in the grips in gi translate to no gi?
Dakota Wader: As far as my game with the Kimura grip and stuff like that ties into nogi
Sleeve and Collar: I mean am I crazy but it sounds like your nogi game translates better to your gi because anything you can do in nogi you can do in a gi
Dakota Wader: Po-tay-to Po-tah-to but my grips for passing and things like that definitely for the gi I definitely prefer having grips just to be able to do transitions tight and everything with nogi you're basing more off of under hooks and things like that. You can't just grab the gi and stuff it under the armpit and use that as your underhook. You actually have to get in there and get your under hook which could be a little more difficult. You know I mean during nogi and actually having to fight for your underhook versus taking your lapel and stuffing it under their armpit does that make sense?
Sleeve and Collar: Yeah I got you I am just very confused because everything nogi translates directly to the gi
Dakota Wader: Of course it does and when you have a gi based game and you try to go to nogi and you have to make these adjustments with your grips it is not the end of the world but it is definitely not as tight
Sleeve and Collar: So here's a lame question where do you see yourself in five years with Jiu Jitsu?
Dakota Wader: Competition wise or where I'm going to be at as far as rank?
Sleeve and Collar: What rank are you going to be, what’s going to be your immediate goals, where do you hope to be as far as competition, and maybe instructor or maybe having a gym, whatever?
Dakota Wader: Five years....
Sleeve and Collar: Not trying to put ideas in your head
Dakota Wader: I have been a purple belt for I think it would be two years at the end of the month so I would assume within five years I will probably have a brown belt as long as I can train consistently, keep training hard and nothing gets in the way of that and I would say by then I probably would teach in class here and there
Sleeve and Collar: Do you teach right now?
Dakota Wader: No, I did at Noel's here and there back when I was training over there more so when I was a purple belt just filling in for people and I'm definitely open to teaching but for now especially with these matches coming up if I have anything like that I'd like to focus more on myself. You kind of have to be selfish when you're a competitor
Sleeve and Collar: So you think being an instructor can get in the way of that?
Dakota Wader: Yeah I mean it definitely can. I would say you just have to put in more time at the gym and if you have a full-time job that kind of conflicts sometimes so
Sleeve and Collar: Do you currently take privates from anybody or you teach privates?
Dakota Wader: I have not taught a private yet I've been working with some of the lower belts here and there after class trying to get a feel for it and I've been a part of a private before with Nando and Vicente Jr. but I've never actually had my own private paid for doing the hour or hour and a half thing
Sleeve and Collar: You mentioned teaching some classes over at Noels. What made you become a creonte and leave that gym?
Dakota Wader: Oh god are we really going to go down that road? There's a whole back story to it but my reason for switching was I pretty much didn't see my progression going where I wanted to go further down the road if I stayed where I was versus going to a more competition oriented team who could give me the training that I needed on a consistent basis and just having the support of a well-organized competition team like we have it definitely helps a lot
Sleeve and Collar: So you've seen benefits
Dakota Wader: Yeah sure
Sleeve and Collar: I'm not trying to diss your previous gym or anything like that I'm just curious
Dakota Wader: I mean obviously I would be better no matter what I did from the time I switched until now just because of the time served and you are still training, you get better over time but I feel like the things that I was able to focus on being a part of the competition team like breaking the games apart and being able to do positional training and things like that versus just hopping on any sub and falling on my back it's definitely made a huge difference to my game
Sleeve and Collar: So you do a lot of positional training and things like that since you got on the competition team?
Dakota Wader: Yeah we do some positional training. During our positional rolling we usually you know you pick whatever position you're trying to work on and then you do a sweep or submit and then reset or if a guy passes you reset so that's definitely helpful
Sleeve and Collar: Do you do any scenario based situational sparring like say bottom of side control, a minute left, final of world's and you are down three points?
Dakota Wader: I feel like I do that more on my own than we do in class whenever I get put into a bad position I try to put that scenario in my head like I have to get out now and I'm down points what am I going to do and then try to make it happen before the timer goes off
Sleeve and Collar: Are you cross training with any other gym or you strictly at Conquest all the time except Wednesdays in Pennsylvania at Raptor?
Dakota Wader: so I just started doing the Wednesdays at Raptor BJJ at Penn State and that for the most part has only been because I'm up there for work and I didn't want to miss a training day and I had to find somewhere else to train and they've been great with that so far but I would say 90 percent of it is at Conquest
Sleeve and Collar: With the other ten percent being Raptor then?
Dakota Wader: Yeah
Sleeve and Collar: Is there anybody you would like to plug or thank?
Dakota Wader: Of course I would like to think of training partners, you for the support for my upcoming matches and all the instructors at Conquest
Sleeve and Collar: Awesome
Dakota Wader: And everybody I used to train with back at Noel's. They definitely helped get me to where I am today
Sleeve and Collar: That's cool, do you still talk to those guys?
Dakota Wader: Yeah there is definitely still quite a few of them I talk to. I run into them locally and we are all in Glen Burnie
Sleeve and Collar: So you're still friends? That's always good
Dakota Wader: yeah
Sleeve and Collar: You see a lot of guys end up leaving gyms for whatever reasons to something as small as they move and the gym is just too far for them or you know it could be as bad as they just hopped teams because they weren't getting the competition record they were expecting. But that's cool that you still hang out and talk to those guys
Dakota Wader: Yeah
Dakota Wader: Yeah I definitely feel like that is depending on each person you know. I mean like I haven't had anybody straight up tell me from there that you know they're mad at me because I left them everybody that I've talked to from there seems understanding so we also every once in a while we used to get together and train at Mike's on Sundays
Sleeve and Collar: At where?
Dakota Wader: at Mike Visitacion's house. He's a brown belt from Noel's. He was one of my main training partners coming up through the ranks and we used to get together at his house on Sundays and train but it's been quite a few months since then. They have a new thing over there on Sundays at Noels so now I'm just hitting up open mat and doing that thing on Sundays over at Conquest
Sleeve and Collar: Alright so there is nobody else you wanted to thank?
Dakota Wader: No man as far as Jiu Jitsu goes that's it. Training partners, instructors and you.
Sleeve and Collar: Awesome man. Thanks for your time and thanks for this interview and we wish you good luck in both of your matches.
Dakota Wader: Thanks