Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions, Travis. So tell us about your path as a martial artist, when did you start?
My path has been a long one. I started judo as a kid 2 weeks before my 7th birthday. I accidentally signed up for Judo rather than Football at the local youth center by my house. I fell in love with the sport almost instantly. I loved the combat, two guys pitted against each other. It’s not like most sports, you don’t race against a clock, there is physically someone in front of you saying, “I will not let you win and I will do anything in my power to stop you”. When I was 11 I suffered a very bad knee injury and fell out of sports all together. When I was a sophomore in High School I found some of my old tapes from competitions when I was a kid and knew I had to get back into it.
By the time I was a Junior, I was back into Judo. I started off easy, just twice a week. After a month I was doing it 5 nights a week. Once the High School programs started up a few months later I got involved in those, too. I would skip my 6th period class everyday. I would run two miles to catch a public bus that would take me an hour and a half away to another school that had Judo in their After School Sports System. I knew the coach there so he had no problem letting me train. So, my Junior year I was working out as a part of the after school program, then my mom would pick me up there after she got off work. Then she’d drive me an hour and half away to a club that trained at night. So, I was training twice a day and then during my Senior Year, I could drive my self. I spent most weekends driving up to Steveston, Canada for their Saturday workouts and also to Whidbey Island on Sunday for their workout. I was a full time Judo practitioner starting in High School. I lifted weights durning school as my Gym Class. I was lucky enough to have a great instructor.
After I graduated I moved to San Jose, California to go to San Jose State University. I spent two years there going to school and training Judo. After about 8 months of training there I was looking to add workouts into my training schedule. I got in touch with Dave Camarillo down at AKA (the American Kickboxing Academy). I would work out there as much as possible sometimes twice a day plus my lifting and two Judo workouts a day, along with school. I loved Jiu Jitsu it was a great cross training workout that helped me make leaps and bounds in my Judo career.
In 2006, I transitioned to bigger and better things with the Olympics in sight. I moved to Upstate NY and trained under Jason Morris. He was the one that exposed me to the International scene. I ended up qualifying for the ’08 games with ease. But, I fell short of a Medal. After the games, I thought long and hard about where I went wrong and why I didn’t do what I trained to do. I decided I needed a new style of training and one that was more professional. I packed up and went to Boston, Massachusetts to train under Jimmy Pedro. I had worked with him years before, he had coached me on many trips and we always got along. I have been here ever since, I love it here and have not once regretted the move.