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Jared Weiner back on the mat after head injury: “I have to remember to take baby steps with this one”

Jared Weiner with his daughter, Ellie. Photo: Personal archive
Jared Weiner with his daughter, Ellie. Photo: Personal archive

Jared Weiner, head instructor of GMA BJJ United in Philadelphia, PA, has become a spokesperson for attending to injuries in Jiu-Jitsu. Through his own personal story, he has advocated for those who get injured to not ignore them like he did. At the 2014 IBJJF NY Summer Open, a head injury led to a concussion that he tried to pass off as the flu. The injury, compounded with past concussions kept him off the mat until now. You can read about the initial story here.

GRACIEMAG: How long has it been since the first concussion?

JARED WEINER: My first documented one I can recall was in 1998, and that was also Jiu-Jitsu related. Who knows how many I’ve had through out years, but the ones that started this recent cycle happened back in July 2014.

Describe to me your training since getting onto the mat and how strict you’ve been to your doctor’s orders. What setbacks have you encountered?

I’ve followed my team of doctors orders really closely. I’ve been able to get back on the mats and teach again and roll with guys I really trust. The problem has been once the sweat starts to pour I start going full force and it’s only a matter of time before I bounce my head off of something and then I feel a bit off for a few hours or days. That’s been the main set back. I have to remember to take baby steps with this one. It’s just my personality and wanting to be back to the old me is what sets me back!

Do you miss competition?

It kills me watching all the tournaments and my division without me in it! I feel so bad I can’t go back to the Pan this year and try to defend my title! I’m not that guy to sit on the gold and not go back and try to win it again! It’s eating me up alive! But until I can go a month straight of feeling like me again I cannot compete or train super hard.

Have you been playing more top or bottom? Anything specific you stay away from?

I prefer the top game. I trained judo throughout the years so I love the takedown game. My game is a pressure game and I often lead with my head so I’m gonna have to just be careful. I’ve taken this down time though to drill a lot of new positions from my guard so maybe I’ll throw some people off a little when I come back haha.

But I have a feeling as soon as I’m back to me I’ll get right back to my grinding style game. I was joking with my good friend Yemaso [Marcos Torregrosa] that it took me almost 20 years of training to finally learn to get technical.

Do you take coaching more serious now that you’ve been out? Have you found new ways to be a better teacher?

I’ve always taken coaching very serious and I still do, but not being able to come into the academy for a few months really made me appreciate everything so much more. I never want to be away from my students and the school for that long again. I’m so thankful I have a great loyal team. I never felt stress that anyone would leave the school because I wasn’t in so I was able to focus on recovery that much more. I love my team, staff, and students tremendously.

When do you think you’ll compete again?

I’m not 100% sure and I won’t come back until I know I’m ready. So when you see me back out there and you will eventually know that I’m 100% ready and not playing games. I can’t wait to get back out there. It’s one of my main goals.

Now that you have a daughter, have you been able to introduce her to the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle?

Recently I’ve been bringing my daughter Ellie to the gym during kids class and she has really been showing interest in what’s been going on! It’s the best thing ever. I can’t wait to see her with a little gi on actually participating. She is the best thing in my life and she is my main motivation to get better and 100% healthy. She is my world.

Big thanks to the companies that stood by me during this injury and have had my back the whole time. Fokai Industries, Shoyoroll, Pitchfork, Casa De Roc, Dukes Barber Company, and Glenside Tattoo I can’t wait to rep for them when I get back on the mats.

Learn more about Jared and his academy at www.bjjunited.com and follow Bjj_united on Instagram.

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