Pan champion Tim Spriggs conquers at brown belt, sets sights on black belt world title

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Tim working the pass in his semi-final match in the brown belt adult open weight division. Photo: Erin Herle

Tim working the pass in his semi-final match in the brown belt adult open weight division. Photo: Erin Herle

One of the stand-outs set to make a statement even before the 2014 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship was Tim Spriggs of Crazy 88/Team Lloyd Irvin. The 23-year-old Baltimore, MD resident proved his abilities by winning the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo Brown Belt Grand Prix last November.

Tim Spriggs (right) and Erberth Santon (left) after closing out the brown belt adult open weight division. Photo: Erin Herle

Tim Spriggs (right) and Erberth Santon (left) after closing out the brown belt adult open weight division. Photo: Erin Herle

Tim competed in the brown belt adult heavyweight division as well as the brown belt open weight division and won all of his matches — three were submissions, one was a stoppage due to injury. In the final of the open weight, he closed out with a fellow TLI member, Erberth Santos from Brazil who had been training with him for the past month at Crazy 88. The weekend left him with a winning streak that proved his capabilities since his promotion to brown belt last June.

Above all of his studies on the mat, Tim also proved his capabilities in academia having earned a college degree back in 2012 at St John’s University in New York City. Even though he was states away from the Crazy 88 team, he still made it work, training full time in the summers and remaining loyal to his team. At 16 Tim started training with them and has never strayed.

Representing his TLI team after winning the brown belt adult heavyweight division. Photo: Erin Herle

Representing his TLI team after winning the brown belt adult heavyweight division. Photo: Erin Herle

We asked Tim questions about his time at the Pans on the weekend of Mar 12-16 and what it takes to be successful. His often short declarative sentences tell of a person who is direct, focused and doesn’t play around. But don’t be fooled by his ferocious tendencies on the mat because he is every bit a gentleman.

Tim Spriggs wins big at the Pan. Photo: Erin Herle

Tim Spriggs wins big at the Pan. Photo: Erin Herle

GRACIEMAG: What was your toughest match at the Pan?

Tim Spriggs: My toughest match at the Pan was the first one in my weight division. Mostly because I hadnt competed since the Copa Podio. Match speed and intensity is very different from the training room and usually I compete much more frequently, so that I am used to that difference. Also, I was not able to finish the guy, that’s another reason.

What is one characteristic a person must have to be successful?

A burning desire to win. And not just at the competition. You have to be willing to put everything you have into each training session, your diet, and even your rest. The person with the most drive to do everything necessary to win will be the most successful.

A lot of your matches start with judo and end with you on your opponent’s back. Do you drill specific transitions or series of techniques?

I drill the techniques that give me the most success. So a lot of judo, guard passing, and submissions from the back. However, I am always expanding my arsenal, so I study all aspects of the art; takedowns, guard, and guard passing.

What are your long-term goals in Jiu-Jitsu?

Black belt world champion in my weight and the absolute. ADCC champion in weight and absolute.

You went to St John’s University and finished in 2012. What is your degree and does it/will it help you in achieving your goals?

I got my degree in sociology. Although it doesn’t really help me with fighting it does give me a better understanding of why people act the way the way they do, so it helps with interacting with people at the academy.

What is a typical training routine for you?

Depending on what day it is, I have early morning strength and conditioning, then morning training session. I teach in the afternoon, then another session in the evening. My training usually lasts around three hours or more during the grand slam season. [From the Europeans in January to the Worlds in early June]

Working the pass in the brown belt adult heavyweight division. Photo: Erin Herle

Working the pass in the brown belt adult heavyweight division. Photo: Erin Herle

We’ll see Tim next at the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship on April 15-19 and the World Championship in Long Beach on May 28-June 1.

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