Hollywood BJJ has always been a school that has produced great & talented competitors. From their hard work, dedication, & wiliness to learn; the students here at Hollywood BJJ are a notch above the rest. Their hard work on the mat is showcased with their performances in prestige events such as Pan Americans, Best of the West, & even Mundials. Amongst this group of talented individuals is a very familiar face not only on the BJJ scene but also to the public in general.
Steve Cardenas better known for his role as The Red Ranger Rocky Desantos on the hit show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a great asset to our ever-growing team here at the academy. From assisting his teammates prepare for tournaments, to teaching some of the beginner classes, to being the head instructor of the Kids BJJ class; Steve is truly a dedicated member to the team.In addition to taking on many roles here at the academy, Steve is also a fierce competitor placing in big tournaments such as Copa Pacifica & American Nationals.
Just recently Steve took some time out to have an interview about his journey in martial arts and his experience here at Hollywood BJJ.
Monta: First off I want to start off by saying thank you for taking time out to have this interview.
Steve: No problem
Monta: So let gets started, when did you get started in BJJ?
Steve: it was in like 1997 but in 2000 I stopped training altogether (for work) and didn’t step back on the mat until 2008! 8 year break but now you can’t get me off the mat. I try to train twice a day if I can.
Monta: With an extensive background in karate, what got you into Brazilian jujitsu?
Steve: Well when I moved to Cali to be part of MMPR, I also opened my own Karate school in Valencia. I had watched a couple of UFC at the time but I really didn’t understand BJJ. One day in my own studio this guy Mike Ortiz (a rickson gracie blue belt at the time) came in and whooped my ass in 10 seconds! I was sold at that point.
Monta: What has your experience been like in BJJ as oppose to other martial arts disciplines you have taken?
Steve: Well I had been talking and teaching Tae kwon do for years at the time Mike Ortiz choked me out in 10 seconds…after that, I felt like I had really been walking around with a false sense of security. I’m thankful all the fights I had been in high school and at clubs and bars never ended up on the ground. But if they had I think I’d have been done for.
Monta: Just recently Hollywood BJJ has become apart of Team Paragon, how has the training been like for you since the formation?
Steve: Oh man, it was sooo amazing. For a while I felt my training become stagnant. I wasn’t getting any kind of instruction or new ways to improve upon what I was doing. But within the first week Franjihna was showing me mount escapes that were so simple that I never would’ve thought of them on my own. And then to have BJJ superstars like Jeff Glover come in an work with me in great detail on things like deep half guard and tricky tips on passing the guard, I knew right away that things were gonna be different! Paragon has really helped me to push forward when I wanna give up and that has improved my game tremendously.
Monta: Just recently you were promoted to the rank of Brown Belt in BJJ. Tell me how did you feel about reaching this very high rank in the game ?
Steve : Well it validated all my work. I had the feeling that my old instructor wasn’t gonna ever promote me. Granted at the time I wasn’t ready, but i wasn’t getting any encouragement or instruction either. After Paragon took me under their wing, I was honored that Franjihna Sean Apperson, and Sean Flanery felt I was ready for that home-stretch! Thank you guys for believing in me.
Monta: During your promotion the process is not easy can you tell your viewers about your experience with the gauntlet (walking in the middle & getting whipped)?
Steve: Oh man, it was like “The passion of the Mexican!” LOL I took the beating of my life. My hands were shaking after the 4th pass, but after they put that belt around my waist, I was feeling no pain!
Monta: In addition to helping out a lot of guys on the mat, you are also the Head Kids Instructor. Tell me.What style of teaching do your bring to the kids class?
Steve: With the kids I mix it up. I teach allot of stand up as well as ground work. I think kids need more variety and there is value to teaching them a bunch of different styles. They learn a little boxing, tae kwon do, judo and BJJ.
Monta: Finally what advice do you have for people who are just starting off in Brazilian jujitsu?
Steve: Don’t get frustrated at the amount of times you’ll get tapped. Remember, the guy who’s beating you didn’t know anything either when he first started. Take comfort in the fact that six months from now you’ll be way better than the new guy fresh to the sport at the time. And that’s when you’ll see your work start to pay off for you.
Monta: Before we rap up do you have any special thanks or shoutouts you want to give?
Steve: Thank you to the Paragon Family! I love the fact that in one day I was welcomed in without any kind of egos and now I have like 4 places I can go in Southern California and get great instruction. TEAM PARAGON!!
Monta: Well that raps things up, thanks for your time steve and good luck with everything.
Steve: Thanks, Monta
For more information on Hollywood bjj you can visit their website at www.hollywoodbjj.com or visit their facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Paragon-Hollywood-BJJ/115624138461419?ref=ts