Hey Max, Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us. Everyone at Progress is super happy to have you on board! What is new with you? How is training? When is the next competition?
Super happy to be a part of team Progress. I hope I can contribute to an already strong team.
I'm super happy to work together with James and everyone at Progress. Really looking forward to what I believe is a bright future! My life changed a lot during and after covid. I started my academy, I got married and many other things as well, not only good things but as we say on team Progress “No struggle, No Progress”. And man I have struggled a lot the recent years and when I feel like I'm ready I'm gonna be open with my challenges and struggles. But at the moment we leave it here. I'm finally back to training seriously again. I have been struggling a lot with my health for a while now and have not been able to train properly. I have been forced to pull out of almost every competition I signed up for. Most recently this summer when I got some serious staph in my knee. But in all I feel great. I'm training and enjoying my life more than I ever had. I'm so grateful for everything from my personal life to my jiu-jitsu. I'm in a really good mind space now and can't wait to get back to competing again. But I don't wanna jinx it and don't wanna tell anyone when I'm planning to be back.
Looking back at the start of your life in Jiu Jitsu, is there something that you wish you could have advised yourself back then?
I'm a bit “older” now and feel like I don't have any stress about getting back into completing a lot again. Thinking back to when I followed my friends to training the first time, I have always been stressed that I should be training all the time and evolving fast enough. That's something I really wished that I knew from the beginning. And If I would go back in time I would have told myself to really trust the process and don't stress. Some things are meant the way they are to continue doing your best but live in the now and don't stress about things you can't control.
This is something I try teach my students daily. To always do their best but also don't stress too much. I believe the general stress in combination with under resting leads to what people like to call overtraining. I'm not really sure there is a thing called overtraining but I'm referring to that feeling you have when you feel like you are over trained. But I also think it's important to let them make their own mistakes. I believe it's a crucial part of learning and evolving as a jiu jitsu practitioner, elite or happy amateur. I like to be a guiding voice and try to push them in a general direction but still letting them find their own way. If I see them doing something counterproductive to their goals I step in. But that doesn't happen so often. But the most important work I do with them is trying to show them anything is possible. You just have to work hard and believe. In my experience the hardest part is the belief. For most people I might add.
I try to be there doing my best every single day in the hope the will do the same. And by this getting as good as they possibly can be.
With this I hope to contribute to the already fast-developing Swedish jiu-jitsu. I hope to have the same positive impact on Swedish Jiu-Jitsu as Darragh O'Connell has had on Irish Jiu Jitsu and Eduardo Rios together with his students has had on Norwegian jiu jitsu.Tommy and Espen too but I don't wanna mention them obviously. I have was always searching for something to belong to in my life. I guess from the start I hoped that it was jiu jitsu but wasn't really sure if it was my “thing” I tried a lot of things when I was younger diving, football, paintball, and a lot of stupid things. I don't remember when I felt like jiu jitsu was my thing and the only thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I guess it grew on me but I guess today I'm 100 percent sure jiu-jitsu is my thing. I'm so f%cking happy for the things jiu jitsu has given me and continuously gives to me. (Insert the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger quote here. About... In the gym and... At home and how much he is in heaven.)
You have had to overcome a lot of obstacles and challenges recently as well as throughout your Jiu Jitsu journey. Would you mind talking about how you continue to Progress no matter what?
Sure I had doubts like everybody else and even thought about quitting jiu jitsu. But every time I didn't it feel like I fell more in love with jiu-jitsu. Does that make sense?
Sure I had my tests that could have broken me and even better men than me. But also with the academy getting firebombed (our academy was burnt down by some ass throwing a firebomb through the window and burning the place to the ground). It's been tough and to be honest I don't know how we made it back to opening up two academies winning the nationals as the best team gi and no gi. Also producing our first two world pro champions and Europe champion and medallist. But for sure both me, my wife, and my partner paid a heavy price to make it possible.
Can you tell us a little bit about how life has changed since opening your academy and what that experience has been like for you?
But I have to say it wouldn't be possible without our over-the-top loyal members and our instructors that kept working hard like nothing had happened. Also, the community that helped us get back with the go fund me page and all the anonymous help we got from individuals and other academies. It's quite funny actually I heard a lot of people complaining about how it takes a lot of your time to run an Academy and it's hard teaching classes and cleaning is hard and blah blah blah.I don't think running an Academy is more work than running your average business even if it was I wouldn't care. I mean nothing worth having comes easy. Sure it's a lot of work but I wouldn't like to have it any other way. I didn't expect it to be easy and expected to have to work hard. So I wasn't really surprised with the amount of work you have to put in daily into the business.
In reality I get to run a business doing what I love the most in the world. I get to train with students which during this time have become my best friends. But don't be mistaken, I couldn't have done it on my own. My lovely wife does so much work with the Academy I sometimes feel like I'm ashamed I don't do more than I actually do. And my business partner is one of my absolute best friends that knows everything about the things I don't know anything about. That sure helps make things easier.
I was teaching so much before I started STARK so nothing hasn't really changed in my training.
I even think I attend more classes now as a student than I did the last two years before I opened up my own academy. I think the difference now is that I care more about my students' learning. And I have more experience teaching and I'm better than I ever was before.
Thank you so much Max! Your story and perspective on the different aspects of Jiu Jitsu is so interesting. We can’t wait to see you back out on the mats with the best in the world.
I can't wait for everything good that's about to come. I feel really pumped when I think about competing again. I just feel like I wanna fight everybody.
I really don't have any more to add.
Cya out there guys!
-Max, Stark Jiu-Jitsu