Athlete Focus: Sam Gray
Author: Hyperfly AU
Join us, as we talk with Hyperfly Athlete ~ Sam Gray. Sam is an absolute machine on the mat but at the same time a very nice, loyal and humble human being. We spent some time with Sam to talk about his Life, Jiu-Jitsu and Future Plan. Check out Sam’s epic journey and we are very proud and honoured to support his journey!
How did you start Jiu Jitsu?
Initially, I was training kickboxing at a gym in Hastings while I was studying at the local EIT. The next year I got my apprenticeship but it was out of town so I had to stop training. I requested a job transfer to the Hastings branch so I could be closer to the gym. Once transferred. I went to the same gym to start kickboxing again and saw that during my time away the gym had added BJJ classes to the schedule. This was when I first meet my coach Damian Smith and then my BJJ journey began.
Let’s talk about your training routine! What do your day and week look like?
My standard week includes 40-50hrs working as a tradie fixing and maintaining rural and industrial water pumps and systems. I train 4-6 BJJ sessions at Gracie Allegiance Hastings and 2-3 early morning gym sessions with a strength and conditioning coach at the EIT Sports Institute. I usually teach 1 class a week and assist Damian with others. I like to enjoy my weekends with lots of active recovery. Outdoor activities like hiking, hunting, diving, fishing, surfing and working on my parent's farm.
As a Jiu Jitsu Athlete/Coach, staying in shape for your own athlete competition can be very difficult. How do you maintain your body condition/diet/mindset for competing, while looking after all your student's needs?
For me it comes down to having good discipline. Particularly leading up to competition I make sure I am very focused during training and I always aim to maximize the time I spend at the gym to get the most out of it. I aim to make good decisions both on and off the mat to help me maintain a high standard and perform to the best of my ability.
What is the most memorable recent moment in your Jiu-Jitsu competition Career?
I’ve had so many great competition memories but I am yet to compete since I received my blackbelt in December 2020. I never would have thought I would have had such a big break from competition as I have competed regularly since I was a white belt. Looking forward to making some more good competition memories soon.
Sam's Favourite Gear
What is your most memorable moment of all time in your Jiu-Jitsu competition Career?
I don’t have anyone in particular but getting over to California and competing at both Gi and No-Gi Worlds in 2019 were some of the best competition experiences of my life. To feel the atmosphere and see the top guys in the sport compete was amazing. I was brown belt at the time. I got to face the best in the division (both times) and lost out first round on points to both of them. These losses taught me so much and I was able to use these learnings to grow and come back a much better competitor in 2020.
Jiu Jitsu is a hard sport and some people drop out in the middle of their journey. What advice would you give to beginners starting Jiu Jitsu?
For complete beginners, I would recommend focusing on building a solid, basic foundation. Learn simple offence, defence, escapes. It will serve you well in the long run.
For coloured belts, I would encourage them to push through and stay consistent even when they are feeling low motivation to train. Take some time off the mats if needed when life gets in the way but don’t quit training. Jiujitsu is a gift that keeps on giving and the more you put in the more you get back in return. We are very fortunate to be able to train this art and learn this amazing skill we carry with us wherever we go.
How have you enjoyed working with the team at Hyperfly New Zealand?
Absolutely awesome. Super easy to communicate with Andy and the team is full of great people. Very proud to be associated with Team Hyperfly NZ.
Lastly which Hyperfly Product would you recommend? What is your favourite out of all?
What are your plans for the future...
To round out my game and to have a strong competition season in NZ and get back to competing overseas ASAP.
Gi or Nogi
I’ve been back and forth on this one so many times during my jiujitsu journey. It's a hard one and if you ask me in a week you might get a different answer but today it's No GI. Reason being, I love the fast pace and wild scrambles.
Thanks, SAM! Check out some of Sam's insane skills on his Instagram page and keep an eye out for him in the upcoming comps across New Zealand.