627 Patterson Ave Suit C, Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37129

Professor Clay Haywood, Martial Arts Instructor

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 near Murfreesboro

Professor Clay Haywood

Where are you from?

I am originally from Arizona / Florida.

When did you start jiu-jitsu?

I took my first class in 2008 at The Jungle MMA & Fitness in Orlando, Florida and was instantly hooked. I pursued all avenues of MMA training but knew that Jiu-Jitsu was more dominant in my skill set and started dedicating more time to the discipline as time went on. I was lucky enough to progress to Purple Belt under Professor / Coach Mike Lee & Professor Thiago Domingues, DeLariva 4th Degree Black Belt, before life took me to Denver. In Denver I found 303 Training Center under the tutelage of Professor Tony Basile. This gym forever changed my approach to gentle art, dawning a Gi, and training at elevation with some true high caliber competition, and achieving my Brown Belt while there. Career and life once again pulled me to a new home and I found myself in Nashville and was warmly accepted at Nashville MMA, under Professor Bryan Tidwell. Bryan was instrumental in so many aspects of my game and I am lucky enough to have received my Black Belt from him in February of 2019.

Why did you start doing jiu-jitsu?

I was and am a lifelong UFC / Mixed Martial arts fan. Renting VHS's from Blockbuster as a kid, I would beg for the UFC or Pride Pay Per Views that sat low on the shelves. When I left home, outside of my mother's watchful eye, it was all I wanted to do. It initially served as something I enjoyed to stay healthy and lose weight but quickly became my reason for waking up. My team and training partners became my friends and over the years I consider many of them to be as close as family.

Why do you like to teach?

No-Gi is my primary proficiency. To me, it's the most applicable to real life scenarios of self defense and is a much faster "roll" than in the Gi, with less friction and fabric to manipulate the body's movement. I enjoy showing students defensive tactics to frustrate their opponents as well as creative ways to use their own body types / physique and natural abilities to shut down or capitalize on scenarios that might go unseen. No matter what shape, size, or type of human you are, you will develop a "game" and watching that flourish in a student is my favorite thing to see.

List some of your accomplishments:

I am what I call a "professional hobbyist". Showing up to class and growing in my art is an accomplishment to me.

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