Grapplers Planet Exclusive Interview with JT Torres
Interview by (GP King), questions and editing by Josh Sequeira (GP Bodmon)
Jonathan Torres, also known as JT, or ‘The Spiderman,’ is a first degree black belt part of team Atos, who trains and teaches in San Diego, California. Despite only being 24 years of age, JT has built a name for himself as a world class competitor, and one of the most exciting BJJ practitioners in the game today. 2013 was a major year for JT as he won a bronze medal in both the IBJJF Pan Ams, and the very prestigious ADCC Championships. However, JT’s greatest accomplishment this past year, was conquering the title of Black Belt World Champion, as he took home the gold medal in his division at the IBJJF No-Gi Worlds. We got a chance to chat with JT and ask him a variety of questions about competing, his plans, and about his striking resemblance to a Dutch celebrity. Enjoy!
GP: JT, you’re an avid competitor. What is your routine like, the day of a tournament?
JT: My routine the day of a tournament is pretty simple. First I wake up, and I weigh myself to make sure I am on weight. I follow this up with a super-hot shower, because I feel it wakes up all my muscles! Then, depending on where my weight is at, I will eat a small breakfast, which usually consists of oatmeal and fruits. After breakfast, I head over to the venue, check my weight again and then I start to warmup by going for a light run and then stretching. After a good warm-up, I put my music on, get in the zone and wait for my name to be called.
GP: Lately you have been competing at middleweight, despite having some incredible success at lightweight. Is there any particular reason for the change in weight class on occasion, and is this something you plan to do more often?
JT: I have been fighting middleweight here and there just because I am at a point where my body weight is naturally a middle weight and I wanted to test it out. To be honest, I am not sure if my move to middle weight is permanent or temporary. Over the years I have just put on more muscle and weight naturally. I actually started competing at light-featherweight as a blue belt. My body is at point where I can follow a strict diet and make light weight, or I can eat clean but just more and fight middle weight and still feel great. I think in the future I will be a middle weight permanently.
GP: This past year, you accomplished a major milestone in your career winning your first Black Belt World Title! How did it feel to accomplish such a feat at the 2013 No-Gi Worlds?
JT: Winning my first Black Belt World Title at the No-Gi Worlds this past year felt amazing! I felt like all my hard work finally paid off!! It was one of my greatest moments in life!
GP: Do you currently teach BJJ at all JT? What is your idea of an ideal class breakdown?
JT: Yes, I actually teach the Kids class at Atos San Diego. The way I break down a class is like this: 15 mins of warmups and 30-45 mins of drilling and technique and then my favorite 30-60 mins of sparring.
GP: You eat, sleep, and live BJJ, what kind of questions do lower belts typically ask you about the art, and what do you tell them?
JT: Lower Belts typically ask me, “What can I do to improve my game?” and I always answer, “You have got to have an open mind to whatever technique you come across, and I recommend you compete at least once.”
GP: Any comments on the possibility of you being related to world famous DJ and Dutch music producer Afrojack? Are you aware of the striking resemblance?
JT: Haha, I am not related to him, but no, I wasn’t aware till now! We do look like!
GP: To wrap things up JT, what are your immediate plans for this year?
JT: My immediate plans for this year are to fight in the Pan Ams and Worlds, and then after the Worlds, get some more tattoos!