“Grappling is not just an ego fulfilling prophecy; it can be a life enhancing experience”
If you ever have the opportunity to speak to Brian Cimins, President and CEO of Grappler’s Quest at one of his events, do it. Brian is one of the most approachable, engaging, humble, exciting, and inspirational people you will ever find.
We had an opportunity to speak to Brian at the recent Grappler’s Quest 2013 US National Championships on July 20, 2013 in Morristown, NJ about how Grappler’s Quest started, his own personal journey in martial arts, and where he sees the sport and his brand going in the future.
Brian started Grappler’s Quest as a senior project in college in 1998 when he saw there was a need to have a local grappling tournament. In 1999, Grappler’s Quest held the first amateur exclusively nogi tournament in the world. Grappler’s Quest was also the first organization to run a US national event (since 2000).
Grappler’s Quest is a labour of love for Brian. He talks passionately about how every sport needs amazing, independent organizations that are free from the control of a governing body, and he believes that Grappler’s Quest fills that spot in the grappling world. To Brian, Grappler’s Quest belongs to the people that support it – the competitors. It is the human support that drives Brian. As he says, “Grappler’s Quest is yours”
Brian started training martial arts at 17 years old and quickly fell in love with it. He realized that the act of competing and facing his fears was one of his greatest achievements and rewards. Over time, injuries kept Brian from competition as he continued to grow the Grappler’s Quest brand. After a number of personal health concerns and life challenges, Brian came to a realization that he was missing the fun of competition that he had experienced earlier in his life. Brian took a number of measures to improve his personal health, and came back to compete at this event. Brian states that it was the competitors at his events who inspired him to return to the mats – the dedication and hard work and training that he sees others putting in drove him to re-ignite his passion for competing.
Brian is a true visionary. When asked where he sees Grappler’s Quest in five years, he painted a picture of a nationally televised sport, giving away $100,000 in cash prizes. He sees this happening by growing, promoting, and showcasing young, exciting new talent in the grappling world such as Canada’s Matt Bagshaw. As Brian says, “I believe in people who really love grappling. You can see it in their game on the mat”. These people encapsulate the beauty, excitement, and intensity that Brian believes will entice bigger and bigger sponsors.
You will meet a few people in your life that can truly touch people with their words. Their words captivate you, draw you in, and you can feel their excitement becoming yours. Brian is one of these rare people. As he says, life is very simple. No matter what your belief set is, no matter how you choose to interpret it, “make your maker proud”.
Written By: Adam Cousins Guest writer from www.jugglingjiujitsu.com