#23 James Clingerman


As a kid, James Clingerman had a love of all things martial arts and would go to his local library and take out all the martial art books and videos he could get his hands on, but James also suffered from high anxiety as a child. His anxiety was so bad he avoided most social interaction and it prevented him from enjoying the things most of us take for granted. He would never have stepped on the mat if his father didn't force him to at the age of 13.


James began taking Karate classes and through that experience, he began to be able to overcome his anxiety moving forward on a journey that took him through Karate, Judo, Japanese Jiu Jitsu, and finally Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.


After his first day of BJJ, James knew he had found what he was looking for and began training as much as possible. So much so, that as a Blue Belt, he started his own academy in the back of a Taekwondo school.


After a couple of years ,the owner of the Taekwondo school informed James that the school was moving to an amazing new facility but unfortunately James was not going with.


Determined to keep his students and to keep instructing, James and his wife,AJ, decided they would find their own location. With very little business experience, the first few years were a huge struggle for their academy. Bringing in very little money, James and AJ let their home go into foreclosure. It was just days before the academy even opened that James faced what may have been his biggest challenge.


A random act of violence left James kneeling on the side of the road with a gunshot wound to the face. James credits his Jiu Jitsu training with giving him the ability to think clearly under high pressure situations and that clear thinking helped save James' life.


Never one to quit and with the help of friends and family, James pushed forward. His Indiana Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy opened on time. Within several months James had recovered enough to resume competing, even winning his first tournament just days after being cleared to fight.


Now James is the owner/instructor at two thriving academies, one of which that has been going for twenty years. He has produced fantastic instructional videos, and has run numerous successful Jiu Jitsu tournaments.


It is James' perseverance, love of Jiu Jitsu, and never say die attitude, that has made him into the man he is today.



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