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#73 Mike Bidwell

Mike Bidwell was one of those kids that loved martial arts growing up. The movies, the magazines, the weapons, all of it. He loved it so much that after receiving $100 from a neighbor for doing her yard work, Mike jumped on his bicycle, rode down to a local Karate school, and signed himself up for classes. That's how Mike started his martial arts journey, a journey that would eventually lead him to have his own BJJ academy and an enormous online presence.

However, Mike's journey has a very unique distinction that sets him apart from most others. Mike moved steadily through the first 3 ranks of BJJ. In fact, he even skipped the Blue Belt entirely, but what really sets him apart is that he spent 13 years as a Brown Belt.

Mike moved a few times, switching BJJ academies in the process while a Brown Belt. While those moves may have contributed to some of his extra time at the rank, Mike admits it was his mental state that really caused him to get stuck at Brown for such a long time.

Mike began to tell himself that belts didn't matter. He often joked with friends and training partners that he would always be a Brown Belt and he didn't even really want his Black Belt, all the while knowing inside that was untrue. He admits his diet was unhealthy during this time and that he had gained a significant amount of weight. Usually walking around at 6' 1" and 155lbs, Mike was well over 200lbs, often depressed, and even at one point suicidal. Mike knew he needed to change and it was his daughter that helped him turn everything around.

Mike's 6-year-old daughter had been training BJJ and wanted to compete in her first tournament. He had always told her that if she wanted to compete he would do the tournament with her. So Mike signed them both up and for extra motivation, he signed himself up for the 175lb division. Mike dropped the weight, competed, and he and his daughter both took 1st place. This was the motivation that Mike needed. He dropped back down to 155lbs, changed his diet, and more importantly changed his mindset, putting himself on track for not only his Black Belt but for a life he had always wanted to live. Mike had also found a new purpose, giving back to Jiu Jitsu.

Then in 2014 and now a black belt, Mike began what he called Flowing Mike Bidwell. He didn't really know what that would mean, other than being true to himself and letting himself become whatever he wanted to be. It was also about this time that Mike put his first BJJ technique video online. The video got shared by others and was well received. So Mike started posting more on his BJJAfter 40 site and things took off and Mike gained a huge following.

Now with over 600 videos online, a successful academy/health and wellness center, Mike is fulfilling his purpose of giving back to Jiu Jitsu, a martial that has given so much to him.


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