Outside the Office: Kyle Thompson shares passion for jiu-jitsu

Kyle Thompson, The Bank of Missouri community bank president in the Jackson Market, practices jiu-jitsu with his instructor, first-degree blackbelt and highly decorated jiujitsu artist, Professor Brian Imholz, owner of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu of Southeast Missouri.

The Bank of Missouri Community Bank President in the Jackson Market

I was first introduced to jiu-jitsu approximately nine years ago by some local enthusiasts and then joined the Gracie Humaita family seven years ago when my instructor, Professor Brian Imholz, first-degree black belt, moved here and opened Gracie Jiu-Jitsu of Southeast Missouri. I have always been a fitness enthusiast and first started training primarily for the fitness aspect.

While I still enjoy the fitness and conditioning aspects of jiu-jitsu, I now enjoy and respect the art form more. I train as often as my schedule will allow, and I shoot for a minimum of four times per week. As far as achievements, I am a two-stripe purple belt. The adult belt system in jiu-jitsu belt system is as follows: white belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt, black belt. Within each belt rank, there are four stripes earned prior to receiving the next belt. My affiliation with Gracie Humaita has allowed me the opportunity to meet and train directly with Rolyer, Gracie, David Adiv and J.W. Wright. Our team motto is "To the world we are just a team; to each other, we are a family."

Jiu-jitsu is often referred to as "The Gentle Art," and there are so many things I enjoy about jiu-jitsu, including the team and family environment. Also, jiu-jitsu is a very humbling art because there is always someone a little better than you are. It forces you to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand to solve the problem in front of you right then and there. I also love seeing others get promoted; it's a sign the whole team has improved. Jiu-jitsu has allowed me to better understand how I learn new concepts and create new ideas, and this carries over to all aspects of my life. Many people don't know what they are capable of because they don't have obstacles to overcome. In jiu-jitsu, on the other hand, there is an obstacle in your way every second you are on the mat -- it may be your own personal obstacle due to body limitations, or it may be the obstacle of a much bigger or much quicker opponent.