Nine years ago, Ruiz started his journey in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is now the 185-pound Georgia champion after winning the title last year.
“I started mostly to get into shape,” Ruiz said. “Once I started doing it I just naturally fell in love with the sport and the aspect of it. It started teaching me a lot of things just not about myself but about other people –how to better myself in a lot of ways.”
As a result, Ruiz wanted to pass these lessons on and not only does he accomplish this at Independent but at Georgia State University as well.
“A lot of great philosophies come along with it about how to overcome struggles in life,” said Ruiz, who has been teaching at Georgia State for two years. “I really grasped a lot of that. Once I started doing it, I felt a passion for teaching and not just teaching but competing as well.”
On the mat, Ruiz also has an 8-2 record and was the winner of the Brown Belt division in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Atlanta International Open last year. He plans to compete in the tournament again in August.
In order to be successful, Ruiz said he believes an opponent must be approached like an animal views its prey.
“It’s like a tiger,” he said. “You wait and wait and wait and when you see that right opportunity you pounce on your opponent. Make your opponent tap out or lose consciousness.”
Ruiz is just as confident in his ability to box and compete in the combat sport Muay Thai as well.
“I feel like I’m a well-rounded fighter but a lot of people just know me for my jiu-jitsu,” said Ruiz, who trains six days a week.