Instructor Profile: Alex D’Hue

Headshot of Garden Grove Jiu Jitsu instructor Alex D'Hue

Favorite position: Closed guard

Favorite submission: Collar choke from the back

Favorite book: The last lecture by Randy Pausch

Favorite quote:  “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” -C.S. Lewis

Favorite restaurant:  Caffe Caldo (for breakfast), Michael’s Pizzeria (for dinner)

Favorite drink: Water

Favorite band: One republic

Favorite movie: Interstellar

Hobbies: “Surfing, teaching, reading, playing guitar, video games, eating and cooking.”

Black belt from: “Otavio Sousa.”

School Where You Teach: Gracie Barra Garden Grove

Started training Jiu Jitsu because… “I was always interested in self-defense and I wanted to pursue MMA.  Being an avid fan of MMA, I knew I needed a strong base in Jiu Jitsu to have any real success, so that gave me a real big motivation to learn it.”

Based on what you know now, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself when you were starting Jiu Jitsu? “I feel I was very open when it came to learning and not worried about failing and trying again.  I think for most people that’s the issue they may run into early on in their BJJ journey, but I feel it wasn’t really an issue for me.  One aspect I didn’t always thoroughly anticipate/consider was taking care of my body and staying injury free.  Being young, I felt I was almost invincible, and the injuries I accrued over a short period is what dramatically shortened my competitive journey in both MMA and BJJ.  So, I would tell myself to be extremely mindful of injuries and recovery.”

What are your thoughts on competition? Is it necessary? “I think there are so many valuable lessons and experiences to take away from competition.  The entire process is challenging: the preparation, the actual competition, and finally the aftermath of a competition.  I believe all these are invaluable to real personal growth.  You can have dramatic jumps in learning, and huge personal growth from putting yourself under this process.  And although we all have different baselines, circumstances and limitations, competition can help you learn how to navigate all these and bring the best of yourself into this challenge.  I believe that really helps you learn a lot about yourself, and about what others around you go through as well.  For me it has helped me really appreciate not only competitors in BJJ but in all other fields and disciplines.”

Thoughts on kids training Jiu Jitsu? “I really think BJJ along with wrestling, judo, sambo are sports that are incredibly beneficial for kids and their growth.  They are incredibly challenging.  Having this type of activity in your life, as a standard builds character traits in kids that are priceless and that are really hard to learn on a consistent basis anywhere else.  Although most sports give you lot of strong benefits, I don’t think they do it to the extent that these grappling sports do.  Kids deal with failures, and victories every single session.  For the most part it’s failures and losses.  To have the ability to experience this and learn how to navigate around all these emotions, and experiences every day or every practice is preparing individuals for the real world later on.  Education gives you very valuable knowledge, but these activities build traits that are hard to teach in classes.  It’s something you have to experience and feel.  Most of my kids do every practice and the growth I see in all of them is amazing.  I’m looking forward to see the types of adults, citizens, and active members of society my kid students will become.”

What advice would you give to parent’s who have kids who train Jiu Jitsu? “to be very supportive, ask the instructor for what they believe will best help their child in their BJJ journey, and be patient.  As enriching as BJJ is, it’s also very difficult and challenging.  Not all kids react, learn, or progress the same.  It’s easy to have unrealistic expectations, and when they are not reached, some parents may deal with that in a way that is not beneficial to the child, and at times even detrimental.  The way parents (and even coaches) react to failures, successes or road blocks can determine what type of learning experience/journey the child will have.  Depending on this, the child can love or hate BJJ, and if it’s the ladder then they don’t get to reap all the benefits BJJ would have provided them.  Such as a teamwork, support system, learning how to be coached, learning how to overcome, etc.…  therefore, it’s really important to consider this, to give your child an opportunity to fail and succeed, to be positive, and have patience in reaching any of the goals you’re aiming to meet.”

As an avid surfer, how do the two sports resemble each other? Do they benefit each other? “I think both activities really have a lot of similarities in their learning process, they both take time, patience, humbleness, dedication, growth, and more.  But once you’ve fully embraced and experienced it, you have this new perspective on everything lol.  Whether it be lifestyle, or appreciation for the sport or others that do it.  When someone asks me about either passions, I tell them, it’s hard to explain, you really have to do it to understand it.”

Goals in Jiu Jitsu (both competition and as an instructor)? “as far as competition, I’d like to get healthy enough to get back in there and mix it up, that alone would make me happy.  As an instructor I have two goals major goals, produce world champions, and create a top kids program.  I have a purple belt, Natalie Van Hamersveld, who I think is the closest to achieve a world championship title, and our kids team had a really strong year.  So I’m very excited and happy with what 2017 and 2018 is going to look like for us.”

Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years? “I see myself continuing to pursue my dream, building new dreams, having a real impact on more and more people, whether they are my students or not.  I see myself with a family, surfing, rolling, teaching, being happy, enabling others dreams to be achieved, enjoying the people I love…  living life, the way it should be …”

About Alex D’Hue: Professor Alex D’Hue is the Head Instructor of Gracie Barra Garden Grove.