Who am I?
My name is Mark Peltier. I am from the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. I am currently 22 years old and am a recent graduate from The University of Texas at Austin. I am a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt under Carlos Machado black belt Roberto Kaelin out of Keller, Texas (a suburb of north Ft. Worth). Due to my schooling and traveling, I have trained at numerous schools throughout Texas and the rest of the country. I have also trained with numerous black belts across the state of Texas and around the United States. Among these include multiple time Pan-Am and World Champions. I have trained with jiu-jitsu greats such as: Travis Tooke, Auerlio Gallegos, Tony Passos, Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller, Robert Drysdale, Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Marcelo Garcia, Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti, and one of my closer coaches of late, Rubens “Cobrniha” Charles. I have competed numerous times throughout Texas and fought world champions on the mat. Some of my tournament accomplishments are:
IBJJF Dallas International Open Dallas, TX 2011
-3rd Place Adult Brown Belt Medio 167.5-181
IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship Irvine, CA 2011
-Quarter Finalist Adult Brown Belt Medio 167.5-181
IBJJF Houston International Open Houston, TX 2011
-3rd Place Adult Brown Belt Meio-Pesado 181-194.5
Battle of H-Town Houston, TX 2010
-Defeated Jarrod Clontz in Brown Belt Super Fight
Grappler’s Quest Europa Show Dallas, TX 2010
-1st Place Advanced No-Gi 190-199.9
-2nd Place Brown Belt 180-210
Fight to Win Texas BJJ Championships North Richland Hills, TX 2010
-2nd Place Advanced No-Gi 190-210
-2nd Place Brown/Black 190-210
Fight to Win Century Championship Austin, TX 2010
-2nd Place Purple 190-210
NAGA Europa Show Dallas, TX 2008
-3rd Place Advanced No-GI 190-199
Me alongside my coach, mentor, and friend Roberto Kaelin
Myself alongside 4x World Champion Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles
I started my jiu-jitsu journey in April of 2007. I was 18 years old, getting close to graduating high school. I wanted to find something active to get into as I had put on weight after my senior football season had ended. I noticed close to my home in Keller, Texas a building had a sign hanging in front of it reading “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coming Soon”. I walked over to the window to peak in and saw two people in gis, a man and a woman, training on a little 10×10 ft blue mat in the middle of a much larger room with all concrete floors. I decided to open the door and go in as I was already interested in jiu-jitsu. I had started to watch mixed martial arts (MMA) a few years back and always found the grappling aspect of it intriguing.
I walked in and was imediately greated by the man and the woman. He introduced him self as Roberto Kaelin and her as Tracy D’Arcy. Roberto than informed me that he was a black belt under Carlos Marchado and that he was going to be opening up his school there in two weeks. Until they got their good mats in and offically opened the doors, he invited me to come in and train and try it out with them, free of charge. They had gis that I could use until I could get my own. I said thank you very much I will see you at 7. I came back later that evening at 7 and got on the mat for the first time. Little did I know that that moment would change my life forever…
I immediately fell in love with the sport. The whole aspect of jiu-jitsu intrigued me. How every little movement was a carefully planned, technical motion that paved way to the next. It was essentially a game of chess where the pieces were our bodies. I kept coming back every night for the next 3 months until apparently the “two weeks” till my coach opened his doors had finally come. Every night had just been myself, Tracy, whom was running the office for Roberto, and Roberto training. Tracy had also just started out as well. We trained every night, usually just the three of us. Also, by training, I mean Roberto consistently rolling through us both every night (which ironically still happens today). Eventually more people started to filter in slowly, but not many, and none consistently. By early August I was preparing to leave to head to college. I was set to attend the University of Texas in Austin, about 3 hours (in Texas we measure distance in increments of time) south. Roberto decided the week before I left that I was ready and promoted me to the rank of blue belt. I knew this was a big step for me.
Left: Roberto promoting me to blue belt.
Below: Tracy, Roberto, and I after we got promoted to blue belt.
Upon moving to Austin for school, I continued my training under Carlos Machado black belt William Vandry. I trained with Vandry for a year and a half. I have to say I learned so much from all of his guys as well as him. I eventually discontinued my training with Vandry due to financial issues. However, while in Austin, I also met and began to train with guys at the University of Texas Jiu-Jitsu club. When I started there, there was only a few of us getting together to train three times a week. It eventually kept growing semester after semester. I eventually took over the club as my friends who founded the club graduated from law school. I had started to help out teaching and eventually would take over teaching and running the entire club.
For my first two summers in school, I would return back to Keller to train with Roberto. I would always learn so much from him and it was always great to be back at my home school training at my roots. Training was going great and everything was as it should be. Then in the summer of 2009, I started to have pains on my tail bone. It soon escalated to where I was barley able to sit down… a jiu-jitsu players worst nightmare. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a piolonial cyst. It is a cyst that forms on the tail bone and causes sever pain and discomfort. I was informed I would have to have surgery in order to deal with it. Because of this, I wanted to train as much as I could leading up to the surgery simply because I knew I would be taking time off afterwards. I ended up grinding it out for another week of training. During one of those days, I rolled with Roberto for an extended period of time. The roll felt like it was forever. Afterwards, he told me he thought I was doing very well and he was impressed with my progress. I thought nothing of it at the time. Then the next day when I showed up, June 5th, 2009, I was promoted to the rank of purple belt.
Left: Roberto promoting me to purple belt.
Bellow: Me, Roberto, and Tracy upon us getting promoted.
Receiving my purple belt was one of the best moments in my jiu-jitsu journey. It is the day that you realize two very important things. One is that you know you have joined the elite level of jiu-jitsu ranks. You are no longer a beginner in the eyes of the jiu-jitsu world. You also represent your coach and your lineage. And two, probably the most important, you realize that you are in it for life. You will continue on until you achieve the rank of black belt and you are going to keep training no matter what happens in your life until you physically cannot any longer. At that very moment, one of your life long goals is to try to perfect the art in which you have chosen to partake in.
I eventually had my surgery and had to take two months off of training, the longest I had ever had to do. It was very difficult but I made it through it. I then returned back to Austin for school. I noticed through my training at the jiu-jitsu club, that my game had plateued and that I needed something more to get my game on the upward slope again. It was then that I decided to go and train at Rubicon Fight Sports with their jiu-jitsu crew. I started to train with them every night that I could. It was there that I met my good friends and traning partners Darrin Lillian and Ryan Sosa. Also training there was another friend that I had met previously, Jeff Rockwell. At that time, Ryan was a purple belt, Jeff a brown belt, and Darrin a black belt. All of them were very technical and smooth and soon I found myself the training crew I needed to elevate my game. For the next five months I trained with them as much as I could.
Soon Jeff recieved his black belt and rightfully so from his coach Tony Passos. They forced me to train at the highest level. Every night I was forced to bring my A-game or be completely overwhelmed. I attribute my large advancement during that time to those gentlemen. They pushed me in the direction I needed. (Left: Me, Jeff Rockwell, Darrin Lillian, Nelson Blair, and Ryan Sosa in a private training session)
The upcoming summer of 2o10 I ended up taking an internship job in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before I went to Tulsa, I got to return home to Keller to train for a week with Roberto. Again, we rolled for a very long time. We rolled very hard and ended up having a great roll. He asked me to return home the following weekend if I could. Obviously I made the plans to do so. The next day I packed my things and headed off to Tulsa. I had never been to Tulsa before. I pulled up to my crappy apartment where I would stay for three months. I took all my stuff up stairs, dropped it off, and then proceeded to grab my things and head over to the local gym that I knew of. I walked in and immediately was greated. Class had just started and I was invited to go on in and train. I suited up and walked in the door to the training area.
The coach I actually had met back in February at a tournament because I had taken some pictures of one of his matches. I stepped in and was soon greeted by him with a big smile. His name was Piet Wilhelm and at the time, was a four stripe brown belt under American Top Team black belt Renato Tavares. From that day on, Triton Fight Center became my new home in Tulsa. I would end up meeting many great people that I now consider part of my extended family. However, after the first week of being there I returned home to Roberto’s as asked. I ended up rolling with Roberto again for an extended period of time and after I was dead tired and unsuspecting, Roberto presented me with my brown belt on May 29th, 2010. I had only been training for just over three years. I told him I didn’t think that I deserved it. He responded with, “Two things: One, don’t every doubt your skills my friend and two, it is not your choice!”
Bellow: Robeto promoting me to the rank of brown belt
Right: Tracy, Roberto, and I together again a few weeks after we were promoted
I eventually returned to Tulsa and finished out my internship there. Throughout the summer, I trained every day at Triton with my new family. There I grew even more with respect to my jiu-jitsu game. Everyone there from white to the three other browns was very tough. Every roll was hard and that was something that I was missing from my own game. At Triton, I like to think of it as my toughing period. Every day it was over 105 degrees in the gym and every day we would train very hard. It was very intense, great training. As I stated previously, all of the people at Triton I now consider part of my extended family and to this day I still make it an effort as much as possible to travel up to Tulsa and train. Also, in October of 2010, my good friend Piet Wilhelm was given his well deserved black belt by his master, Renato. It was one of the most over due promotions I have ever seen in my short jiu-jitsu career.
John Church, Mike Budnik, Clayton Robinson, Piet Wilhelm, and Myself promoting Clayton to the rank of purple belt at Triton
The small class of my family that sent me away with a gift at the end of my summer at Triton
After my long summer of hard training at Triton in Tulsa, I moved back to finish up my last semester of college in Austin. I would end up finishing my Mechanical Engineering degree a semester early, finishing only in three and a half years. I returned to training with my friends at Rubicon Fight Sports. By this time, Ryan Sosa had also received his well deserved promotion to brown belt. Things went back to the way they were. I was training consistently with all of the guys at Rubicon. However, I knew this being my last semester, I wanted to put on an event to give back to all the guys of Austin that had helped me get to where I was. I could think of no one better to bring in than 4x World Champion Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles for a two day training camp. I had been a fan of Cobrinha ever since I started jiu-jitsu and knew he would be someone who could teach all of us something on the mat. I arranged to have him come in for two days in October of 201o. Training with Cobrinha was like a dream come true. Being able to train with one of my idols was a truly great experience. Not only was he amazing on the mat, he was also one of the nicest human beings I have ever met. I learned so much from him in those few days both on and off the mat. That weekend also truly showed me how great our sport really was. One of the super stars of our sport was willing to come out and train with us and be completely down to earth. No other sport is like that. The weekend left me with a vast amount of knowledge and wisdom, as well as a great new friend and coach.
Cobrinha and I in front of the Tower at the University of Texas at Austin.
I eventually went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with my degree in Mechanical Engineering in December of 2010. The week after I finished with school I was invited to go to the Alliance Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia to train with Cobrinha again. I took the opportunity and ended up spending a week in Atlanta training with the likes of Cobrinha and Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti. Again, I learned so much from the experience. Cobrinha helped me so much with my open guard, my passing game, and my training mind set. He is a true champion both on and off the mat. I know that I will do my best to travel to California to train at his new academy as soon as I can. I also got a good insight there as to what it takes to train to be a world champion. The amount of dedication all of those guys showed to training as much as possible to be prepared for competition really opened my eyes. I knew then that if thats what is takes to become a world champion, than that was what I would have to do.
Before I graduated, I ended up taking a job as a graduate mechanical engineer. The job, however, will not start until the second week of June. This has alloted me a full six months to train, compete, and pursue jiu-jitsu full time for the very first time in my jiu-jitsu career. I plan on attending all of the major IBJJF competitions including: The Houston Open, The Pan Ams, The NYC Open, The Dallas Open, and finally the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships. Today, I am back in my home town training full time with Roberto at Roberto Kaelin BJJ in Keller, Texas in preparation for the upcoming tournament season…
Now you know my jiu-jitsu story. In retrospect, I have not been training jiu-jitsu that long… it will be four years in April. However, in the short time that I have been training, jiu-jitsu has brought great joy to my life and continues to do so everyday. It is much more than a martial art, a sport, or a hobby: It is a way of life. It is a lifestyle. It is a way to live your life every second of every day. As this website/blog will be about my training, experiences, thoughts, and ideals with regards to jiu-jitsu as well as provide a great tool for everyone in the jiu-jitsu world whom shares the lifestyle, it is rightly named with the saying that has helped shape my outlook on life:
Live the Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle.