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Jarod Koopman

Checkmat 1st Degree Black Belt


Certified Firearms and Defensive Tactics Instructor and a federal law enforcement officer for the US Government

What year did you start training and what was your attraction to BJJ?

I started training in 2004 under Kyle Saunders (Saunders BJJ) in Rochester, NY. I was drawn to BJJ for two reasons – I was a few years into my career as a Federal Agent and felt that from a law enforcement perspective, training should be a priority and a requirement. I went to several martial arts schools and then walked into Saunders BJJ in great shape, weighing 210 and got absolutely destroyed by a 150 lb. blue belt. I immediately paid for 6 months and began training 4 days a week. The other reason was the challenge – I just finished my college and professional lacrosse career and was looking for something to challenge me physically and mentally.

What do you most enjoy about BJJ and training at LEMA?

BJJ is endless growth – the advancements in the game, the creativity in movement and the mental competition becomes such an addiction. After 16-17 years training, I still find myself learning and trying to adapt all the time. Additionally, I have moved 7 times for my career – meeting so many amazing people over the years and LEMA has truly become a home after all that time. The comradery among our teammates is outstanding and I enjoy showing up to class and watching others grow.

Who is your inspiration and why?

My inspirations are my wife, my parents and my in-laws. They all work extremely hard to provide for their families, raised outstanding people with good morals/conviction and continue to educate themselves in areas of interest. I truly believe that it’s that strive for constant knowledge and betterment that keeps people young and healthy.

What are some of your achievements?

Some of my greatest achievements include my wife/kids, my journey in BJJ, a successful sports career, a ton of hobbies (never stop learning) and a rewarding profession for 20 years working impactful investigations focused on financial fraud, terrorism financing, cyber crime and identity theft. It’s satisfying to see criminals held accountable for their actions.

What is your favorite submission?

Bow and arrow choke – my game sets up to get there. Or the wrist lock – so easy, so stupid, yet so effective….

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