top of page

Mackenzie Arrington

Checkmat Black Belt

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

I started originally in a tiny aerobics room that had a few stretching mats back in college in 2009. We just had people of all walks of training and we had a 10th planet book we would try and imitate. Then we would spar until we were too tired or there was a submission because we didn't have a clock. I stopped "training" when I graduated and I couldn't get jiu jitsu out of my mind. It was all I thought about. I heard a saying that you should be doing the things you cannot stop thinking about when you aren't able to do them. Then one day back in, I want to say 2011, in Brooklyn I walked by a building that had a "Jiu Jitsu Gym Opening Soon" sign out front, I knocked on the door and took a trial class on some mats that weren't even installed yet. From there I was "officially" training BJJ. I felt drawn to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu initially because I was only working out back in college and quickly realized after my first time doing it, that it doesn't matter how big or strong you are, if you do not know how to defend yourself properly, it's going to be a bad time. My favorite food is humble pie and Jiu Jitsu is always serving that up.

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

I was drawn to it because I come from a very chaotic upbringing and profession and I felt that Jiu Jitsu really allows me to turn the volume down of everyday life, to focus on the absolute present and ultimately helped me be confident in myself. Not about being able to defend and handle myself but I learned that I can get through anything when things get tough. I aim to always exhaust myself while training so I can keep going, jiu jitsu truly happens when all of the x factors of strength, size, and cardio are taken out of the equation.

Who is your inspiration and why?

This is a hard question. If I had to narrow it down I'd say Dan Covel. His style is very different than mine but he showed me a lot and is the hardest worker in the room. A true specialist in doing one thing very well but evolving other move or position around it to be a complete threat no matter where the round goes.
Honorable mentions: Dean Lister

What are some of your achievements?

Got past being a white belt.
Getting promoted to Black Belt in Oct 2023.
Black Belt absolute Gold Medalist May 2023 at Buffalo Classic
ADCC Trials Medalist at Blue Belt
Multiple times gold Medalist through White-Purple Belt in IBJJF, Good Fight & Naga Competitions
IBJJF Pan Am No Gi Silver Medal in Blue Belt Absolute
Reached as 6th Ranked Super Heavy Blue Belt in IBJJF Rankings

What is your favorite submission?

Gi: Loop Chokes
No-Gi: Rear Naked Chokes

bottom of page