Staff Highlight: Coach Isiah "Shonuff" Wright

Coach Isiah, a Colorado Springs native, is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) brown belt, an avid competitor, and teaches our Little Tigers & Tigers kids classes, as well as Thursday evening youth competition class. He started training BJJ with Professor Vellore Caballero at Easton Centennial at the age of 19, and is now 27 years old. He got his nickname from the 80’s karate movie The Last Dragon” and first got interested in training through playing MMA video games. He quickly discovered MMA wasn't for him, but BJJ definitely was! Since he started training BJJ, he has competed in over 70 tournaments, 13 professional matches (with an impressive record of 9-4), earned 54 medals, and a pro title belt, which he plans on defending in the next few months. He he just added another win to his resume last weekend at the Ultimate Absolute pro event in Kansas City!

Leading up to competition, he trains 2-3 times a day, 6 days a week, incorporating drilling, rolling, strength and conditioning, and rehab. Part of his rehab includes letting his body relax at Sozo Chiropractic and Castle Rock Cyro. He also likes to watch movies about war or fighting in his down time, and has to get plenty of sleep to keep up with his training schedule. When he competes locally, the day of his fight he prepares himself at Landow Performance, starting with a detailed warm-up, stretch, and sprints.


Photo by Mike Calimbas


Coach Isiah didn’t plan to teach kids, at first he thought it would just be a temporary job. However, it turned out he had a knack for teaching so he stuck with it, and these days he continues to hone his skills as an instructor. He said, “I never actually wanted to teach, but I started and never left. Now I enjoy it. I love those kids!” He added, “The best part is seeing them overcome their own struggles and seeing their confidence grow.” Kids can build their skills and confidence in the Little Tigers and Tigers classes, our foundational youth BJJ programs. If they want to compete, they can join in the competition class as well. It is more fast-paced and demanding, to simulate the intensity level of tournaments, Coach Isiah explained. This type of training is really beneficial because first-time competitors are often shocked by the fight tempo and aggression level at a tournament compared to regular training

If you asked Coach Isiah what qualities are best for this type of contact sport, he would say that there are no specific qualities required to be great at BJJ, just the willingness to learn and work hard. “That’s why I love jiu-jitsu,” he said, “because there’s a whole connection of different people brought together from all walks of life.”

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