Athlete Focus: Hip Hop Rhymer and BJJ Black Belt Nathan Mendelsohn

Nathan Mendelsohn grew up on the mats. First, it was karate as a toddler, then the Korean martial art, Ho Kuk Mu Sul, until he was 10, finally settling on the one martial art he’d stick with for life…jiu-jitsu.

With so many years in the dojo we had to know how the Santa Cruz black belt finds balance in his life. Plus, what major lessons he’s learned from being a life long martial artist. Get to know Hyperfly sponsored athlete, Nathan Mendelsohn.

You trained a bunch of martial arts as a kid, do you ever practice anything other than BJJ now?

Nowadays just some wrestling! I was training Muay Thai for a while a few years back when I was considering going into MMA, but I've pretty much decided to just stick with jiu-jitsu because that is the sport I love with all my heart.

What are your other interests outside of jiu-jitsu?

Hip-Hop and surfing! I live in Santa Cruz which is home to some of the best waves in the entire continental United States, and have been surfing since I was a kid (though I'm not particularly good at it). My true passion outside of BJJ is rhyming!

How did you get into rhyming and hip hop? What was the inspiration behind that?

I started listening to hip-hop when I was 12 years old when I first heard "Get Rich or Die Trying” by 50 Cent, and whenever I find something I'm really interested in I automatically feel a strong desire to learn how to do it myself. I began writing my own rhymes almost immediately after and haven't stopped since. There is something extremely gratifying about making music that you are truly proud of. That can't be matched in any other way. 

At the moment I'm focused on making hip-hop for the jiu-jitsu community. You can hear my first album "Kimura Trap Vol 1" on all digital platforms! My first official music video is also up on youtube "No G in a GI,” and my most recent release with MC DiDi and Bili MC called "Bonde do Esmaga Osso" (where I rap in both English and Portuguese) is approaching 90k views on the BJJ Emotions Youtube. Kimura Trap Vol 2 is almost done and should be released sometime this year. Stay tuned!

 

What’s the biggest way jiu jitsu has helped you in daily life off the mat?

I started training jiu-jitsu when I was ten years old, so it has helped mold me in almost every way. But one of the things jiu-jitsu has taught me is to believe in consistency and persistence over all else. I always believe in my ability to be successful in anything I'm willing to work hard enough at for long enough.

What’s one thing you wish you knew as a blue belt?

Better guard retention! (laughs)

What’s the best thing you took away from the year that was 2020?

To be thankful every day I am able to be on the mat…and the academy I work to have its doors open and to never take that for granted.

What’s your current favorite piece of Hyperfly gear?

The Judo Fly for sure! Every time I train with someone for the first time while wearing it they always ask what gi it is and comment on how hard it is to make grips on it! Favorite gi of all time!

 

Thanks Nathan! Be sure to check out his Instagram and stay tuned for his next album Kimura Trap Vol 2 !

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