David Aguzzi - Grappling Industries

2014-03-20 05:45:18

Grappling Industries is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission-Wrestling tournament that follows a Round Robin format ensuring that each adult competitor gets 4 fights and all kids receive 3 fights for signing up in a division.  Following a round robin format allows competitors to fight different people that they have never competed against before.  The round robin brackets are followed by playoffs between the top competitors in the bracket, which allows competitors to fight as much as possible in a professional atmosphere.

All of the fights at Grappling Industries are recorded and uploaded to their website free of charge. This allows everyone fighting the opportunity to research and study their fights.

The Grand Prizes at Grappling Industries include all paid trips to the biggest tournaments in the world going on to allow these winners to fight against the world’s best while making a name for themselves. The events also consist of giveaways to every competitor, lots of sponsors giving away prizes to division winners, and beautiful custom made medals.

David Aguzzi is the man behind Grappling Industries and we managed to catch up with him, and ask him questions about his life, his dreams and the incredible world of fighting.

Good morning David, we all know you are the man behind Grappling Industries, but what areas of fighting to do you specialize in?

I specialize in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I had the opportunity to start very young while not many people had yet heard of the ground fighting style. I have been a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt for 5 years. I have also wrestled as well as studied the art of Muay Thai. I have put all my skills together several times on the amateur MMA circuit in Quebec while we were still fortunate to have it in the province.

Are you passionate about what you do? Do you like what you do?

I truly love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it has shaped my life. Without it, I wouldn’t have the same friends or the same schedule I have now. To be quite frank, I would be a history teacher in a college somewhere. I am really passionate about Grappling Industries because it is my first company so somewhat like a baby to me still. What keeps me passionate is tomorrow, and the day after that. I want to see this company grow and do things haters thought were not possible. I don’t believe Grappling Industries is anywhere near its potential and that’s a good reason for keeping at it, there is still much to learn and do.

What attracted you to the world of grappling?

I hate to sound corny or anything but it was actually a vhs video tape of a UFC my brother rented to check out. We watched it together, and I saw Tito Ortiz get submitted by a guillotine choke after beating the shit out of Guy Mezger. It made no sense to me how a guy could get beat up yet be able to just wrap his arms around the other guy’s neck and make him submit. That was bat shit crazy to me, I had to find out how to do that choke and what else there was to learn like this, and I didn’t even like fighting at the time either. Basically seeing that choke applied made me adventure into grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where over time I fell deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of techniques that consists in MMA.

Where do you see your company going 5 years from now?

That’s actually an interesting question. Most companies actually close up within their first 5 years of business. Grappling Industries is about to hit its 3rd year anniversary, consistently making more sales year after year. To be honest, it is hard for me to tell you where I see it being and where it will actually be because I don’t like to fool myself. I’ll tell you this however, Grappling Industries will be in many more cities 5 years from now and those cities will be spread out amongst North America. I hope one day for every competitor to have an opportunity to try a Grappling Industries event and that means that there is just so much work ahead of me right now. I welcome the work, the stress, and the hardships because I am confident Grappling Industries is a format tournament with unique concepts such as its tournament video library, giveaways, grand prize trips, and most importantly its round robin format giving every competitor more fights than any other tournament at our event, in a professional organized atmosphere.

What is your best memory so far with Grappling Industries?

The thing about me is I feel every time I have ever done anything, it could have always been done a little better. The honest truth is that I am just never happy with anything, that can be bad but it can also be good. My best memories of Grappling Industries definitely needs to be wrapped around its expansion from being a tournament only in Montreal, Quebec to adding Toronto, Ontario to the circuit. It was our first expansion, doubling the amount of events we promoted a year, but most importantly it gave us that experience in learning what it takes to expand into another market. Every company has to start out where it is comfortable. Being able to reach new markets is definitely something to take pride in when it comes to event-based companies like our own.

How many years of experience do you have as a businessman in Martial Arts?

I have now about 3 years of actual business experience and 15 years of martial arts studying as well. I have always had an open mind but at the same time concentrated on the facts, trying to have no bias. When I noticed a demand for BJJ tournaments while there being almost none now in Montreal at the time, I decided I wanted to explore this market place. It was not about just looking for where money could actually be made, but because this was something I was actually very passionate about so if I could really contribute to the market in the good way then I would be investing for future generations in the martial art.

If you could describe yourself in four words, what would those words be?

Tough question but luckily I have been going on many dates lately and this typically something somebody would ask the other to find out a few details about them or sprout conversation. I am laid back and by that I mean although there is a time to be serious with people, clients, sponsors, and friends, there is also a time to not be as serious. I laugh when bad things happen to me, even more when I see them coming beforehand. The thing is we are humans and humans fail all the time, even the strongest or smartest ones if such can even be classified. On top of my door hangs a board that reads a tale about how if we can laugh at ourselves, we’ll never cease to be amused. To describe myself in the other 2 words I would use risk taker, every company needs one eventually. Risks in business are important; starting a business is one of the biggest risks an individual can even take if they invested into it. Not everyone likes taking risks, especially with hard earned money they made prior. I never really had any money so I had to depend on family and friend’s loans, which can very stressful since you don’t want to lose their money. Risk taking and being laid back both have to do with confidence, confidence allows a person to take risks in hopes of return or enjoy when bad things happen to them because they know it’ll never happen the same again. It’s safe to say, I am really trying to work on my confidence and eliminate the stupidity that is stress.

What do you do in your spare time?

I have a beagle who I love hanging out, she cracks me up all the time. I am also a history buff as that is what I spent my first university degree actually on but lately I have been spending less time reading on history and devoting my accessible free time to learning about business/accounting. I also enjoy watching movies as it’s the world’s most used method of entertainment, and there are just many great stories that I must hear and watch them all. It sounds dumb but I always try to take something away from what I do be it a story, a new joke, or experience. Lately to accomplish gaining these new experiences, I have been trying to do a lot of new things that I have never done before. 

A leader must be equipped with a set of competences necessary to perform his/her role. Which one would you say is the most important ability a leader should have?

Responsibility. I cannot stress this enough. If you want to see something grow then you will take responsibility in doing what it takes to grow it. There is no passing the blame. There are no expectations of other people always delivering you top notch work. There is especially no expectation that draws will continue to grow. I demand success from the people I have surrounded myself with but at the same time I acknowledge that they are led in this company by me. If I want people to deliver me good work, I need to be responsible enough to help any way I can or guide them enough to know what to get back to me. If I want events to continue to draw bigger crowds, I need to be responsible to make sure I visit every avenue of advertising and give all my contacts enough time each. If I want to be successful, I need to be responsible.

How do you start your ordinary day? How does it end? Do you still have enough time to sleep and rest?

This is going to sound so lame but I start by looking at my stats from the previous day. I return emails and messages sent to the company. I try to knock off a big task that I had to work on for the company afterwards; this can be anything from writing up campaigns, scheduling posts, all the way up to organizing the bookkeeping or completing paperwork that is due. I get my training in during the day and while traveling to them and back take public transit so I can study useful material or take creative notes in a book I always have on me. I have plenty of time to sleep as I am not on a schedule right now but at the same time being a night owl and recently devoting myself to trying to be as responsible as possible with my affairs I have struggled to get as much sleep as I used to. Days always end with a movie stream, the sound helps me sleep. I am sure there are lots of people who know what I mean and leave their tvs on.

What are the 3 most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or that got you where you are?

Based on the company’s current history, I would break it down into Expansion, Education, and Turn Around. Let me explain. Like said earlier, expansion really helped the company as it opened up a new market and involved a lot of work. Expanding taught us what it takes to expand so we could properly prepare for it in future expansions since you never want to visit a city for the first time with a weak looking event which I felt awkwardly enough that was the case with our first event in Toronto. It could have been so much better done than it was. So even though people liked the show a lot, as a promoter it opened my mind right up. Education was very important for Grappling Industries. We didn’t want to be a plain tournament like so many before and after of us have come to be, we wanted to always evolve and use unique creative ideas to brand our company even more. Working with Ace Maverick Media, Grappling Industries advertisements and reach strongly increased. We started taking responsibility for our actions and looking past the thoughts we can do this by ourselves. Instead, it became a time to ask others for their skills in helping us create a better event or even sound boarding some on current ideas. Books on marketing, accounting, and business were studied, coaches were spoken to, and new relationships with other skilled people and companies were made during this time. During this education phase, we realized how small we really are compared to the biggest companies in the world so we started acknowledging and looking over our stats as well consulting with lawyers on structuring laws in different places for businesses. Turn Around as I describe it is when a company leaves debt and is actually viable, Grappling Industries as mentioned earlier is a company built on loans so to allow the capital to grow. Grappling Industries has an amazing track record with paying its debts back and has turned around several times since we are keeping with the attitude of risking our profits for expansion. This idea embodies the fact that you can pay back large debt or loans within a planned schedule to create better opportunity for more income for the company. After all, it also embodies what has made Grappling Industries Canada’s biggest individual tournament company and that is being able to consistently expand and change itself using a productive cash flow and budget.

For more information about David Aguzzi or Grappling Industries visit grapplingindustries.com.

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Sean Lee

2014-03-20 09:27:39
Great interview! A friend of mine is interested in competing so I'm going to put him in touch with David!

Nick Farquel

2014-03-21 11:39:50
Pretty cool interview. David sound like a guy with his head screwed on right. Hopefully this takes off for him and I see him at a competition sometime.


2014-03-24 07:52:28
Can't wait to dominate at this event!

Josh C

2014-04-04 11:29:20
I attended the Grappling Industries event a few weeks ago and had a great time. Even thought I was a spectator I hope to take part in the next event and kick some butt!

Matin Yanyan

2014-05-16 11:01:03
I went and watched one of Grappling Industries events and I was very impressed. It was planned well, the fighters all seemed to be happy and the main focus was the sport!

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