Kyle Young began taking boxing lessons after his attempts to keep an organized group of recreational soccer players together fell apart. He boxed for two years and enjoyed it, but once he tried Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he discovered where his real love of martial arts lay.
“After only a few classes, I realized that I was getting a great workout both mentally and physically,” says Young. “Every class included some sparring or live rolling, so I was getting to test out and try techniques only minutes after they were demonstrated and drilled.”
Young, now a purple belt in BJJ, says that although he didn’t come to Century specifically because of the martial arts angle, having a familiarity with Jiu-Jitsu has helped at work. As the division manager of the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA), the consulting branch of Century, Young works closely with martial arts school owners and instructors.
“By understanding gym cultures, values, and even struggles, I am better able to relate to school owners,” Young says. “Understanding the changing needs of owners, and tailoring the delivery method and information that we provide them, helps to grow the martial arts industry one student and one school at a time.”
Young’s favorite experience in martial arts – so far – has been traveling to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where he got to watch some of the ADCC World Championships, including BJJ legend Ricardo Liborio’s victory over José Mario Sperry. He even had the chance to meet and train with Liborio at the Ricardo de la Riva gym in Rio.
“Training in the birthplace of BJJ with one of the great innovators and masters is something I’ll always cherish,” Young says.
Naturally, Young’s favorite Century product is the 96 Especial Gi, which was named in honor of Liborio’s epic victory at the inaugural IBJFF World Championship in 1996. Liborio worked closely with Century to create the gi, which Young says is durable and well-tailored, in addition to bearing the name of one of the BJJ greats.