Name: Daynin Dashefsky
Rank: 4-Stripe Brown
Lineage: 6 years- Jason Izaguirre (under Royler Gracie), 8 Years Under Ron Huxen (under Relson Gracie), 2 under Michael Chapman (under Chris Haueter)
Affiliation: Impact Jiu Jitsu out of Oregon
Competes at: Retired from Competing.
Nickname (if any): My instructor Michael Chapman honored me with the Nickname “Tornado” He said everyone better stay out of my way if I have an idea or want to do something because nothing will stop me. LOL
How long have you been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
16 Years (Started April 4, 2001)
What led you to the gentle art and what motivates you to continue?
I took my 2 daughters to dance class one day next door to Gracie Kailua in Honolulu, Hawaii and saw them training. I always wanted to learn self-defense but there were too many arts to choose from and I didn't know the differences. After talking to the head instructor Jason Izaguirre and doing my own research, I decided that as a single mom I needed to learn how to defend myself and protect my girls. Since there were no women in the class at that time, I felt it was important for me to not let that prevent me from learning. I believed that if I'm ever attacked, most likely it will be by a man so I better be comfortable training with men. Also, most likely I will end up on the ground so I better know how to protect myself on the ground. With that in mind, I signed up to train while my daughters did dance class next door. I immediately became addicted and 16 years later, I own two academies.
You have competed and won some prestigious tournaments over the years? Is there anything that stand out?
I’ve mostly competed in local tournaments in Hawaii including the NAGA where in 2009 I won Gold in the Gi and No-Gi divisions and the championship Belt in the absolute division. I also competed and medaled at a Grapplers Quests in Las Vegas and hold a Gold and Silver medals in the Worlds Masters in 2014.
Is there an accomplishment you are most proud of?
Opening Impact Kahala Jiu-Jitsu and being the first and only female to own a Jiu-Jitsu & Self Defense school in Hawaii would have to be something I am very proud of. There are so many amazing schools and instructors in Hawaii when it comes to BJJ so I had to create my own brand within our industry and that came through our tag line of “We are a life school, not a fight school”. That has been our mantra and it has attracted amazing people who truly want to learn Jiu-Jitsu without the intimidation or the fear of being hurt. I like to think of KJJ as a teaching academy, similar to how some hospitals are teaching hospitals. We encourage everyone to teach at some point, even white belts. Through teaching you understand Jiu-Jitsu at a much deeper level.
My love and appreciation of BJJ has grown tremendously since opening my academies and I have learned so much about people through the process. My own personal Jiu-Jitsu has taken on a whole new meaning and I have become a better practitioner and Instructor because of it. The rewards of passing on the art and changing lives for the better far outweigh any medal that I have ever won over the years.
What other competition goals do you have?
My goal is to support my students in achieving their goals in competition. As an owner and head instructor of 2 academies that rely a great deal on me, I cannot afford to get hurt or injured. My focus is to teach and support my students the best I can so that they may enjoy their journey. My single goal as an Instructor is to make my students fall in-love with Jiu-Jitsu and to support them best I can to take it as far as they want to go with it. With over 200 students and teaching 25 times a week between classes and privates, I have very little time for my own personal training anymore but I do love it now more than I ever have. It is a part of who I am.
Do you have anything special that you like to do in preparation for competition?
When I was competing, I would get extreme anxiety at even the thought of competing, even if it was months away. A sports psychologist once told me that that is common for many athletes. It’s usually the reaction to someone who does not like to lose. He said over-achievers who have high expectations of themselves are most likely to experience this. Because of this, I had to change my mindset. Since I was a blue belt, I never train for a tournament. I only decide to compete a week or two, at the most, before the event in order not to stress myself out. I also decided to change my mindset and looked at tournaments as a way to see where my “Everyday Jiu-Jitsu” was at rather than where it was only after I trained every day for weeks and at 100%. Sometimes I won and at times I learned. I try to always view my losses as learning experiences. That is how my jiu jitsu gets better. I also pass that mindset on to my students. I try to get them to understand that your opponent is not the enemy, but rather your partner whose job is to push you to your limits so that you may see what you are truly made of and your job is to do the same for them. You both trained hard, you both deserve to win and more importantly, you both love jiu-jitsu. It’s just a matter of who wants it more on that given day.
What advice do you have for people just starting out to train?
Be patient and enjoy the process. Every stage or belt level has valuable lessons that need to be understood and experience before proceeding on your journey. Take the time to get the most out of what this industry can offer. By trying to rush through the process before you've experienced these lessons and mindsets, deprives you from the true value that this martial art can offer to your Mind, Body and Spirit. Jiu-Jitsu is not just a way to learn how to fight, but it can be a way of life. It can provide you so many lessons that you can apply to any part of your life whether it be Family, Friends, Business, Health and Well Being, etc. Be patient and take the time to learn and accept all that is available.
Who do you look up to or admire the most in the game?
There are so many people I can think of and all for different reasons. For today, I would have to say my instructor Michael Chapman of Impact Jiu-Jitsu out of Oregon. Through his teachings and mind sets I have learned so much about what it takes to be a great teacher, leader, and BJJ practitioner. He taught me that it is one thing to build something but something totally different to maintain it with the same level of quality, respect, attention to detail and passion. He taught me that a true leader empowers the people around them by bringing out their strengths and talents and building them up to be great leaders. You get to a point in life where it’s not necessarily about you anymore but the people around you. The rewards come when elevating them and that is what I get the most reward from now. I still have so much to learn and I can honestly say that one of my best decisions I ever made in the sixteen years I have been doing this is my decision to have Michael Chapman as my professor to guide me to my Black Belt and beyond.
As the first and only woman to own and operate a Jiu-Jitsu and Self-Defense Academy in Hawaii, you are paving the way for more women to pursue their dreams in this arena. What does that mean to you?
It has various meanings to me. On one hand, I enjoy empowering men and women alike in hopes that I can pass something of value along and help people the same way others have helped me throughout my life. It’s all about “paying it forward” as they say.
It also gives me an opportunity to make a dent in our industry showing others that even someone who is not a world champion or famous or even the superior competitor can still be successful while inspiring others to grow and be the best they can be in BJJ. More importantly, it shows that all of us, men and women alike, have something of value to offer.
Aside from training in Jiu-Jitsu and teaching, you run another business, Hawaii Biz Kids. How do you find the time to balance it all/What tips do you have for other people who are striving to achieve balance?
Balance is not something that I can easily attained, but when I do, it is very difficult to maintain. Balance is forever flowing and changing and trying to catch it and maintain it is the goal.
Hawaii Biz Kids is my brain child which was thought about many years ago but only when I opened KJJ was I able to realize it. It’s a program that teaches kids ages 7-15 how to start and run their own businesses. It has been in existence now for 3 years and is growing by leaps and bounds. When creating any of my Kid’s Camps like Survival, BJJ or Field Trip Camp, I always have a purpose and lessons in mind which provides a different kind of education that you don’t get in the average school system. I teach in a very unorthodox way that kids respond to and retain allowing for greater understanding.
One of the mantra’s I try to emphasize to both children and adults alike in my seminars, lectures or programs is to love what you do or do what you love. Unless you love it, it will be very difficult to get through the challenges that will most definitely arise. Just like a relationship.
What are your favorite techniques?
I created a game called “Think Jiu-Jitsu” that recently came to market and can be reviewed or purchased at www.ThinkJiuJitsuGame,com. It challenges your technical and kinetic understanding and skill level as well as other things. The main game (of many) forces you to think about jiu-jitsu out-side-the box. Therefore, it allows you to create techniques and combinations of techniques that may not now exist. Based on this concept, I have created a variety of techniques that work well for me and I enjoy sharing. One is the Americana from the guard which you can view at www.KekoaCollective.com on their “Technique of the Week” link. Another one is the “Baseball Choke from Back” “The Kumu Rolling Take-Down” and “The Bow & Arrow from Side Mount”.
If you could roll with anyone throughout history (real or fictitious), who would it be and why?
I would love to roll with Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty. Probably because I work so much that I don’t have opportunities to LMAO and I desperately need that. I can imagine the things he would say every time I transitioned him from one position to the next and the sounds he would wail if I tapped him. More importantly the conversations the other guys would have afterwards with him about the experience. I love those Robertsons’ so much that I drove down to their headquarters where they film the series in Monroe, LA to visit one summer. I’m a mountain person at heart. I love learning about survival and everything that comes with it. 😊
Outside of training, what do you love to do?
I love creating products and programs for kids and the BJJ community. My first BJJ product the “Think Jiu-Jitsu” game is finally out and is enjoyed by many and it melts my heart to see it so well received. My second product is under development and I think it will be one of my biggest products ever invented as I am an inventor and teach inventors how to bring their products to market. I am really excited to share but you will have to stay tuned for more on this product. Any martial arts academy that teaches kids will want this product. 😊
Any Shout-Outs (Team, Sponsors, etc. and any links you want promoted)?
I have many sponsors that have supported me and my academies from day one like my instructor Michael Chapman of Impact Jiu Jitsu, Rener Gracie, Johnny Ramirez of New Breed, Cindy Omatsu, Kyle Maynard, and many more. I’d also like to thank my former instructors Jason Izaguirre and Ron Huxen for making me fall in-love with Jiu-Jitsu. To my office manager and assistant Rochelle St. Aubin, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your unconditional love and support for which my sanity could not survive without you. To my daughters Kylee & Briana for the sacrifices you endured when mommy’s attentions were at Jiu-Jitsu all these years, I thank you and love you both so very much. And finally, to my students at Kahala Jiu-Jitsu for making me a better Instructor, a better BJJ practitioner and a better leader and roll-model. I love you all.