Hal MacDonald, Black Belt
How did you first discover BJJ?
I was training in Muay Thai kick boxing. Some young guys in the gym who were training MMA challenged me to try it, so I did. I could not understand how someone 150 lbs could tie me up and make me feel so helpless. I remember the shocked look on one of the MMA kids when I dislocated my toe on my 2nd class. I taped it back up and continued to train.
When did you first start practicing BJJ?
Nov 2000. I was 50 years old.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned on your journey to black belt?
BJJ mimics life you get out what you put in to it.
Jiu Jitsu is not just a fighting and the self defence system, it is about being a good citizen, to be giving of yourself to others whether its teaching BJJ, to giving in your community. I have seen so many people young and old, from any religion or ethnicity, learn humility, fellowship, and gain self-confidence. I gain great personal satisfaction from watching others grow in confidence and life skills (this includes watching Rodrigo and all our black belts grow from their young years into starting families).
Did you used to get bullied in school? If so, tell us a story.
Once or twice in Grade 10, a couple older guys tried. I was scared but I fought and won. After that I had a lot of space. I have an advantage over most because of my size.
How often do you train per week?
Four or five.
What is your next goal?
My short term goal would be to train and learn Jiu Jitsu, try to not get injured, support our clubs students, travel to different gyms when vacationing, mentor people in BJJ & life skills, and to be an example for younger people to stay fit and active.
My long term goal is Coral Belt, I will have to be 88 years old to be considered. DON’T UNDER ESTIMATE ME WHEN I SAY THIS.