I have been fortunate to have witnessed this young athlete rise through the ranks and achieve success after success. He trains at one of the top gyms in the U.K. that has built a solid reputation for producing some of the U.K.’s finest talent. His greatest success has to be his incredible GOLD at the IBJJF Nogi World’s back in 2017, where he won at purple belt.
2020 has been another big year for him at brown-belt with him recently winning Gold at 2020 UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Grand Slam London and earlier Bronze at the 2020 IBJJF European Championships in Lisbon. He’s got a hell of a cheeky lapel game going on and we definitely look forward to from this 23-year-old once the curtain is lifted for the world again.
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce Taylor Pearman…
Ian: Firstly tell us your name, age and where you’re from, what part of town?
Taylor: My name is Taylor Pearman, I’m 23 years old and I’m from Colchester in Essex.
Ian: Where do you currently train and under who?
Taylor: I currently train out of ZR teamunderAlain Pozo.
Ian: Were you a good kid at school?
Taylor: I wouldn’t say I was a terrible kid, but I definitely wasn’t a model student.
Ian: When and how did you first get into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Was there anything before?
Taylor: I always loved combat sports. I did kickboxing/ boxing for a while, then I played a ufc game on my PlayStation and wanted to try MMA. I went to the local MMA gym in my town and Alain was there taking the class. It was pretty much just A NoGi class and I really enjoyed it. I was still juggling all the other sports I was doing until one day Alain pulled me to the side and said “quit all that other bullshit man and just train jiujitsu”. So I did and now here we are nearly 9 years later.
Ian: What has been your most memorable moment in jiujitsu so far?
Taylor: Winning worlds was obviously huge for me. It had been a goal I dreamt about since I started so that was an indescribable feeling, but honestly, I’m over that now. My favourite moment has to be my cryangle I hit on Roberto Jimenez. I can still watch that video and get goosebumps. I was getting my ass whooped with a minute and a half on the clock. It was just the atmosphere that made it great, I had my whole team there and everyone went crazy. For sure a once in a lifetime moment
Ian: You join an elite circle from the UK pool of athletes by walking away with an IBJJF world title, how does that feel?
Taylor: It feels great. It’s just a testament to my hard work and my team’s hard work.
Ian: What’s one of the things you find most frustrating with BJJ, can be anything?
Taylor: Jiujitsu is weird. Some days you’ll be flying and the very next day you absolutely suck. I guess that can be a little frustrating sometimes but it’s a part of it. I guess the bad days keep you humble haha.
Ian: Who would you say are your top 3 in the world of jiu-jitsu, can be past and present? And why?
Taylor: Gi – roger, Leandro & Mikey
NoGi – Gordon, Marcelo & Galvao
Taylor: It’s amazing. I’ve had the same coach since i started and since we became ZR team the team has just exploded. We are reaching a new level now and no ones going to stop us. I’m not being biased here this is just from what I’ve seen but I’ve never seen a coach do what Alain does for all of us. He looks after all of us and helps us with our lives massively. The man doesn’t sleep. He’s constantly giving us opportunities and helping us build our future. None of us would have our success without him.
Ian: Has there been anyone else who has helped you a lot with your progress?
Taylor All my family & friends are extremely supportive and that helps a lot.
Ian: How do you find competition? Do you get nervous?
Taylor: I don’t get any sort of anxiety until I’m actually at the venue and then I get some butterflies. Recently though I feel so comfortable being there and I feel that’s making me perform better.
Ian: How do you compete with those nerves? And what advice would you give other competitors to calming those nerves?
Taylor: I used to get so nervous to the point where I couldn’t sleep the night before, and I feel like people always say to compete more to get rid of those nerves, but if your mindset hasn’t changed those nerves will always still be there. I just changed my mindset. Losing is a part of life and you have the accept that. As long as you know in your heart you put the maximum effort into the preparation for the competition you can’t be down about the result, because you done everything you could. If I didn’t put maximum effort in I feel nervous because I know I didn’t push myself to the best of my ability. Then if I lose, that’s all down to me.
Ian: When did you start competing?
Taylor: About 3 months after I started training in 2011.
Ian: Did you always do really well in competition? If not, then when did it start working for you?
Taylor: Yeah I did actually. My first tournament was a NoGi grappling competition called TUFF grappling challenge. I won double gold submitting an adult blue belt and another juvenile there. I was 14 at the time. The level in the UK was so much lower then so you didn’t even have to be great to be winning matches. It’s a completely different story now. 14 year old Taylor would’ve been destroyed if he fought now.
Ian: Can you remember your toughest match to-date and why it was so tough?
Taylor: Well on paper it should be Tainan because he destroyed me. That much wasn’t exactly tough because I couldn’t do anything, so my actual toughest match is probably any match with Sebastian Rodriguez from unity. We’ve fought 3 times and I’ve won all 3 but the dude has the best cardio of all time and tries to kill me the whole match. He always brings it and I feel he’s probably been my toughest match that I’ve managed to win.
Ian: You have some highly technical, strong and competitive athletes at your gym, some who I’ve competed against in my fresh purple belt days and they I can attest to their abilities… How is it having such training partners?
Taylor: It’s great man, a lot of us all started around the same time so we’ve levelled up together and we’ve been training with each other for nearly 10 years now so we are like a family. We all love to spar hard too so I feel we can all push each other mentally and physically.
Ian: You obviously have a strong competition team, which is great, how do you guys structure that training to ensure you stay healthy and recover well?
Taylor: We are kind of spread out. Some of us in Essex and some of us in London. During the week we train where we live then maybe once a week we all meet up in London and train. During the lead up to big tournaments, we have our structured pro training which is where all the top guys from our team come and train. We have our teammates from Brazil here at the moment too so the pro training has been pretty insane.
Ian: Asides from yourself of course… Who are some people to watch out for on the competition circuit that perhaps the wider audience doesn’t know about yet?
Taylor: Janis Reikstins, Tommy Yipp,Romao Carvalho, Jack Reinaldo, Mateusz Flaga,Vinicius Bueno, Guilherme Rocha and James Webb.
Ian: What is your favorite submission and why?
Taylor: It’s not the submission I’m best at but I love the north-south choke. Purely because when you have the position properly it requires no effort to finish and really makes jiujitsu feel like a superpower.
Ian: Do you have any more plans to compete in submission-only tournaments? Perhaps we will see you at the ADCC trials?
Taylor: Yeah I do. I really love NoGi but my focus is really on Gi at the moment until worlds. I’ll go back to a lot of NoGi after that to prep for the trails.
Ian: Have you ever had a serious injury, if so what and how did you recover from that?
Taylor: Erm a torn LCL in 2017 put me out of competing for like 5 months but I was still training a lot at that time but I couldn’t do the stuff I usually would do. It was a minor tear so I just did a lot of rehab on it and trained carefully around it.
Ian: Have you ever had to overcome any other adversities in your life, can be none jiu-jitsu related? How did you overcome that?
Taylor: Not really to be honest. I’ve been very lucky with everything in my life so far.
Ian: How do you prepare for your competitions? Do you have any strength and conditioning programs in place?
Taylor: I’ve always gone on and off of S&C work. I know it’s important but I really disliked it so I stopped for a couple of years but now I’m back on to lifting 3x a week.
Ian: Do you teach classes at your school or anywhere else?
Taylor: Yeah I teach classes in our academy’s in Colchester & Chelmsford, Essex.
Ian: How is your diet? Do you watch what you eat, especially nearing competition time?
Taylor: Out of competition I always try to keep all my meals healthy but if I want something bad I’ll have it.
Ian: Is there any other advice you want to give to athletes/hobbyists that want to improve their jiu-jitsu beyond mat-time… perhaps something your professor said to you that stuck?
Taylor: Always have an agenda in training. Don’t just go in to roll and make time go by. Always have a goal to achieve in the training, whether that might be hitting a new sweep or submission, or just refining your stuff already. I’m always training with a purpose and I feel that speeds up improvement a lot rather than just spending hours rolling.
Ian: What is your favorite food?
Taylor: Hmmm pizza I think.
Ian: What is your least favorite food?
Taylor: Raw tomatoes. People who just slice up tomatoes and eat them are vile humans.
Ian: What are your next plans for jiujitsu?
Taylor: I was going to keep competing then hit worlds but with the virus who knows. The first competition back I’m going to be there.
Ian: Any particular mentions or shout-outs to sponsors?
Taylor: Just a big thank you to you for doing this interview, my coach and teammates and my sponsors Tatami Fightwear,Tenaci Tape & CES special site projects
What can I say… I really enjoy these interviews because you really can learn something from all these amazing athletes! Taylor is really another one to watch 2020-onwards and I am sure I join others in wishing him the greatest success and will support from the sidelines and we need to remind ourselves again that he is just 23.
I am sure that once we all get past this current pandemic situation that has rocked the planet we live on, that many athletes including Taylor will come out of the blocks at 100mph ready to take the world on again.
Please leave any comments below, including who you’d like to see us interview here next..