GB Interview with Prof. Dave Ogden of Gracie Barra Clermont

“The opportunity to serve and mentor others and be someone who can make a difference in the lives of people you touch.” Prof. Dave Ogden

This week Gracie Barra Blog brings you an interview with Prof. Dave Ogden who has recently opened a new Gracie Barra school in Clermont, Florida. Dave talks about his background in GB, his work with training law enforcement and the opening of the new academy at Gracie Barra Clermont.

GB: Can you tell the readers at Gracie Barra a little about your background?

Prof. Dave Ogden: I am the owner and lead instructor for Gracie Barra Clermont. I have been a personal martial artist for over 30 years, earning my 3rd degree black belt under Professor Marcio Simas from Gracie Barra Orlando. I am actively engaged in coordinating the Florida Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s sports tournaments, as well as multiple other BJJ Police Grappling and local non-profit charity events that highlight BJJ.

I created the first BJJ police training site in Central Florida in 2001, bringing thousands of law enforcement professionals into the BJJ world. I have competed in local, state, and International tournaments both in the United States and Brazil.

I am a 30 year veteran of law enforcement, where I currently hold the position of Chief of Police and am considered a subject matter expert in use of force and training methodology. I have an extensive tactical background, spending 14 years on a central Florida SWAT Team, where I served as a Team Leader and the Lead Defensive Tactics Coordinator.

Over my career I authored the Orange County Sheriff’s Office self-defense curriculum and started the first BJJ law enforcement class under Gracie Barra Orlando brining thousands of officers to the BJJ lifestyle. I have been a lifelong advocate, instructor, and student of developing leadership initiatives for excellence in the law enforcement profession.

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I understand that I set the foundation for a positive work climate, influence my personnel, and motivate our team in accomplishing our mission. I am a strong believer in a team concept, with individual responsibility and accountability.

I am married to a beautiful woman who has recently quit her job to be our Program Director. We have three amazing adult children and we lost a child only 3 ½ years ago.

Our faith in God is strong and our passion for making a difference in people’s lives and valuing each and every day will be an asset to Gracie Barra Clermont and those who join our team.  We are actively engaged in community events, nonprofit charity work and Gracie Barra Clermont will lead the way in community activism to help better our community.

My favorite quote is “Leadership is service, not your title.”

GB: Where did you grow up and how did you get started in brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Prof. Dave Ogden: I moved to Central Florida at a young age and have been here ever since. I love the central Florida community and what it has to offer athletes and families in our area. I began martial arts over 32 years ago and in 1995 took a law enforcement class about “ground fighting” which intrigued me from my traditional kick-boxing training.

In 1996 I attended a seminar with Royce Gracie in south Florida and when I returned I found Gracie Barra Orlando, Under Professor Marcio Simas who has been my main instructor since that time.

GB: Who have been the biggest influences on your jiu-jitsu and what did you learn from each of your professors?

Prof. Dave Ogden: Marcio Simas, Gustavo Muggiati and Igor Andrade.  Being with GB for all those years provided me with a lot of opportunity to meet some great people to include Master Carlos Gracie, Jr. both in Brazil in 2004 and 2005 and in the US when he would come to the school. Marcio Simas always took pride in our lineage that has resonated with me as a BJJ artist. The importance of a team and family. I have been with Prof. Simas for a long time and have seen many things with the academy.

Some people staying, some leaving and everything in between. My professor knows that I support him and have been through it all and stood by his side. This is a conditional loyalty but a profound respect for what he has given me.

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GB: What is the  most important life lesson you have learned from Jiu-Jitsu?

Prof. Dave Ogden: The opportunity to serve and mentor others and be someone who can make a difference in the lives of people you touch.

GB: How did training Jiu-jitsu change your life? Prof. Dave Ogden: I entered martial arts and jiu-jitsu for the sole purpose of Self-Defense and to improve my skill set as a professional police officer.  Due to my training and experience I was always confident in my skill set and abilities.

This is important in law enforcement work and translates into a better police officer. If you are aware that you can handle the situation you are less likely to have to use force in any given situation.

GB: You have just opened a new Gracie Barra academy in Clermont, Florida
Where in Gracie Barra Clermont located? Tell us about your new facility.

Prof. Dave Ogden: We hope to be open by June of this year under the name Gracie Barra Clermont. We have had a BJJ club that I have been leading for several years in the area but wasn’t able to fully commit until recently.

The facility will start with just over a 1,000 square feet of grappling space. -> Check here!

GB: Can you tell us about the exciting things you have planned at the academy?

Prof. Dave Ogden: Yes, now we will have a more expanded kids program offering all levels of BJJ. I intent to utilize my kickboxing background to integrate the new Barra Fit program that I think will be widely accepted in our area. We will be offering a women’s only class, Fundamentals, Gi and no gi bjj.

We also will have a judo class with a floating mat system for the ability to practice our throws with multiple repetitions. Last, we will be offering law enforcement classes which is a true passion of mine for our local law enforcement officers.

GB: What programs do you have in the academy for different types of students?
Prof. Dave Ogden: as mentioned we will have all levels of BJJ, Barra Fit, Kids, classes, specialty classes for law enforcement officers in the form of seminars.

GB: Starting brazilian jiu-jitsu classes can be a little intimidating for many people. Can you share a few tips for new students to bjj?

Prof. Dave Ogden: I think it is incumbent upon the instructor and the senior students to create a friendly inviting atmosphere. My law enforcement background gives me a great understanding of human interaction and dynamics.

I will use this to our team’s advantage to bring new students to our school and create that team environment.

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GB: If you can give a single piece of advice for bjj students who want to improve their games, what would that advice be?

Dedication.  You have to be willing to dedicate time on the mat, training and studying BJJ.

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