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Where is Matt Arroyo? Inside the No Gi Library


Fighting inside the Octagon is a huge sign of accomplishment for most aspiring mixed martial artists. Perhaps the biggest. It's total validation for all the blood, sweat and sacrifice that goes into the often long and certainly painful journey.

Rarely, if ever, does a perfectly healthy fighter in the upswing of his career walk away from it all and quietly fade to black. Unless, of course, you're talking about The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 6 alum, Matt Arroyo.

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist found himself at one of life's many crossroads shortly after a razor-thin split decision loss to Dan Cramer at UFC 94: "St. Pierre vs. Penn 2" in early 2009. He was "burned out," having stepped inside the cage five times in one year, as well as inside millions living rooms worldwide every Wednesday night courtesy of Spike TV.

At just 26 years young (at the time), Arroyo had major decisions to make that he knew would shape his future forever.

He could keep on grinding as an underpaid undercard fighter on the regional circuit, eventually steer himself out of a two-fight losing skid and maybe work his way back into the UFC fray someday soon. Or, he could head back to Tampa, Fla., and make a good living immediately.

"No Regard" chose the latter. And the rest of the story, as they say, is history continued after the jump.

"People think I'm crazy for doing what I did, but I wanted to focus on my jiu-jitsu," Arroyo said. "After five years of training under Rob Kahn I knew I was close to reaching a major goal. And if I was in and out of camp, training all disciplines (not just jiu-jitsu), there was no telling when I would earn my black belt."

His fateful decision would pay huge dividends just 10 months after UFC 94, when Kahn -- a Royce Gracie-trained black belt -- bestowed the prestigious honor upon Arroyo in an emotional ceremony. It was a long time coming, but Arroyo knew it was just the start of bigger and better things.

"That was the boost I needed to start and grow my own school, Gracie Tampa South," Arroyo said. "Since the start of last year, I have been able to channel all my time and energy into making it one of the best places to learn jiu-jitsu on Florida's west coast. I'm so proud of it."

Arroyo, however, didn't stop there -- he had a burning desire to take his teachings even further.

So he and Kahn collaborated to offer high-level Brazilian jiu-jistu strategy through an eBook called "The BJJ Manifesto." The eBook was such a wild success that the pair decided to model an interactive 12-week coaching program after it called the No Gi Library to show all the technique that goes along with the strategy.

No Gi Library is a registration-only course that hits all the major aspects/positions of sound jiu-jitsu. Students watch the instructors, work on submission holds remotely and then send videos of themselves practicing them to Arroyo and Kahn for critique. The instructors actually watch the videos and provide constructive feedback directly to students with personal video instruction.

"What we're offering is unlike anything on the market today," Arroyo exclaimed. "This is an opportunity to learn from two black belts, ask personal questions and get real answers ... quickly!"

It's smart ideas like these that keep Arroyo on the sidelines. He says that his school and other endeavors such as No Gi Library consume all of his time. The good news is that he does still have the occasional MMA itch and it's only a matter of time before he scratches it ... again.

"I'm only 28," he said. "I haven't even hit my fighting prime yet. I definitely plan to return -- Only time will tell. What I can tell you, however, is that I haven't stopped training. I would kick the crap out of the last Matt Arroyo who fought at UFC 94. I'm constantly improving."

In the meantime, you can catch Arroyo working hard inside the No Gi Library.

For those interested: Registration for No Gi Library begins tomorrow (Jan. 26, 2011) and runs through Jan. 29, 2011. Spots are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Instruction for those who register will begin in the first week of Feb. 2011. For more details click here.

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