Welcome to Jimbo’s Warrior’s Club
“I mean it would be cliche to say [Jiu-Jitsu is] a way of life but that’s what it is,” said James Lawson, 43 year old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, head instructor and founder of The Warrior’s Club. “It’s a way of life. It’s a method of problem solving that helps me cope with bad situations and helps me capitalize on opportunities.” He continued, “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an art that was refined in the streets of Brazil with Japanese Judo and Jiu-Jitsu heritage that focuses on ground fighting, and that’s where it differentiates itself from the Japanese heritage.”
James (or “Jimbo” as he’s commonly called) was enamored by Bruce Lee as a youngster, which initiated his interest in martial arts. “What little kid didn’t like Bruce Lee? All my favorite superheroes were able to do martial arts. It was just really cool knowing that I could take care of myself or somebody else with martial arts.”
His first taste of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was in 1994. “Informally, I started in ‘94 with some students from the Gracie Torrance academy. And then I had a back injury that took me out of it. I got back into it ten years later with Rodrigo. Rodrigo is actually my first formal Jiu-Jitsu instructor.” Jimbo recalled times of training in a cramped area. “It started in Colima in a small office building. It would get so crowded in there that people had to wait outside. That’s when we were like we have to move. That was so cool man.”
The road from white belt to black was arduous. “I got obsessed. Once I started training with Rodrigo I was reminded how much I love this gentle art. I started buying books and buying videos. I’d constantly ask questions and stay late to train.” He spent his days training and even quit his corporate job to delve deeper into the art. Jimbo competed often and taught others at night. “Gracie Nationals was pretty cool cuz we all won together. Rodrigo won a belt. We had 13 competitors from Rodrigo’s and we had 9 winners in 2010.”
“The idea of completely controlling someone in a chaotic situation is a very thought provoking process. It’s very intriguing and inspiring,”-Jimbo
On May 17, 2014, Jimbo received his black belt from Rodrigo Texeira via Pedro Carvalho black belt Mike Penafiel. Since then, he has continued to teach at his school The Warrior’s Club, which is located in Burbank, California.
The school’s name is derived from Jimbo’s time in the United States Marine Corp. “In the Camp Wilson section of Twenty Nine Palms. There was a gigantic hut where all the ranks would go. We called it the Warrior’s Club.” This was a place of relaxation where Marines would play cards, dominoes, and video games. All ranks would unwind there, and Jimbo never forgot that oasis.
The foundation of The Warrior’s Club is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but mixed martial arts classes are also offered. “I’ve had the opportunity to train some pro fighters who’ve fought in Bellator, Pride, and local promotions. I recently trained military and police units.” In the future, Jimbo wants his school to have its own facility. He also wants to reinstate The Warrior’s Club podcast, which covered high-profile people in the community and inspiring topics.
Near the close of the interview, Jimbo explained that people should follow their dreams because someone is always watching. “If you care enough about someone and they care enough about you, you can inspire people. The next thing you know you have a circle of people all pushing towards a better environment and a better life.” His final words were advice for aspiring Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. “Simply put…lay back, relax and enjoy the ride. Emphasis on relax and enjoy the ride.”
Photo credit: Dreamer Loop