Last November, Rock Sprigs’ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor David Wenig had the opportunity to fight a professional Fight to Win Pro match in Denver, Colorado. On February 23, he’ll be stepping onto the pro stage again for the 64th match of Fight to Win Pro.
He’ll be set against fellow purple belt Andy Binol that trains under Professor Ben Lowry of The Sanctuary BJJ school in Denver. Wenig applied for the F2W Pro card about a month ago, he said.
“Over the weekend I was offered a fight and yesterday morning I was notified that it was official,” he said. “I was definitely excited!”
Wenig said with under four weeks until the fight there isn’t much time to make big adjustments in his game. He’s more focused on tightening up what he already does well, he said.
Participation in an event like this and being able to represent Wyoming is an honor and a privilege for me, and it is another way to continue growing BJJ in our state.”
– David Wenig
First Denver Fight
“Looking back, the entire experience is a little surreal,” Wenig said. “In a word, it was awesome!”
Cage The Elephant’s song “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” played loud throughout the venue. David Wenig, purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, excitedly walked the 20 foot long ramp up to the Fight to Win Pro platform. Stage lights flashed, the crowd was cheering. A giant screen behind him lit up the stage.
“If one were to only see this part of the show, they might easily mistake this professional fighting event for a rock concert,” he said.
The music faded out.
The referee commenced the fight. The two fighters exchanged a slap of hands and a fist bump, a widely accepted way to commence a grappling exchange.
The fight was underway.
Win By Decision
“I look at the screen and see that I am quickly running out of time with about 20 seconds left to find a submission,” Wenig said.
*BJJ fights are strictly grappling exchanges, so no striking is allowed. The Fight to Win Pro matches are “submission only.” If a fight goes to the time limit without either competitor being submitted, three referees will render a decision on who they felt was winning based on effective submission attempts made during the fight.
Wenig’s opponent kept him from controlling his arm by keeping it tight to his body.
“I see that I only have a few waning seconds to make a last ditch attempt at a submission, so I figure-four my legs into a position called the Bicep Slicer,” he said.
His attempt was in vain however, he said. The clock ran out. The two opponents stood, smiled at each other and embraced.
Wenig was awarded the decision victory.
“Over a very exceptional opponent that never stopped fighting,” he said.
The respect one gains for their opponent during a competition such as this is uncanny.
In a way, you can learn more about a person in a few minutes of grappling than you can during several hours of conversation.”
– David Wenig
From Learning To Teaching
“As an adolescent, I was not very confident and had to deal with bullies on a regular basis,” Wenig said. “I walked around with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and several times it contributed to the making of some poor life decisions.”
After learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and now teaching the art to students of his own, Wenig said he feels he’s doing more good in the world than harm.
“And that I have the unique opportunity to inspire others to do the same,” he said. “Competing in Fight to Win Pro was, in essence an extension of my goal to expose as many people as possible to BJJ.”
Wenig, a Rock Springs native joined the Marine Corps. Following his time in the military, he attended the University of Wyoming.
“It was during my time there that I was introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,” he said. “I joined the class in 2007 and was immediately enthralled with the martial art.”
In September 2015, Wenig opened his own school for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wyo Faction. It was there at the grand opening of his school where he was promoted to purple belt by his former BJJ instructors from Laramie.
“I never used to think that I was a person that was special enough to be able to do something amazing like stepping onto a stage to fight professionally,” Wenig said.
“What I learned is that I’m not special, I’ve just continued to work toward improving myself as a martial artist and as a human being.”
If I can help to teach one more person how to defend themselves, manage stress, build confidence, this endeavor is more than worth the effort.”
– David wenig