BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Recruiting Station Twin Cities' Staff Sgt. Ryan Simonis competed at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championship in Long Beach, Calif., recently.
The Bloomington, Minn., recruiter made it to the final 16 during the single-elimination tournament, eventually falling to the blue belt master's lightweight division bronze medalist Curtis Schutter.
"I was hoping for a better result, but there's a saying in Jiu-Jitsu," explained Simonis. "There's no such thing as winning and losing, there's only winning and learning."
The Back River Falls, Wis., native added he "found some holes in his game" and will work on those weaknesses to improve for next year's championship matches.
"Overall, it was a fantastic experience and good exposure to the sport on an international level," said Simonis. "Part of the fun is meeting guys from affiliated schools in other countries and keeping in touch with your fellow competitors."
Simonis medaled at several Jiu-Jitsu tournaments earlier this year to include the Chicago International Open, placing third in the blue belt lightweight category. His third-place finishes continued at the Las Vegas International Open where he placed in both the lightweight and open division.
"I have the world's largest collection of silver and bronze medals," joked Simonis. "One of these days I'll make it to the top of the platform."
The 31-year-old knocked out another podium performance in Madison, Wis., two weeks after his California trip, placing second in the men's welterweight no-gi division and third in the blue belt welterweight division.
"He's one guy that I've never seen get frustrated whether he gets somebody or gets owned," said Brian Van Beuseukom, Simonis' training partner at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy in Brooklyn Center, Minn. "He's not afraid to push himself and that's one thing I've always admired about him."
The six-foot-tall Black River Falls High School graduate transitioned from Marine Corps martial arts to Jiu-Jitsu in 2005, eventually participating in mixed martial arts exhibitions and Muay Thai kickboxing matches.
"MMA and Jiu-Jitsu are pure tests of skill and I love expanding my martial arts repertoire, " said Simonis, who currently has an MMA record of 7-1.
Simonis will compete in four divisions at the Greater Midwest Submission Hunt next month.
"You can't test yourself if you're not competing," explained the second degree black belt and Marine Corps martial arts instructor. "More matches means more experience."