Michael Schweiger is a 32 year old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt, training under Lucas Lepri in Charlotte, North Carolina as part of the Alliance team. He started wrestling in 1992 and began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2003. Last year, Michael won the adult brown belt super heavyweight division at the IBJJF No-Gi Pan American Championships and took second place at the No-Gi World Championships in the same division. He is a former purple belt No-Gi Pan American and World Champion. Michael has a graduate degree in philosophy and trains jiu-jitsu twice daily during the week and once on weekends.
Q&A Session Between Michael Schweiger and Elite Sports
Question: What inspires you about BJJ?
Answer: Jiu-jitsu makes me happy. Training and competing in jiu-jitsu provides an endless source of challenges to overcome, and the regular practice promotes good health, good relationships, and a better character.
Question: Who inspires you, past or present? Why do they inspire you?
Answer: I’ve always looked up to the great competitors and champions over the years and I’ve tried to learn something from them all. But I’ve been most directly inspired by the people I interact with on a regular basis: teachers and friends in New York, in my hometown of Pittsburgh, and now in my new home of Charlotte. I had the good fortune to train with Lucas Lepri in New York and now again in North Carolina, and it is immensely inspiring to see the focused daily routines and hard work of a successful champion like him.
Question: What are your goals for this year? Next 3 years? Next 5 years?
Answer: This year my goals are to improve my technique in training, gain valuable competition experience at blackbelt, and collect some major titles. I’m training now for the Pan Ams, ADCC West Coast Trials, No-Gi Pans and Worlds. Within the next 3 years my goal is to be a blackbelt world champion. In the next 5 years I want to teach regularly and help many other people achieve their goals while continuing to learn and challenge myself.
Question: What sort of gear do you usually keep in your gym bag before hitting the gym? Do you have different items for specific days?
Answer: I always pack the same things in my gym bag before heading to practice: my BJJ belt, a Elite Jiu Jitsu gi, a rashguard, a towel, a pair of flip-flops, my mouthpiece, a roll of athletic tape, my cellphone, my wallet, a toiletries kit, and a change of clothes. Whenever I train no-gi I swap my no-gi shorts for the gi and belt, but otherwise my routine is the same.
Question: How long have you been training?
Answer: 14 years.
Question: Do you have a go-to finishing move?
Answer: I have a particular finishing move that I’m working on right now, but in general I look to finish from any position by the most efficient means.
Question: What do you think it takes to be a champion in your sports?
Answer: There are internal and external factors. It takes an open but focused, determined mind, as well as the right network of people to help support your progress. That, and many, many hours of hard work. But it all starts with a dream.