From Fighter to Mentor: Lawson McClure Joins SBG Atlanta as Head Kids Jiu Jitsu Coach
Introduction: SBG Atlanta has just welcomed a new addition to their team, and couldn't be more thrilled! Lawson McClure, a seasoned fighter and martial artist has joined as the Head Kids Jiu Jitsu Coach. His journey through martial arts has been nothing short of remarkable, from his early days in wrestling to his successful career as a fighter, to his transition to becoming a martial arts coach. SBG Atlanta eagerly anticipates the positive impact Lawson will make on the programs and its students. Let's get to know Lawson a little bit better.
A Journey Through Martial Arts: Lawson McClure's martial arts journey began at a tender age of six when he got into wrestling, a popular sport in his hometown in New Jersey. He excelled in wrestling and eventually found himself successfully competing on the #1 Wrestling Team in the nation at the time - Blair Academy. He went on to wrestle at NYU, but after a year he and his family moved south, which is where his true fighting career began.
In South Carolina, Lawson stumbled upon a gym that offered advanced training in various disciplines, including Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and Freestyle Wrestling. He dropped in to check the place out and was invited to jump into training. Despite his significant wrestling advantage, no matter how many times he took his training partners down to the ground, he always landed into one of their submissions. Intrigued by the art of jiu jitsu, and it's effectiveness in self defense and grappling, Lawson decided to delve deeper into the world of martial arts. Over the course of four to five years, he honed his skills in No Gi Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Boxing, and began his professional fighting career.
His journey brought him to SBG Athens, formerly Hardcore Gym, learning under the tutelage of Adam and Rory Singer, and began fighting professionally for the NFC (National Fighting Championships). Throughout his successful professional career, Lawson earned numerous accolades, including Fighter of the Year three times, Toughest Fighter of the Year two times, and winning the Featherweight Championship Belt twice.
A Sacrificing Love: The Fighter's Life: Lawson describes fighting as the 'love of his life,' but the path to success in the cage often came with significant sacrifices. He had to endure rigorous weight cuts with his already lean frame to compete in the Featherweight division, which took a toll on his health. His last professional fight for Bellator came to an abrupt halt when his body went into shock and he was close to organ failure during weight cut. This was a turning point, leading him to the toughest decision of his life to retire from fighting.
Finding A New Purpose: From Fighter to Martial Artist: After retiring from fighting, Lawson initially felt lost, uncertain about his identity beyond being a fighter and felt that he had hit rock bottom. However, he found new purpose and passion when he decided to pursue a black belt in jiu jitsu. He felt he needed to know for himself that this part of his game was 'real,' and he wanted validation that he truly understood this beautiful and effective martial art. This is where he really transitioned from a Fighter to a Martial Artist. The transition allowed him to embrace Coaching at SBG Athens, and provided him the opportunity to pass on his knowledge to the younger generations of aspiring martial artists.
Coaching: A Rewarding Journey: Lawson quickly discovered that coaching was the most rewarding endeavor he had ever embarked upon. While winning fights brought adrenaline and satisfaction, witnessing the growth and success of his students gave him a unique and fulfilling sense of accomplishment, fueling his soul with gratifying purpose. The ability to instill lifelong skills in his students, whether they were children or adults, became his driving force.
Arrival at SBG Atlanta & Looking Forward: With a renewed sense of purpose, and after years of dedication, Lawson earned his black belt earlier this year from his longtime coaches, the Singer brothers. His dedication to martial arts and his passion for coaching paired well with an opportunity that presented itself to become the Head Coach of Kids Jiu Jitsu at SBG Atlanta. His wealth of knowledge and experience, coupled with his passion for teaching, will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the children, the program, and the community.
Closing Thoughts: Lawson McClure's journey from a young wrestler to a seasoned fighter and now, a passionate jiu jitsu coach and mentor, is a testament to the transformative power of martial arts. His advice to jiu jitsu students reflects his dedication and commitment to the art that has saved his life and now fuels his desire to give back to the martial arts community:
It never gets easier, it just gets easier to work harder.
SBG Atlanta is eagerly anticipating the positive influence Lawson will have on their students, shaping them into not just skilled fighters, but lifelong martial artists and productive members of society.
Welcome to the Team Lawson!