Local Matt Powers, of Inyodo Martial Arts in Edwards, to fight in amateur bout of LFA 65 in Vail | VailDaily.com

Local Matt Powers, of Inyodo Martial Arts in Edwards, to fight in amateur bout of LFA 65 in Vail

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Matt Powers trains Brazilian jiu jitsu at Inyodo Martial Arts in Edwards, which is opening a new location in Avon with a soft opening on May 1. Powers will be fighting in the Legacy Fighting Alliance event in Vail on Friday, May 3.
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See Powers fight at LFA 65

The Legacy Fighting Alliance takes over Dobson Ice Arena in Vail on Friday, May 3, featuring seven fights on the main card, one fight on the preliminary card and two amateur bouts, including Matt Powers vs. Anthony Pineda. For more information, visit www.lfa.com.

Vail resident Matt Powers, 26, can be found at Inyodo Martial Arts in Edwards on any given day when there’s a kickboxing or Brazilian jiujitsu class.

Powers, originally from New York, has worked all sorts of jobs the past few years, from line cook to landscaper to plow driver.

According to his bosses, co-workers and training partners, he approaches everything he does with commitment and integrity.

Powers didn’t start studying jiujitsu until about two years ago. He quickly fell in love with the sport, often referred to as a physical chess game. Replete with endless combinations of takedowns, submissions, sweeps, counters and techniques, jiujitsu is a great sport to develop and test technical skill and physical fitness, aside from its legitimate self defense credentials. Many jiujitsu practitioners can earn their blue belt — a step up from the beginner’s white belt — in a couple of years. Powers earned his in a year, an accomplishment reserved for only the most committed and talented, by going to seven classes a week for weeks on end.

Almost as soon as he started, Powers sought another degree of challenge by choosing to compete in regional Brazilian jiujitsu tournaments. Not everyone that trains in jiujitsu competes, but those that do commit to an extraordinary level of preparation in the months leading up to the event. Aside from the weekly grind of technical drills and “rolling” — or live grappling — at Inyodo in Edwards, his training involves at least two days of functional weight-lifting, a couple of days of cardio and kickboxing each week and, finally, the fickle regimen of cutting weight to qualify for his division. If this sounds like dedication, it is.

Brazilian jiujitsu can seem intimidating; from the outside it’s just another medium for violence. What most practitioners will tell you, however, stands in contrast to that assumption. Jiujitsu is referred to as “The Gentle Art,” and Powers’ welcoming nature and humility are an embodiment of the philosophy of the Brazilian jiujitsu community as a whole, and what he says is the friendly, close-knit environment at Inyodo.

“Everyone is helpful, always trying to make each other better. No one is there to hurt anyone, we just want to see each other succeed,” he said.

Powers has one tattoo, amongst many, that says “Having fun,” and in turn lends some insight into a well-rounded personality that isn’t just committed to fighting. That said, his results are inspiring. From the beginning of his tournament days he’s consistently taken home top honors, and the Fight To Win: Tournament of Champions in Denver in March was no exception. He competed in the 170-pound blue belt gi (uniform) and no-gi divisions and swept both in five total matches, every win by submission. He credits his success in part to the level of guidance he receives from Inyodo’s head instructor, Paul Surridge.

“Paul’s great. He covers a lot of detail and breaks it down to make it easy to understand. He’s not afraid to be honest with you and correct something,” Powers said.

With regards to a personal philosophy, Powers said “I’ve always thought of training as just wanting to be a better fighter, just wanting to defend myself better in certain situations. There is a sport side of it but it is really meant to defend yourself and your family in times of need. (Success) requires commitment and consistency.”

That should serve him well as he trains for just his second amateur mixed martial arts fight at the upcoming LFA 65 on Friday at Dobson Ice Arena in Vail.

The Inyodo family is opening a new location in Avon at the Traer Creek shopping center, with a soft opening on Wednesday. For more information about Inyodo Martial Arts, visit http://www.inyodomartialarts.com. For more information about the Legacy Alliance Fighting coming to Vail on Friday, visit http://www.lfa.com.