Volume 12, Issue 2 - March/April 2010

life beyond the auto glass business

Defensive Maneuvers
Brian Fenner, Owner, Safe Glass Technologies

Name: Brian Fenner
Day Job: Owner, Safe Glass Technologies
Location: Easton, Pa.
Alter Ego: Brazilian Jiu
Jitsu Participant

Anyone who’s been in the auto glass business for any amount of time would probably agree that some afterhours stress relief is needed. It was this need, along with a desire to get into shape, that initially drove Brian Fenner, owner of Safe Glass Technologies in Easton, Pa., to become involved in the Gracie style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

“I was looking for a physical activity to release stress … and lose weight,” he says. “I have always been intrigued by the martial arts and I am a big fan of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). One of the staple disciplines in most fighters is Jiu Jitsu and I thought this was a good fit for me.” 

Since Fenner discovered the sport, approximately 18 months ago, he has been attending a local class at least twice a week, for two to three hours at a time. He recently earned his blue belt—the second of five achievable belts in the sport.

“In my opinion, out of all the different styles of martial arts, Jiu Jitsu is the most technical style, so it takes a long time to gain rank, and it means a lot when you do achieve different ranks, because of what all is involved and how hard it is to do it,” he says.

To work through the ranks, the class participates in drilling and sparring activities with a partner. Fenner’s instructor, John Terry, who once trained under Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) Royce Gracie, observes Fenner and his fellow classmates and their developing skills.

“At the academy I go to, part of every class is live rolling or sparring,” Fenner says, “and that’s basically where, the style is so interactive it requires another individual to work with you to be able to do what you want to do and vice versa.”

At this point, he participates in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu mainly for fun and relaxation, but Fenner, who took home first place in the 2009 Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics, says competition could be in his future.

“I have a competitive nature, so it’s certainly not something I’m ruling out,” he says.

Though Fenner thinks he may someday compete, he stresses that Jiu Jitsu actually means “gentle art,” and it’s a bit more subdued than what most people associate with MMA.

“Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the staple disciplines of MMA fighters, but there’s no intentional striking or kicking involved in this style while training,” he says.

Fenner and his wife, Kelly, have a two-year-old son, Noah. He founded his business in 2001, and also works as an aircraft maintenance supervisor for Continental Airlines.

Interested in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
For those interested in joining in the growing sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Brian Fenner, owner of Safe Glass Technologies in Easton, Pa., says getting started can be a simple process.

“You basically learn as you go and you become conditioned as well,” he says. “If you’re not in great shape starting out, as far as cardiovascular fitness, endurance, etc., it comes with time.”

The first step, Fenner says, is finding an academy.

“I would certainly suggest that you do some research online for who’s in the general area you’re looking for as far as the Gracie discipline of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,” he says.

Once you find an academy, he says one of the most important aspects is remembering to relax.

“You find yourself in positions that are uncomfortable,” Fenner warns. “Trying to relax and breathe is critical. Try to have fun.”

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