Inside the Camarillo Jiu-Jitsu Academy all eyes are fixed on something of a living legend. While many teach judo and Brazillian jiu-jitsu, few if any know the Russian Sambo leg lock like Oleg Taktarov.
Oleg came to the United States from Russia wanting to be an actor. To finance that dream he started fighting in what we know UFC to be today. During his time there were fewer rules, more fights per night and at a time when fighters were using performance enhancing drugs.
"You think like maybe i should be stronger. Maybe i should get some steroids but it's not that," said Taktarov. "It's those small elements which-they're more valuable. Behind those small elements Oleg found success winning UFC 6 and a career record of 17-5.
He's also become one of the most successful Russian actors having appeared in more than 30 films even saying that Robert De Niro attended his wedding.
But this weekend's event was about his next chapter. "I want to give knowledge that will be enough for you to build yourself," he said.
And that's where Dan Camarillo comes in. Dan who has been around judo since he was just four years old started following Oleg during his UFC days because they had a similar style.
"The main thing that i started liking about Oleg was his determination to win," said Camarillo.
Dan's aggressive style in early competitions helped him explode on the jiu-jitsu scene. After winning US Opens in 1997, '98 and '99 more titles followed in 2013, '14 and '15.
With a steady job at an oil field he started his academy as more or less a hobby to pass on what he's learned.
"What I see is there's a lot of instructors that don't really care about their students and i think what would make me a better instructor is to care about my students," Camarillo reflected.
But after he lost his oil job the academy suddenly became his only source of income. However with mounting financial pressure Dan says he still isn't focused on the money. "I don't know. I try to make this the best school it can be. The money comes later."
He's added more classes hoping to pass on his love and knowledge of an ancient craft and build a network of future fighters here in Kern County.
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