MOUNT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - The world champion blue belt middle weight in International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is from Mount Vernon, Illinois.
Andrew Wiltse, 22, competed with more than 140 people for that title at the tournament in Long Beach, Calif. from May 26-29.
“This is everything I've ever wanted to do with my life," Wilste said. "I'm living the dream.”
“That's probably the best feeling in the world is when the ref raises your hand," Wiltse said."
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a combat sport where fighters use defensive techniques such as grapples or fighting from their backs to subdue their opponents rather than attempting strikes.
“It started as a hobby and then just became a full on obsession," Wiltse said. "So, I'm probably going to be doing this when I'm 70.”
Originally from Drummond Island, Mich., he moved to Mt. Vernon with his 19-year-old brother, Sathya "Bird" Wiltse, two years ago to train.
Wiltse trains with Heath Pedigo, a brown belt, at Pedigo Submission Fighting in Mt. Vernon.
The sport does come with it's challenges including injuries, Wiltes said.
“I've had my ankle broken, all of my fingers every-single one of them has been broken, my ac ligaments torn on this shoulder," Wiltse said.
Anyone interested in learning Jiu Jitsu in Mt. Vernon can contact Heath Pedigo at 618-731-2644.