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Meet James Deirmendjian of Fight Fit Training in Conejo Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Deirmendjian.

James, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

Man, that’s a long story!  I’m not entirely sure where to begin.  First off: I think it’s important to say that I never thought I would be working as a fitness professional in my 30’s, let alone one who specializes in MMA, contact and combat sports performance training.

When I think about it, though, there is so much of who I am and what I love packed into what I’m doing right now – so much of what’s given my own life the sort of intensity and quality that’s made it something special.

I was never into sports as a kid.  In fact, my closest childhood friend, who was always a tremendous athlete, used to come and sit down with me, beneath a willow tree on the outskirts of our elementary school’s soccer field, to talk about nerdy things.  Common topics included dungeons and dragons, the star wars novels we were both reading at the time, and that sort of thing.

It wasn’t until about 7th grade that I got an idea of what it meant to fight for myself – and how good that could feel.  That was the first year I went out for pop warner football.  I had a coach who knew my older brother.  He’d been a stud high school running back and defensive end.  Coach Williams refused to believe, at first, that John and I were related.  I was pudgy, soft, slow, and weak, but he had no problem running my ass into the ground and grinding all of that out of me.

With a lot of pain, huffing and puffing and tremendous strain, I started to harden up.  I remember being able to see my bicep for the first time – this little lump of muscle that was finally unconcealed.  When I got to highschool, I began with wrestling, too, after putting the one State-qualifying wrestler on the team in a rear naked choke and making him tap.  He was a lot bigger and stronger than me, so it was a completely unexpected victory.  When he encouraged me to come out for wrestling, I was flattered and elated and didn’t hesitate.

It wasn’t before long that I realized, however, that I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be, as a wrestler and a prospect once more for higschool football.  That’s when I discovered weights.  The discipline and growth that came from living in the gym was tremendous, especially moving into my senior football and wrestling seasons.  The strength and size, athleticism and agility I gained by lifting almost every day permit me to win 24 out of 25 of my wrestling matches by fall.  This was often right after throwing my opponent to the mat.  The changes I’d made also permit me at least ten solo tackles for a loss and a number of sacks and assists on the gridiron.

Years later, I graduated from college and gradschool without a clear idea of what it was that I wanted to do.  I’d majored in Philosophy at USC for undergrad, and got a one-of-a-kind MA in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis from the University of Essex in the UK.  After spending years working as a bouncer while training and teaching jiujitsu and stand-up fighting in the Conejo Valley, both at Pepperdine University and Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA, I found myself jumping around from chain gym to chain gym.  I was, however, way too smart, conscientious and caring of a person to survive in the Globogym environment for very long.  I eventually made the move to work as an independent trainer, and also went back to school to qualify as a patent agent.  I learned a lot of new biological science, and got even more serious about my lifting.  I soon realized that people not only liked handing me their money to train with me.  There often so excited about the quality of service I was rendering for them, that they wanted to give me more than what I was even asking for, and all up front.

Now, with the help of an amazing coach and his incredible team of people who specialize in helping fitness professionals grow their business, I am poised to make a tremendous impact in this niche.  For the first time in a long time, I can say with confidence that things are booming, and that the future is looking incredibly bright!  This is as much result, however, of my own existing strengths as an individual and professional, as it is of being coached and coaxed into the habit of caring more, both about myself and the people who choose to invest in me and my service.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy.  Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?

Absolutely not!  Even now, being in the best position I’ve been in while being in business for myself, it seems like there are a thousand and one things to carefully way and consider and manage, every single day.  It can be absolutely overwhelming at times, and if I didn’t have outside help to rely on – a shout out to the people at Complete Human Performance and AJ Rivera’s PT Trainer’s Freedom Tribe – I would be up a creek without a paddle.

We’d love to hear more about your business.

Before going down that track, I would encourage anyone reading this to check me out on Facebook (FightFitTraining) and also at!  For those who want to read more first, however, I offer a good synopsis below.

As of now, Fight Fit Training is a sports performance and premium private training service.  Beyond the strength and conditioning / “MMA Fitness” experience, I also offer private instruction in combat arts technique, to include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, submission grappling / wrestling, and kickboxing with stylistic influences from Muay Thai and Kenpo Karate.  I am looking soon, however, to start offering stand-alone exercise programming and coaching to a wide variety of individuals, both on the internet and on an in person basis.

Ultimately, I view my service primarily as a means of helping people to bring out the best in themselves – the desire to overcome, to achieve excellence, to fight for higher ground, to never stand still.

Fitness, first of all, is a fight against entropy, an active battle against the forces of chaos and disorder that would threaten to disintegrate one’s quality of life and solvency as a self.  Accordingly, fitness and the martial arts have been two major ways in which I’ve grown into the habit of respecting and honoring myself, as well as worthy others, in spite of the many things in life that would attempt to subvert this.  To be able to share this passion for developing virtue, for discipline, achievement and self-cultivation with others, I am finding, is the most beautiful and ennobling thing.

If there’s one thing that sets me apart, I feel it’s my very thoughtful, subtle and cerebral approach to things.  Having graduate level knowledge in the social, behavioral and biological sciences gives me an eclectic, analytic edge over the competition.  I know how to spot patterns and trends of growth, in both its physical, literal and its figurative and psychological senses.  Furthermore, I can readily identify and exploit the principles on which growth is predicated.  It is this ability to render these kinds of expert judgments that permits me to offer best-in-class results, and gives me the gratification of knowing that I am helping people to make robust changes in their lives, their physical and mental health, their confidence and their outlook.

Life is nothing, I feel, if it’s not a fight to grow – and the only way to keep growth going is to constantly seek to know more and more what its conditions are, what it requires, permits and entails.  Every single day I work, I strive to live up to this ideal of constantly striving towards higher ground and greater knowledge.  As the German poet Goethe is rumored to have said on his deathbed, just before he plunged headlong into the abyss, what I want to give and to help others to seek is light, and ever more of it.

What were you like growing up?

I was an often shy, introverted, nerdy kid.  I developed a love for nature, literature, philosophy and science from an early age.  Getting into sports and “physical culture” has helped me to come out of my shell and my head and become more social.  Most importantly, it has forced me to embrace the fact and necessity of being not just a reflective moment of spirit, but a beautiful beast of a creature too!

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