Jimmy Quinlan opens Blue Wave Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Nashua
NASHUA – There’s something to be said about being able to fulfill a lifelong dream. Some struggle and never realize those aspirations because of lack of drive and dedication. Others fall short because of the proverbial roadblocks life throws their way.
That’s certainly not the case for Nashua’s Jimmy Quinlan, who now is living his dream with the opening of Blue Wave Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The business, located at 433 Amherst St., Suite 5 in Nashua, caters to those of all fitness levels and knowledge of this martial art.
“This is kind of a dream of mine for most of my life,” Quinlan said. “I started wrestling when I was young, and found jiu-jitsu when I was in college, and it just kind of became a thing. I started training more and more, and it was like, I would love to do this full-time.
“I see my coach, and its the community that gets built, and it literally helps people’s lives, and people get in shape,” Quinlan added. “It’s a social outlet. It’s very positive. I feel like it is a very fulfilling thing to do. It’s been on my mind for about a decade, and its finally come to fruition now.”
Quinlan – a full-time, 10-year veteran police officer in Nashua – is a second-degree black belt under Nate Ryan and Patrick Barber of Massachusetts Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Action, Massachusetts. And, he has quite the resume when it comes to his martial arts efforts. He’s a three-time Boston Open champion black belt, a Gi Pan Jiu-Jitsu champion brown belt, a No-Gi Pan Jiu-Jitsu champion brown belt, a No-Gi world champion purple belt (second place absolute) and a two-time No-Gi Pan Jiu-Jitsu champion purple belt.
In his early years, he wrestled at Methuen High School and at Bridgewater State University, where he became the all-time wins leader for the university. He was inducted into the Bridgewater State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
Quinlan began his Brazilian jiu-jitsu journey in 2006, winning multiple championships as an active competitor through the colored-belt ranks, before achieving the rank of black belt in 2013. He also competed on Season 17 of the Ultimate Fighter, and became a UFC veteran mixed martial artist in 2012.
“At the beginning when the UFC came out, it was a test of what martial arts worked and what didn’t,” Quinlan said. “What they found over time is that Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling and boxing were the three that worked. When those guys got in, they were winning. So, it’s been tested. They found that Brazilian jiu-jitsu was the one that was always winning. This particular martial art is proven through the test of actually doing it. It is one of the most effective martial arts styles.”
“For the benefits, the main thing is its just a great exercise,” Quinlan added. “You get a better workout than you get from anything else. This is basically wrestling, with a different rule set. It’s wrestling with submissions. On top of that, though, you have the social group. That’s why a lot of people come in. We don’t want our school – it’s not going to be MMA fighters and UFC people beating each other up. We want a community of businessmen, people that come here. It’s their outlet from work. You come in here and get a great workout, and now instead of running on a treadmill or lifting weights, you are actually learning a valuable skill that, God forbid, you get in a self-defense scenario in real life, you have a skill. Instead of just working out, you are working out and learning something. People love that social aspect. You have doctors, construction workers, the array of people you get to know through a school like this, it’s amazing.”
Quinlan stresses that Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and especially his gym, is for everyone, at any fitness level.
“Me, as an instructor, it’s important to have everyone comfortable,” he said. “So, when you come in, you are going to be comfortable. As you start training, you get in a little bit better condition and you learn some techniques to do more.”
“The way it works, is you always have a white belt (to begin),” Quinlan added. “That white belt basically tells everyone, ‘hey, don’t go beat that guy up, he’s brand-new.’ You start getting stripes on your belt that indicates you have more experience. Eventually, you get the next belt. You would get like the blue belt. There’s five tiers of belts. It is very inviting. I encourage people to come in, and this will help you get in shape, to learn the skill, meeting people, getting to talk to people. We are very accommodating to all types.”
To start with, Blue Wave Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will offer evening and Saturday classes, with a goal for the business to grow organically.
“We are doing night classes. I still work as a police officer in Nashua, and I work full-time and during the day. To start with, we will have all the nighttime classes, and a Saturday morning class, as well,” Quinlan said. “The plan is that, as we build more students and can pay more instructors, we’ll have more class time in the morning and grow kind of organically to allow for more training. Most people train at night in this type of thing after work, because people work normal jobs. We have such a big community that works second shift or third shift, and they like those morning and afternoon classes, so that is a goal.
“Class times will be Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m., and on Monday we have an additional grappling class at 6 p.m. Then, Saturday morning, is 10 a.m.,” he added.
Helping to fulfill his dream, Quinlan’s wife, Dasha, has been steadfast by his side. She also has a background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing.
Dasha is a No-Gi world silver medalist, a three-time silver medalist at the Boston Open at purple and blue belts, a gold medalist at blue belt at the Boston Open, and she has a 1-1 MMA amateur record. She is a black belt in American kickboxing, and has been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu since 2007.
She also is responsible for the overall look of the Blue Wave Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym.
“My wife is the driving force. I’m like the jiu-jitsu guy. I’m the mat technician. The way you see the whites and the cleans, the way you see the gym, that was all her idea,” Jimmy Quinlan said. “We kind started where we wanted something earthy and comfortable, that when you came in, it was almost relaxing – like you are on vacation from your life.”
As for the name of the business, it’s actually not a direct reference to Quinlan’s law enforcement service.
“We started thinking of ideas. A lot of names, there was a color and something. We kind of liked the idea of like blue palm or something,” he said. “Finally, we thought of Blue Wave. The wave is one of the most powerful forces there is. You can’t stop it. It’s earthy. Our honeymoon was in Hawaii, so we kind of liked that idea, and waves are blue, so Blue Wave.”
“Secondary, I was thinking, it is a subtle nod to law enforcement, but you don’t initially know that when you come in. It’s not in your face, but it is a subtle nod to that law enforcement piece.”
Quinlan also said he will be doing classes for law enforcement personnel who are interested.
“I also teach at the police academy – defensive tactics,” he said. “I teach this stuff for the state. I’ve been doing that for over 10 years now. We are going to run a law-enforcement-specific class for our officers.”
“I want our guys that I work with to be better trained.” he added. “So, I’m offering that for the whole state. It’s a course that an in-service officer would take as a training opportunity to learn some basic techniques to defend yourself in a safer way, and to protect the person you are arresting.”
Quinlan noted that additional classes will be added, including ones for women and children, taught by his wife, who recently had their second child.
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