BJJ Coach James Foster Talks About His Comic Book Artistry

 

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Coach James “300” Foster

 

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle requires years of dedication and hard work, probably more than the average person is ever willing to contemplate, let alone undertake.  In this interview we sit down with avid competitor, and long time BJJ instructor, James “300” Foster. We talk with him about another of his passions, art; specifically comic book art and cartooning.

 

WBBJJ:  First off thank you Coach Foster for sitting down with WBBJJ.com to talk about your ‘colorful’ passion.   Could you give our readers a short introduction to you, your martial arts journey, and your academy?

James Foster: I always had an interest in Martial Arts since I was a child. I have great memories of watching Kung Fu movies with my parents when I was little and always wanted to get into some kind of training. My childhood friends and I would play “Ninja”, running around the neighborhood swinging foam Nunchucks and homemade Bo Staffs. After years convincing, and after seeing the Karate Kid, my mom and dad started researching local Karate schools. I started training in a form of American Karate called Aam-Ka-Jutsu at the age of 10 and have continued training in Martial Arts to present day. Like many, my first exposure to BJJ was seeing Royce Gracie fight in the UFC. I was instantly intrigued and knew it was an art I wanted to explore. Little did I know it would set me on the amazing path that it has! I made the transition to training solely in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 18 and haven’t looked back since.

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

I started teaching part time back in late 2002 or early 2003 and was sharing the space with an existing Karate school. In 2007 I opened up my own small location which had around 800 square feet of training area. We quickly outgrew that space within the first year and scrambled to add more classes to spread things out and get us through the rest of the 2 year lease! In 2010 we needed to find a bigger location and ended up moving into a 5,500 plus square foot facility. Currently we have nearly 3,000 square feet of matted training space, a private lesson room, pull up bars, a corner cage, heavy bags, changing stalls, a shower, and more, making our academy one of the largest dedicated to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Pacific Northwest. I’m currently in my 17th year of training in BJJ with nearly 27 years of Martial Arts experience. I hold a 1st Degree Black Belt in Aam-Ka-Jutsu and a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, with my 3rd Degree promotion coming up in September of this year.

 

WBBJJ:  What came first for you, your art or your BJJ?

James Foster:  I got serious about drawing around the age of 13 when I started reading comic books, so definitely art.

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

WBBJJ:  What inspired you to begin drawing and creating art?

James Foster: My mom is very creative, she was a professional seamstress for many years, and was always into various crafts. I remember her doing Super Hero drawings for me when I was younger and I always aspired to be able to draw like her!

 

WBBJJ:  If you had to put a belt level on your art, where would you rank yourself?

James Foster: Right now I’d say Brown Belt, but it’s hard to maintain that level being as busy as I am running my business and instructing full time.

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

WBBJJ:  What’s more difficult, the art business, or the Jiu Jitsu business?

James Foster: For me it’s Jiu-Jitsu hands down. With that said, my art is my only non BJJ hobby and has never been my profession, although some of my work has been published independently with smaller companies in the past. I know a lot of pro artists that work for Marvel and DC and they work their butts off to make ends meet, so I’m sure it’s just as difficult to do full time.

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

WBBJJ:  How does your BJJ complement your art, and vice versa?

James Foster: I think they work hand in hand in that both encourage creative freedom in one sense or another. I’ve known many BJJ practitioners over the years that were into some form of art or creative hobby, too many for it to be a coincidence. It seems to be something we’re drawn to on some level as students of the art form.

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

WBBJJ:  What do they have in common?

James Foster: The level of creativity and the ability to express yourself in your own unique style.

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

WBBJJ:   What is different?

James Foster: Honestly, in my opinion they share too many parallels for me to come up with a distinct difference.

 

WBBJJ:  How often do you practice your drawing?

James Foster: I try to sit down and sketch at least a couple of times a week however it can be very difficult depending on the time of year. I’m often doing business related tasks on my downtime, traveling to teach seminars, coaching my students, etc.

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

WBBJJ:  Have you influenced any of your students, friends, or peers to get into drawing?

James Foster: I wouldn’t say I’ve so much influenced them as I have encouraged them to explore their creativity if I find out they’re interested in art.

 

WBBJJ:  What characters and/or styles do you enjoy?

James Foster: Wolverine, Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, and the Punisher. In reality there are too many to list, lol! I prefer comic book art that is realistic in terms of proper anatomy. I’m not into cartoon or comic strip style stuff.

 

WBBJJ:  What Marvel superhero do you most wish you had created?

James Foster: Hmmm, too many to choose from but I’m going to go with the Hulk since he’s one of my favorites!

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

WBBJJ:  What’s next for you from a BJJ perspective?

James Foster: I plan on continuing to teach, train, and compete for as long as my body will allow me to. My main focus is the growth of my students. They are the greatest reflection of my Jiu-Jitsu and who I am as an instructor. I’m also doing a lot of charity work here at the academy, as well as traveling to teach at seminars benefitting various charities. That’s something I really enjoy and plan on doing much more of in the years to come!

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

WBBJJ:  Any other thoughts for your fans, students?

James Foster: Acknowledge the things you’re doing right along with the things you’re doing wrong. We tend to focus exclusively on the negative both in life and on the mats. In reality, the majority of the time we’re doing as many or more things right then wrong, but we tend to dwell on the bad things. Next time you’re in a funk and catch yourself focusing on the negative replace it with something positive you did!

 

WBBJJ:  Any final thoughts or sponsors you would like to thank?

James Foster: I’d like to thank Shoyoroll, BJJ Library, Tape Armor, Kristen’s Photo, and Vigor Fuel for all of the support they continue to give me throughout my journey! I love interacting with my fans, so please make sure to connect with me on your favorite social media:

Youtube Free Technique Channel = www.youtube.com/fbjjcoach

Facebook friend page = www.facebook.com/teamfoster

Facebook athlete page = www.facebook.com/coach300foster

Facebook academy page = www.facebook.com/fosterjiujitsu

Academy Instagram = @fosterjiujitsu

Athlete Instagram = @shoyorollplayboy

Twitter = @fosterjiujitsu

 

WBBJJ:  Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with us Coach Foster.  We wish you the best in the future! Let’s hope we see “Pandamonium” on the newstands soon!

 

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(Photo courtesy of James Foster)

 

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Interview by WBBJJ.com’s Todd Shaffer

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