To certain, it would be a stretch to say that Regina—a city that boasts a population of fewer than 200,000 citizens—is synonymous with Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
But AJ Scales, the man behind Complete Martial Arts and Fitness—far and away Regina’s top Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy—is, in the eyes of many, synonymous with the sport in the city.
Since first taking to the mat 15 years ago, Scales, a black belt under the famed Nova Uniao banner who is also an undefeated amateur mixed martial artist, has won numerous tournaments across Brazil and North America and has shared the mat with everyone from Thales Leites to Georges St-Pierre.
Earlier this month at the International Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Federation’s Pan Am championships in Irvine, California, Scales—who has been teaching at Complete Martial Arts and Fitness for the better part of the past decade—added to his resume as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner.
“This is one of the biggest jiu-jitsu tournaments going on right now in North America—fighters from all over the world come to this tournament—and this year, I placed third in the black belt master’s division,” recounted Scales, 36, who also competed in the event in 2011.
Although Scales—who was dealing with a minor hand injury going into the event—fell short of making it to the final match of his division, he emphasized that he isn’t necessarily disappointed with his performance in ‘The Golden State.’
“[I’m] very satisfied,” Scales noted. “I don’t like to lose—I always go to win every tournament—but, you know, things happen ...that’s just the way things go.”
Despite the fact that Scales doesn’t have any events lined up at the moment—outside of Saturday Night Fights 5 on May 5th at the Turvey Centre in Regina, an amateur mixed martial arts show that he is putting on—he doesn’t intend on hanging up his gi any time soon.
“I saw a lot of grapplers at the Pan Americans and I still have at least 15 years of competition in me,” said Scales, who would like to win “a few major titles” before walking away from the sport. “Until my body says that I can’t do it, I’m going to do it. As long as my body holds up, I’m going to continue to compete.”