Broken to Barbell Hosts Jacob Miclot of True Believer Jiu Jitsu


Jacob Miclot, head coach and owner of True Believer Jiu Jitsu, was recently featured in Broken to Barbell, a podcast dedicated to fitness and mental health. During the discussion, Miclot talked about his personal journey, the origins of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and its growth in Western Pennsylvania, and his own life lessons from the martial art.

Founded by three friends based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the podcast Broken to Barbell started in 2017. The three co-founders, Karly Kaufman, Samantha Lutz and Tanner Rose, cover all things fitness — occasionally hosting special guests to explore alternative ways of achieving personal goals and to shed light on different perspectives.

In Episode 26, the co-founders brought in Miclot to learn more about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. During the first portion of the podcast, Miclot described his life’s journey — from growing up as a scrappy kid and touring with hardcore bands, to dropping out of college, running a successful business and founding his own Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym. The conversation then pivoted to the origins and merits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a martial art and as an avenue for achieving fitness goals.

“[We practice] a leverage-based martial art. The goal is to positionally dominate your opponent to the point where you submit them,” Miclot explained. “What’s really nice about Jiu Jitsu is that we don’t punch each other. We don’t kick each other. We’re not doing concussive damage. So we’re able to train at 100 percent intensity — 100 percent of the time.”

The co-hosts asked insightful questions throughout the podcast to learn more about Miclot’s approach to the sport of Jiu Jitsu and how that translates to life. As Miclot discussed during the session, “Jiu Jitsu taught me how to be a good learner. To me, that’s what the black belt means — that I’m very good at learning. If I stop learning, then my black belt means nothing.”


The co-hosts also identified parallels between martial arts, weight lifting and other forms of exercise. Where the co-hosts find it therapeutic to hit the gym and lift weights — or to compete in Spartan Races — Miclot uses Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to help him improve his mental and physical health.

“At some point [in Jiu Jitsu], this thing happens when you reach a state of no mind. It’s like meditation — a state of no mind,” Miclot explained. “I have depression. I have anxiety. I’m medicated for both. I’m in therapy for both. And if I wasn’t in Jiu Jitsu, I don’t know if I’d be able to function through my normal day. In the times I’m feeling the most anxious or the most depressed, the one place I know I’m comfortable is to go to the academy and sweat it out with my friends.”

And just as the Broken to Barbell podcast has helped the three co-hosts meet and connect with new people, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has helped Miclot do the same. During his black-belt acceptance speech, Miclot stressed the importance of sharing your passions with others, and the Broken to Barbell podcast is a great example of good people doing just that. Shortly after the podcast, Karly and Tanner even came to True Believer Jiu Jitsu to try an introductory class.

“The one thing about Jiu Jitsu is that it helps me build connections with people, because I cannot do Jiu Jitsu by myself,” Miclot said. “I’m forced to connect with people.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or want to try an introductory class, please fill out the contact us form at the bottom of the page — and be sure to follow the Broken to Barbell podcast.

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