Taza is a star pupil of the famed Danaher Leg Lock System which has served BJJ stars like Garry Tonon, Eddie Cummings and Ryan Gordon so well. But can he keep those chicken wings tucked when he faces McManus on stage? As you can see in the Stigma Submission Fire highlight reel above, once Shawn gets a grip, it's game over.
Where Shawn has only recently began competing locally in BJJ, we don't know a lot about him. Fortunately, he was kind enough to answer a few questions so we can all become better acquainted before the big event.
A typical day in my life includes working as a geotechnical engineer, spending time with my wife and kids, and training (6 times a week at the judo club and 1 to 2 times at synergy).
I started judo in February of 1996, when I was 13. From 2000 to 2012 I competed at the national level where I was known for my newaza (groundwork). From 2012 until 2016 I only competed in a handful of judo tournaments, spending most of my efforts on coaching. In that time I have helped train 10 national medalists, with several of them being multi time medalists.
Q. What led you to begin training BJJ?
What drew me to bjj? Well I always took great pride in my groundwork in judo, and always did well when training with bjj guys. But I had no real motivation to try it until I watched Jon Judo Williams compete in 2 submission series pro cards. The IJF (international judo federation) keeps making dumb rules and watering down judo... and here was Jon fighting in matches that didn't have any referees calling dumb rules. You either won or lost by submisson, or it was a draw. There was no subjectivity, no playing for points. The results were in your own hands. This appealed to me greatly. So I went to train with Jon at Synergy, in hopes of one day competing in an event like him. Fortunately for me, shortly after I mentioned my interest to Jon, Cat Clark announced that the Nova Scotia BJJ Open would have an absolute division with sub only rules. Jon spoke with Cat, and got me registered for the tournament. I had to win my division at the purple belt level or higher in order to fight in the absolute. Fortunately I was victorious at both, and absolutely hooked.
Q. Why do you compete?
I compete because I like the challenge. It's a one of a kind rush.
Accomplishments I'm most proud of... winning the Nova Scotia BJJ Open Absolute division, winning the light weight bracket at Mind Games and getting to fight my brother in the absolute final, winning a judo match against the U18 judo world champion (a match in which I was a massive underdog, was loosing, and came back to win in the last 3 seconds), finishing second in the heavy weight division in the Pedro Challenge in Boston (I was the lightest in the catagory of 12 men, being out weighed by everyone else by 20 to 40 kg, and only lost to the former South African National Champion in a very close match), and being invited to teach armlocks to a Japanese private high school judo team.
Q. What will it mean to you to win at Chokes by the Ocean?
A win at Chokes by the Ocean would be huge for me. Oliver Taza is quickly making quite a name for himself with some very big wins. And he is part of 2 amazing camps. A win would not only be huge, but it would likely get my name out there for more events like this.
A message for Oliver? Thank you for taking this fight. It is an honor to compete with you. But come fight night, I'll be giving it my all.
Thank you, as always, to David Brown for the competition photos. Be sure to check out his amazing gallery on Facebook at Maritime Jiu Jitsu.