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About Eric Silver

"He is a good friend, passionate about Jiu-Jitsu, teaching and a good student. I´m proud of him."
—Rickson Gracie

Eric Silver

Eric Silver with Rickson GracieThe heart of the fighter and the soul of the artist come together in the life and work of martial artist Eric Silver. The North Carolina native has traveled from London to Tokyo to Rio De Janeiro and beyond to study with the masters, nurturing close relationships that reflect his lifelong passion for and dedication to the martial arts. Today, operating from his school, Zanshin Dojo, located in Nashville, Tennessee, Silver remains an active competitor in both Jiu-Jitsu and Karate and has grown into one of the most respected and sought-after martial arts instructors in the southeast.

"I got started with judo in 1971. When I turned 15, I began studying karate with Lawrence McSwain, who is a judge where I grew up in Greensboro. Upon finishing high school he moved to Nashville to pursue music, where he became a devotee of the Wado-Ryu style of karate. "In 1981, I started studying at Bushido, a very tough school, very hard-hitting and hard training," he says. Silver's drive took him to Tokyo in 1984, where he studied with Wado-Ryu master Jiro Otsuka. Traveling to Brazil in the late '80s, Silver says. "I met and trained in Sao Paulo under Koji Takamatsu, a ninth-degree black belt in Wado-Ryu karate and one of the most knowledgeable karate teachers in the world." Today, Silver is a sixth-degree black belt in Wado-Ryu Karate.

In 1994, Silver received an invitation to a seminar in Atlanta that would eventually lead him to reevaluate his approach to martial arts. There Silver met and trained with legendary Brazilian fighter Rickson Gracie, the most respected name in Jiu-Jitsu and one of the first super-stars of mixed-martial arts, or, MMA.

"Rickson really changed my whole outlook on martial arts" Silver says. "His method is always very kind, and yet he has a prowess greater than any fighter I've ever seen." Gracie invited Silver to his school in Los Angeles, and the pair formed a tight bond. When Gracie established a team of instructors to help him establish his own satellite schools across the U.S., Silver was one of his first choices. Today, Zanshin Dojo is an official member of the Rickson Gracie International Jiu-Jitsu Association, the Wado-Ryu Renmei of Japan and Brazil and the U.S. Eastern Wado-Ryu Karate Federation.

Among the hundreds of students he has taught in the past few years are many have gone on to win national and international championships. He himself has medaled in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Pan-Ams, the Rickson Gracie International and the U.S. Eastern Wado-Ryu tournament as well as many other regional competitions. Always the student, Silver has never stopped training and over the past years has studied with jiu-jitsu legends, Royler Gracie, Fabio Gurgel, Pedro Sauer, Saulo Ribeiro and Marcelo Garcia.

"One of the bigger rewards for me has been working with people who have challenges or weaknesses – kids with issues at home or school or adults who have little confidence – and seeing how it changes their personalities," he says. For Silver, martial arts is less about any particular fight and more about the big picture. "Life is a battle every day in some form or another," Silver says. "To me, that's what martial arts is really about, learning to understand the internal aspects of conflict and then how to resolve it. In martial arts it's about going headfirst into a situation, not turning your back or running from it. The ultimate is to harness the energy of the struggle around you and use it to your advantage."

"A good soldier is not violent. A good fighter is not angry. A good winner is not vengeful."

-Lao Tzu

Next Level Fitness: 1917 Church Street  |  Nashville, TN 37203  |  (615) 485-2143  | zanshindojo@comcast.net

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