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Mike Bushby may have helped organize a jiu-jitsu seminar for his students and other guests, but you can bet he’ll be listening intently and trying to take in as much knowledge as possible.

The seminar features special guest Brandon McCaghren -- a Brazilian jiu-jitsu Black Belt and an instructor at the martial arts academy 10th Planet -- and starts at noon Saturday (Jan. 14) at Four Seasons Health Club.

“He is one of the premiere guys out there right now teaching,” said Bushby. “I’m definitely a big believer in what he puts out. Whether you’re a super advanced practitioner or brand new, he’ll show you something that day that will make you 10 times better. It’s a big day of growth.”

Bushby’s introduction to mixed martial arts began in college. He needed to take an extra physical education class to fulfill his credit requirements. So Bushby decided to enroll in a judo class with no prior experience apart from the taekwondo training he did as a kid.

“It sounded neat and was kind of a stress relief from the pretty heavy class load that I had,” said Bushby. “So I thought, eh, why not?”

In high school, Bushby was a scrawny guy and a self-described “wimpy kid” for most of his life. He wasn’t particularly athletic and graduated weighing about 110 pounds. So you can imagine the look on Bushby’s face the first time he flung a bigger guy over his hip and onto the ground. He was stunned. And he wanted more.

But once the class was over, there weren’t many judo classes to take outside of school. Someone suggested he take a few jiu-jitsu courses. This was in the late 1990s when Ultimate Fighting Championship was beginning to attract larger audiences. Bushby’s roommate presented him with an entire box of pirated VHS tapes of UFC fights.

“I watched all night long,” said Bushby. “I had never seen anything like it. And it lit a fire in me that I never knew existed. I was 20 and all of sudden discovering something I know I’m going to do until I’m dead. The skies parted. The beam of light shined down.”

For the past two years, Bushby has been a jiu-jitsu coach as part of Renegade Combat Sports & Fitness. Bushby said his first jiu-jitsu class -- as a student -- was in 2000. In many ways, he still is a student, traveling to 10th Planet Omaha on a weekly basis to train.

When he’s not working as an occupational therapist at UnityPoint Health -- St. Luke's, Bushby is coaching varied levels of jiu-jitsu classes about five nights a week (“I put people together all day and take ’em apart all night”). The seminar, he said, will help all of his students. From newbies to seasoned practitioners of jiu-jitsu, Bushby guarantees each one will be able to learn something and better their skills.

And no doubt Bushby will learn something new as well.

“I want to do this forever,” said Bushby. “If I had a heart attack on the edge of the mat when I’m 95, then that would be just about perfect.”

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