Brown Belt Michael ‘Reige’ Tatum Fighter Profile

Michael ‘Reige’ Tatum (left) being promoted by coach Giva Santana (right) to brown belt

Full Name: Michael Tatum
Nickname: Reige (pronounced “Rage”)
Age: 31
D.O.B: 04/10/1989
Nationality: American, but mixed ethnicity – half Chinese/ half European(English/German)
Location: Irvine, CA, USA
Gym: One Jiujitsua, USA
Coach: Giva Santana
Rank: Brown Belt
Height: 5’11
Weight: 75kg
Weight Class: Lightweight

Michael ‘Reige’ Tatum is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Giva Santana from One Jiujitsua, CA, USA and has trained BJJ for nine years. Prior to BJJ, Tatum had a background in other martial arts; achieving Black Belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and Orange Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Tatum is also a stunt performer.

Having recently got his brown belt in September 2020, Reige hasn’t yet had the chance to compete due to the whole covid situation and everything seemingly getting cancelled. When asked if he was looking forward to stepping back into competition as a higher rank he responds, “Hell yeah, I love getting myself out there and testing myself.” Tatum trains and competes both Gi and No-Gi but has his preferences towards Gi.

Tatum’s last fight was at purple belt at the IBJJF New Orleans Open 2020, and it was actually one of his best fights performance wise, “At New Orleans, I had a tough opponent who plays a similar game to myself, but managed to control the match with the basic jiu-jitsu gameplan (sweep/pass/submit) while staying patient and being so far away without my team, and having no coaches except for some friends in the area.”

“That moment of ‘mushin no shin’ or ‘mind without mind’.”

However it was a tie between that fight and the finals of JJWL World Championships in No-Gi, he proceeds, “Meanwhile, at the JJWL Worlds, I would fight a really strong wrestler in the finals, who managed to pick me up super high and dump me with a double leg, landing in side control. Honestly it felt like the match was lost at that point, but I managed to re-guard, and was able to submit him with a No-Gi spider guard into shin guard to triangle choke.”

He continues. “Having to deal with the mental struggle of telling myself I lost and accepting second place, whilst also having to actually overcome my opponent – makes that stick out to me. I was riding such a high afterwards, that I’d never felt before. It was almost euphoric, the way the adrenalin was going, and how I shifted from conscious thought, to what practitioners of Japanese martial arts are always looking for, that moment of “mushin no shin” or “mind without mind”, where basically the body moves without the thought of the mind.”

“I have ugly jiu-jitsu”

Tatum describes his fight style as, “I have ugly jiu-jitsu haha. Definitely a “brawler” compared to some of my other more technical teammates. I have my A game that I go to, and I definitely supplement that with my strength and athleticism. I’ve been working on staying patient, and thinking more about execution, versus moving on instinct. I like to attack with doubles and singles in the stand up, but I have no problems pulling guard either.” When commenting on his favourite submission Tatum says, “Triangles for sure, followed by armbars. I train with the arm collector after all!”

Everyone gets into BJJ for a reason; whether that be for self-defense, a new hobby, or to get fit – however Tatum’s appeared to be through a slight chance of well… luck? Reige says, “I had already achieved my first black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, and my instructor was also training BJJ at the time (he’s now a Gracie Barra black belt). I moved from Florida to California, and was looking for a gym to train at. During the UFC card where Urijah Faber was fighting Dominic Cruz, I was at a Dave and Busters with my dad watching the fight, and the guys from Rampage Jackson’s new MMA gym were there doing a raffle. I won three months of free membership, and well, the rest is history!”

Being a serial competitor, Tatum has his eye on a few promotions he would like to compete on such as Fight 2 Win and Submission Underground – which are two amazing events. However, he also has his eyes set on travelling the globe when fighting for future events; “Since I live in Southern California, I have access to a lot of the major events out here. But I would love to travel to Tokyo one day and do the Tokyo Open or the Asian Championships! I think that would be super cool.”

“The more lives you impact and influence, extends beyond belts and performance accolades…”

When asked if he has any goals set within BJJ, Tatum humbly responds, “When I was younger, the answer would’ve been “black belt”, but now it’s not really that big of a deal. To me, the ideal goal would be to reach out and influence people the way my professor and mentors have with me. I think the more lives you impact and influence extends beyond belts and performance accolades.”

Instagram: @reigebjj

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Lucy Wynne

BJJ Blue Belt from Southampton, England. I'm an avid writer, music lover and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) enthusiast. I began training BJJ when I was at university, and I've trained ever since. #OSS

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