Zak Ottow

Pura Vida Owner, Fighter & Instructor

zak-ottow-milwaukee-mma-gym

Tell us about your background:

I had a successful high school wrestling career, but football was always my focus. After playing some college football at the Air Force Academy, I was back in Milwaukee just working out for health and fun. I just felt like I could compete at a high level in something, and hadn’t reached my full potential yet as an athlete. It wasn’t until I saw a local Mixed Martial Arts event and a lot of procrastination that I finally stepped into Henry Matamoros’s Jiu Jitsu in Bay View. From there I was totally hooked! Next came training in Muay Thai and then competing in MMA. After years of being teammates, Jake Klipp brought me on as a partner in early 2012 to co-own Pura Vida. Competing and coaching is my life and all that I do and I love it!


What do you teach at Pura Vida BJJ & MMA and tell us about your expertise in it:

I am one of the two owners at Pura Vida BJJ & MMA. The majority of the classes on the schedule are taught by either Jake or myself. I have a wide background in several different disciplines and martial arts with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my foundation. I’ve also developed a real passion for the striking in our art. The biggest asset that I bring to the table is my experience. I am an active fighter that has had the privilege to fight some of the best on the planet, and I plan on having a lot more fights under my belt before my career is over. I always bring my learned experiences back to the fighters coming up behind me so they don’t make the same mistakes I did. I also travel to train and study fighting constantly so that I can bring the best knowledge from the best teams back to Pura Vida. I am always an open book to my students, from the hobbyist to the competitor, and you will get all of my secrets!

What would you say to someone that is thinking about coming into the gym?

I think Pura Vida can be a fit for any individual. If you’re someone who wants to get in shape and get exercise while learning skills in a fun environment, or if you want to work your way up to becoming a professional fighter on our fight team, you’ll fit in here. My advice is to get in a dojo and try it! Even if it isn’t ours, you’re going to be happy you took that step. You only live once! I thought about it and put it off for almost two years before I took the plunge and I regret missing out on that training. I’ll never get it back. If you ask any long-time practitioner what they regret, they will almost all tell you it’s that they didn’t start earlier. Get in!

Jake "Ender" KlippZak Ottow