About Danny: "For some, training in the martial arts is a hobby but for Daniel Chacon, it's a lifestyle. Daniel’s martial arts training history began seven years ago, when he sought out an intense competitive sport. Danny has learned several fighting styles, from striking to grappling, under the tutelage of great trainers and masters. Danny boasts an amateur MMA record of 5-1-1 and is 1-0 as a professional. He is also 4-1 in Thai Boxing matches and owns a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You can train with Danny at the BETA Academy, located in NW Washington D.C."
Danny was kind enough to answer questions for the latest installment of our Featured Athlete series.
What attracted you to mixed martial arts? How long have you been training?
The beauty of expression as an artist and the training of a high level athlete is what brought me to martial arts. As an artist who understands expression, I wore many hats such as painter, poet and thespian. I wasn’t the best athlete but the romantic idea of putting your body through hard work or some kind of battle in order to achieve something sounded incredible.
Please lead us through your process of becoming a pro fighter. What milestones did you achieve along the way?
Commitment spawns success and staying committed to my passion and goal has leaded me to where I am today. It’s taken years of sacrifice but I managed to build a good amateur record 5-1-1 in MMA and 4-1 in Thai Boxing. I think my world title and local belts were great to earn, but what really I feel the milestone moments were more personal. I’ve learn so much gratitude, patience and acceptance.
Do you see yourself as more of a striker or grappler? What is your favorite way to finish an opponent?
I consider myself a striker but I am not scared at all to grapple. In fact, most of my wins have come by submission. It’s been a while since I’ve won by a technical knock-out, but I feel that is my favorite way. However, submissions are very interesting to me, it seems they have a story to tell.
Watch Danny hit pads in this video from late last year
What has been your toughest fight so far? Why was it particularly challenging?
My toughest fight was my third MMA fight. It was a pure stand up battle the whole fight. The opponent I had was undefeated at the time and he was knocking out pretty much everyone. My corner knew I was the cleaner striker and much more diverse so it took a lot of courage to tackle my fears and believe I was coming out on top. We threw everything at each other, through-out the fight I felt my mind and heart were as one. At the time I’ve never taken that much damage in a fight and it was great to know I had the drive to keep pushing forward.
What do you love most about martial arts?
That’s a interesting question to answer; I feel there’s so much to share on this topic. Using myself as an example. It has made my life peaceful and brought me to a spiritual awakening. Martial arts is not one thing, it can be so many things and just as like any loving relationship, your love gets tested.
Martial arts training can help deal with fear, relieve stress, and etc. But sometimes it comes to a point where you realize you’re expressing yourself and like an onion, layers start peeling off. Suddenly you’re your true self. The person you are and destined to be.
Martial arts can change you physically, mentally and create some great relationships with people you wouldn’t have encountered within your circle.
What do you see as your most significant achievement thus far? What long term goals do you have in the sport?
The most significant achievement so far has been winning the WKA amateur world title and then following it up by winning my professional debut.
My goal in competing is staying undefeated to hit my magic number. I would like to go 5-0 as a pro.
However, it’s not just about the goal, I also feel it’s about the voyage. I do love teaching and inspiring others to do their best on and off the mat.
Maya Angelou once said “there’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”
I feel I have a unique personal story to share and in the next part of this interview I’ll try to do that.
You can train with Danny at the Beta Academy, which is located on the corner of 14th Street and Florida Ave, NW. He teaches Thai Boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes several days a week.
Check back later this week for the second half of our interview.