Home News Classical Martial Arts Military Spotlight: Andrew Goldsmith- A Grappler’s Quest

Military Spotlight: Andrew Goldsmith- A Grappler’s Quest


An extension of a man is exposed through the mastery of various skills gained along his journey. In a world built on the foundation of developing human character, Experience all comes down to what an individual does in each encounter.  The upsurge in tenacity capturing success, that unmatched poise staring fear in the face, or even handling setbacks only to keep marching forward to a more prominent setting.  Experience brings rise to these ineffable sensations.

Andrew Goldsmith craves these types of actions. A participant in many combat fields experience in this man’s venture have always been meet honestly and courageously resulting in his personal development revealing who he is today. Goldsmith wasn’t always like this as it would take an extensive amount of training adapting to any situation.

Andrew Goldsmith was introduced to Martial Arts by his father at young age training in Hapkido Karate. The early teachings central focus aimed at giving Goldsmith good fundamentals in standup and the right mindset for martial arts. However even with this reinforcement of toughness and disciple things would soon make a turn for the worst .Life in his late teen years couldn’t be performed in more stereotypical fashion. Drinking, Skipping School, Fighting you name it Goldsmith was doing it all which seemed to be leading him down a dark path to nowhere. Luckily an intervention would take place. Reconnecting with his martial arts roots the troubled 16-year-old would discover Gracie Jiu-jitsu at the world-famous Gracie Academy in Torrance, California. Guided under the tutelage of Ryron and Rener Gracie the many lessons on the mat would not only expose Goldsmith to a new grappling art form but also gave him the confidence and positive balance needed at the time.

“Ryron and Rener Gracie were only 3 and 1 years older than me, practically my peers but they weren’t, they were my masters,” Goldsmith said. They were positive role models who were sober, well-spoken and phenomenal jiu-jitsu fighters that made a huge impact on my life and continue to do so.”

This introduction to the Gracie Family’s style of Jiu-jitsu seemed appealing. Defending a barrage of submission attacks, trusting one self, and other teachings it all took its course opening the valiant characteristics that existed within Goldsmith. These assets would prove to be a great aid in his next career pursuit. Fresh out of high school the motivated Goldsmith longed to continue his maturity as a warrior with an enlistment in the US Army.

“Joining the military was just an extension of my warrior being that truly started being cultivated with the jiu-jitsu training of my adolescence. I didn’t join the army for ideological, patriotic, or necessity reasons; it doesn’t run in my family and isn’t a part of my community; I joined mostly to see if I had what it takes to be a soldier.”

As an US Infantryman SGT. Andrew Goldsmith has served his country for five years which includes two tours of Iraq. Just like his days on those green mats in Torrance Goldsmith engaged in many battles on dangerous foreign grounds which tested him mentally and physically. Reflecting back Goldsmith credits Jiu-jitsu as a great aid which helped him not only through those rough times but also gain the respect of his fellow military peers.

“I had a very successful military career. I was well-liked, worked hard, and rarely backed down from a challenge. From Day 1, my experience as a jiu-jitsu artist made my military experience as good as it possibly could have been. My jiu-jitsu training gave me confidence, poise, and knowledge that I could meet a threat to myself or to my brothers at arms with or without a weapon. “

“Deep into deployments to Iraq, it also kept me sane. In a rough situation, a long way from home in one of the most inhospitable places on earth, we rolled to relieve the stress, to forget where we were, to stay sharp, and to make brothers for life.”

Even during his break away from military duties Andrew Goldsmith was still ascending to higher plateaus challenging himself in grappling and MMA competitions. The closet thing you can get to a real live stage of combat with many distracting variables competition is the most honest form of engagement that tests a man’s will to cope under extreme pressure. Fight or Flee is the choice which didn’t see Goldsmith fleeing from any dangerous opponent put in front of him. This mark of fearlessness resulted in great success in combat sports with countless grappling tournament victories and an amateur MMA record of 3-1.

Photo Courtesy : Kenny Jewel of GrappleTv
Photo Courtesy : Kenny Jewel of GrappleTv

“I compete to keep my skills sharp, because it reflects well on my Academy, because there’s no substitute for rolling with a stranger at near or better skill level under the butterflies and anxiety of competition,” he said. I believe jiu-jitsu is a combat art, and if you can’t beat someone honestly trying to beat you, you don’t deserve the belt. Honestly, I wish I competed more, it would make me a better man and a better jiu-jitsu fighter.”

How does one react to being in a hazardous environment or undergoing the agonizing taste of defeat after an opponent’s hand is raised? It’s enough to make any normal man crumble. The correlating roles as an Infantryman and martial artist have hammered home the fact that Andrew Goldsmith is a warrior, disciplined individual, and good person. Put in situations which potential shows the worst in people he never quit, stayed loyal to his comrades and didn’t take advantage of other’s weakness thus showcasing the marksmanship of a noble straight shooter.

A lot has changed since his rebellious teen antics thirteen years ago. Still continuing his training now as GJJ Purple belt Andrew Goldsmith’s drive for improvement is far from done. Hard challenges seem to be the key elements that keep this man going. His current volunteer work in Uganda contributing to the KICK Foundation does just that by providing support to disadvantage youth in the area.


Like his military and grappling endeavors it is a challenge that looks to be another defying moment in his life because after all when being put to the test a warrior doesn’t crave easy challenges, but rather, the best in the world !!!


Andrew Goldsmith Military Achievements

  • Served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in 2006 & 2008
  • Combat Infantryman’s Badge – (Iraq 2006)
  • Ranger Tab – (2008)
  • Iraqi Campaign Medal – 2x
  • Army Commendation Medal – 3x

Andrew Goldsmith BJJ/ MMA Achievements

  • MMA (amateur) 3 wins (1 sub, 2 TKO) – 1 loss (TKO)
  • B Co. 1-329 (Basic Training) Heavyweight champion (October (or Nov?) 2004)
  • Fort Carson Combatives Tournament (April 2009) – Heavyweight champion
  • 1st and 2nd place finishes in Naga and Triple Crown Hawaii (2009-2010) – gi and no-gi
  • Gracie Nationals 2013 – Purple Belt, Light heavyweight 2nd Place no-gi,
  • Gracie Nationals 2014 – Purple Belt, Light heavyweight 1st Place


Andrew Goldsmith Special thanks:  Rob Balanon- my training partner in the military, the only person who loved the game as much as I did,