On the 13th of July Dylan Whyte, or “Coach Dylan” was promoted to Black Belt by our Professor and Soul Fighters founder Bruno “Tank” Mendes during the seminar given by he and his brother Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes. First off, I recommend any academy that can make it happen to bring these two in together. They have an amazing synergy and play off of each other beautifully. I think on the occasion of his black belt, it might be interesting to see where Dylan’s journey originated.
During his early years through high school Dylan was an elite soccer player. He played for select clubs in Tallahassee, Thomasville and Atlanta. He was able to play on the highest levels of youth soccer, splitting time as a center back and as a striker. He was equally skilled at defending and goal scoring, although his shattering tackles endeared him to defense minded coaches. During his senior year of high school, his team, despite being from small town Thomasville showed great promise and was expected to go far in the state playoffs. Late in the season Dylan developed a painful knee condition called Sinding-Larsen-Johansen syndrome. He was a key player, and as the team progressed through the playoffs he refused to rest. He went on to score several game winning goals, including one in the semi finals of the tournament. He was instrumental in the team’s state championship that year (2010) but the effort made a mess of his knee. Near the end of the season he signed to play College Soccer in Atlanta at Southern Poly State University, a solid NAIA program.
Unfortunately, Dylan wasn’t able to rehab intensively due to his knee injury which healed slowly. He gained weight and struggled to get conditioned prior to reporting in the Fall. He began training Jiu Jitsu, initially as a form of rehab, but quickly developed a joy for the game. He trained with Felipe Neto in Tallahassee for six months prior to transferring to Atlanta. Jiu jitsu helped to get him in shape and he was able to perform in camp until a fractured tibia on the leg with the good knee ended his season. As luck would have it he had already begun to train in Atlanta at Romero Jacare Cavalcante’s academy. During his time in Atlanta Rubens Charles Maciel (Cobrinha) and Lucas Lepri were the main instructors. On returning the Tallahassee, Dylan again trained at Felipe Neto’s academy, but never felt it was a good fit. He found a home as Bruno Malfacine’s student in Orlando, an academy owned by Brad Thompson, a seasoned black belt. Under Bruno’s instruction and Brad’s mentorship, Dylan quickly grew and had many competition successes, including winning the USA UAEE Nationals which earned him the trip to Abu Dhabi as a purple belt.
Dylan is a very family oriented person, and longed to live near his parents and brother. Despite his love of Bruno and Brad he made the decision to move home. While it seemed pretty far fetched, his dream was to open an academy of his own. For that first year back home he trained and competed extensively. His only consistent training partners were his father, Brother Evan, and dear friend Sam Ekstein. In 2016 his father Jim Whyte promoted Dylan to Brown belt. Soon after he finalized his plans to open an academy with his father’s blessing. Thus Positive Balance was born, but would exist in his Dad’s garage with occasional training sessions at Josh Harpers Fish Dojo in Thomasville. Eventually the academy opened, and he immediately affiliated with Bruno Tank and Soul Fighters. The non nonsense supportive environment and access to Tank’s knowledge was just what he needed as a young instructor and business man. All the while Dylan continued to compete on some of the biggest stages with a good deal of success. This all culminated with his black belt, tied on by his dad Jim Whyte and given by Bruno Tank Mendes. As they say, the rest is history.
The Academy now boasts 3 Black Belt Professors, Dylan Whyte, JC Pennington and Jim Whyte. All three bring their unique approach to Jiu Jitsu (and in JCs case MMA/Striking) to our students.