Originally published in Above the Law, Oct 4, 2012.
Just because you may be a highly successful, incredibly busy attorney doesn’t mean you can’t pursue badass hobbies on the side. Sketch comedy, climbing mountains — sorry, golf doesn’t count — or martial arts fighting.
We interviewed the name partner at a major East Coast plaintiffs’ firm about his devoted jiu jitsu training, his background as a young boxer, and his successful fight competition last month.
Before we jump in the ring, and learn more about the attorney and his fun, unusual hobby, take a quick bow…
We spoke yesterday with Christopher Seeger, one of the founding partners of Seeger Weiss, which Lat profiled over the summer.
Seeger has been learning jiu jitsu for three years. He got into the sport after he brought his kids in for lessons and ended up getting interested himself. He trains roughly four or five days a week before work, and he’s currently a blue belt. Seeger competed — and won his age and weight class! — at the Pan American Games in New York last week.
So, why did Seeger choose jiu jitsu and not karate or kung fu? Well, to start, jiu jitsu involves real fighting. He says one of its most important aspects is live sparring.
“From the day you walk in, you’re sparring with people much more experienced,” Seeger says. Most other martial arts don’t involve physical contact during practice, which definitely sounds less exciting. Seeger was a boxer as a young man, and “boxing was real life,” with real hitting. He says his new sport is similar.
Jiu jitsu has become similar to a religion. He’s healthier — the 6-foot-tall 52-year-old has dropped 50 pounds since he started training. “I don’t drink,” he says. “I’m much more focused; it’s a good compliment to my work.” He says it makes him feel younger, and the tournaments encourage this litigator’s competitive side.
If you aren’t familiar with jiu jitsu, this isn’t a Karate Kid, wax on-wax off type thing. “It’s grappling. It’s not punching or kicking.” He points out Marcelo Garcia as the best fighter around these days. Here’s a Garcia highlight reel so you can see what we mean:
If you happen to live near New York, Seeger mentioned to us that he practices in Paterson, New Jersey, with Team Edson Carvalho. Seeger enthusiastically recommends jiu jitsu to anyone — and if you sign up at his dojo, you might even run into him!
As for the competition? He won his match on points, and Seeger says he felt good and in control the whole time. A submission, which is roughly the equivalent of a wrestling pin, “would have been nice,” but a win is a win, right? Four of his five kids came to watch (the fifth had a cold), as did his girlfriend and friends from his dojo.
Some of his lawyerly colleagues from Seeger Weiss said they would be there, though they didn’t show up. But don’t worry, the colleagues are not in trouble: “Maybe they didn’t want to be there in case it didn’t work out real well for me!”