Jovan is the Executive Officer and Head Jiu-Jitsu Coach of Standing Proud. Jovan is a proud dad to his 11 year old daugher, Arianny and 4 year son little Jovi. He has been a local resident of Big Bear since 2015. Jovan always wanted to be a dad and his kids is what keeps him going . Jovan was born in Phoenix, Arizona on March 7, 1986 and the oldest of 4 siblings. His mom and dad were 16 and 18 when he was born and faced many challenges that came with being young parents. At times they had very little and struggled to make it through. Eventually the family relocated to San Diego and at 8 years old, Jovan's parents marriage came to an end. From that age into his adolescence, Jovan and siblings would bounce back and forth between his Moms in the South Bay area, 15 mins from the Mexican Border and his Dads place on El Cajon Boulevard. A predominant area at the time for prostitution, drugs, and gang violence. Jovan calls this time in his life the start of the "Dark Ages". He got involved in the streets and was the product of his environment. Getting in trouble, he moved from place to place between San Diego, Brawley, and Fresno, California. Every school he went to, he ended up getting Suspended and ultimately Expulsion for Fighting. At 15 years old, not being able to go to regular school and spending some time in Juvenal Hall, Jovan started working full-time with his Dad at Pacific Skyline Glass in San Diego and soon after, moved into his first apartment. This was Jovan's turning point and he made the decision to dedicate his entire focus on learning a skill trade. It helped him stay off the streets and kept him out of trouble.
Jovan started as the shop guy and worked his way up to become a Lead Glazier. Driving the company vehicle, he traveled up and down Southern California doing Window and Shower Installs. In 2004 Jovan faced another setback when he got stabbed in the back picking up some friends from a party. Jovan remembers seeing nothing but red and the smell of his own blood, riding to the hospital in the backseat of his car. He spent almost a year recovering from that incident. He was able to get back to work and eventually got back on his feet. Jovan met Michelle and both 18 at the time got married in November 2005. Not long after, Michelle joined Jovan and started helping with the daily operations at Pacific Skyline Glass.
In August of 2011, Jovans life had a new meaning as he welcomed his daughter Arianny in this world. After 12 years as a Glazier, he decided that he wanted to leave the big city. He got a job offer he could not refuse and in May 2015, left the city behind and relocated his family to the San Bernardino Mountains of Big Bear, California. His love for the great outdoors made Big Bear the perfect place to live. Jovan enjoys exploring endless trails throughout the Big Bear Valley and surrounding areas. He enjoys activities that get him going and pushes his body to the limit while having fun at the same time. Mountain Biking, Hiking and Rock Climbing. Jovan loves to be able to jump in the car in the middle of the night to explore and Camp out in the desert and hike out to the natural hot springs. Jovan loves to be able to put his paddle board and drive to the Lake in just a few short minutes. During the winter, you will find him on the slopes, snowboarding in his free time. Living in the mountains has helped him to evolve as a person, mentally and physically. After 2 kids and growing in different directions, Jovan and Michelle ended their 16 year marriage but continue to actively be involved in raising their 2 children.
Jovan has had a passion for Martial Arts since he was a child. He was introduced to Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 7 years old. Immediately he was hooked but having to move, he could not continue his training. To help keep him out of trouble as a teen, his mom decided to enroll him at City Boxing in San Diego. Jovan had to stop his training when he went to juvenile hall. Several years later he started training with one of his first coaches Mike Alvarez, the original founder of Standing Proud. Jovan and teammate Eddie soon started coaching underprivileged kids in his community. Jovan connected with these kids, they faced the same struggles he had to face when he was younger. In 2007, he started training Jiu-Jitsu in San Diego and trains under Dustin Thornton at City of Champions. He would commute to San Diego from Big Bear to train and in 2019, Jovan received his brown belt from Dustin.
Wanting to continue his Jiu-Jitsu journey he visualized being able to pursue his passion of training in high altitude. Wanting to share his passion with his family, friends and entire community! What started out as Little Bear Jiu-Jitsu Academy for his daughter and her friends evolved to something bigger. After multiple injuries he took a step back from the construction field, took a leap of faith that lead him to follow the one passion that has always been in the back of his mind and that was to start a High Altitude MMA training facility.
In September 2017, Jovan opened Bear City Jiu-Jitsu Academy. The following year in July 2018, Jovan welcomed his son little Jovi. Being a Dad is Jovans most proudest accomplishments.
After Mike's tragic passing in 2010, Jovan had a long journey ahead of him to continue Mike's vision . Over a decade later and experiencing Life's highs and lows, Jovan reinvigorated the vision and opened Standing Proud Corp in July 2021.
Do not let no one put a ceiling on your sky! Is what I have always told my kids. I do not claim to be the best single mothers out there, I have made my mistakes and my kids have learned to survive and fight because no one can save you but you with sweet JESUS on your side who can be against you! everyone carries their own cross, So if your are living like there is no GOD I hope you are RIGHT!! I choose to believe that there has to be something better than this world after we die so I choose JESUS everyday! Nevertheless, I am neither a status nor a post, you don’t have to like or love me, I am who I am and that is just enough. I have been blessed to live and raised my kids in beautiful San Diego California where the weather is always the BEST and the beach is always a step away. So many things to do here in San Diego and so little time! Unfortunately, we all get so busy surviving life we forget to live and enjoy life especially in these days with California gas prices and inflation thru the roof! “Is RIDICULOUS!!!
I live for the small moments when my kids come to visit with my grandchildren and enjoy the memories we make together as time is priceless that I have learned. I will always remember the Koo-aide smiles and peanut butter and jelly all over the counters when my boys were young. Now they are handsome strong men and good fathers. I miss arguing with my 4 year old daughter of what she was going to wear that day and/or how to brush her hair, she is now a 24year old young lady beautiful and independent. It is funny how sometimes we think when our kids turn 18 are job is done but it only has just begun! As we want them to succeed and live better than we did and make all the right choices because of our own mistakes but to find out they too need to make their own mistakes and learn from them because it will never matter how many times you fall but how many times you get back up is what really matters!
Janice Etter (at right) is the mother of two grown daughters Kimmi and Katie. Janice and her husband Eddie, have been married for 34 years and recently welcomed their grandson Kip. Janice attended University of California, Davis and in 1983 earned a Bacheler's Degree in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning. She enjoys many outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, rock-climbing. You name it, shes done it all. Janice once again challenged herself when she started training Jiu-Jitsu in 2017 at the young age of 57 when looking for a self-defense class. She says that “If I can do it, anyone can do it” and truly believes that every woman should learn Jiu -itsu. Since she started her training, You will often find Janice the only female student that has been consistently dedicated in her training. Janice, is the Senior Principal Planner for Big Bear Lake. The Planning Division works with land developers regarding commercial, industrial, and residential developments planning. If she has to work late, she will still come to class, sit on the bench observing and taking notes. She is a true inspiration to us all. Janice continues to train kick
boxing and jiu-jitsu and earned her blue belt in May, 2021.