The Jiu Jitsu Belt System


 Jiu Jitsu pic

Jiu Jitsu

Experienced in land development and entitlement, Darwin Horan functioned in executive capacities for Writer Homes and D. R. Horton, Inc. He now serves as the president and CEO of his own company, Ventana Capital, Inc. Darwin Horan counts jiu jitsu among his leisure pursuits.

A martial art that focuses on compelling an opponent’s submission via grappling and ground fighting, jiu jitsu relies on a belt system to indicate where one is at in his progression of mastery of the discipline. An ancient myth suggests that the darker the belt, the more advanced the student. Here are the five colors that constitute the jiu jitsu belt system:

White belts mark the start of a jui jitsu student’s journey. Training at this level ranges from learning how to roll, fall, and escape to positioning oneself defensively and familiarizing oneself with basic offensive moves.

Blue belts indicate attendance at over 100 classes for a year or two with a focus on self-defense techniques such as throws and takedowns, escapes and submissions, and passing the guard and closed guard.

Purple belts mean that a student has undergone classes that qualify him or her for self-defense in real-life situations, to join tournaments, and to teach jiu jitsu.

Brown belts indicate that a student has mastered and refined a multitude of techniques after going through a minimum of five years of training.

Black belts signify the highest rank and denote expertise in technical and practical skills. Sometimes addressed as professor, a black belt holder has undergone thousands of training hours, competed in countless tournaments, and led jiu jitsu classes.


Wondrous Mayan Ruins at Mexico’s Chichen Itza


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Chichen Itza

Darwin Horan holds a wealth of senior executive experience honed from his years as president of the Denver division for the city’s largest residential construction firm, D.R. Horton. Today, Darwin Horan is at the helm of Ventana Capital, a real estate management company. When not attending to his duties as Ventana’s president, Mr. Horan enjoys traveling to the Caribbean and Mexico.

Chichen Itza is located in Mexico’s Yucatan state, just over 500 km south of the Gulf of Mexico. The ancient site covers about 4 square miles and contains several large religious structures. El Castillo is a steep, four-sided pyramid dedicated to the Mayan snake god, Quetzalcóatl. Twice a year, during the equinoxes, thousands of visitors gather to watch a snake-like shadow glide up and down the side of the castle.

Chichen Itza also contains the largest of the 1,300 ball courts found in Mesoamerica, which measures over 166 meters in length. Detailed reliefs of celebrating players line the walls as a testament to the importance of the game in Mayan life.

Chichen Itza earned recognition as a UNESCO heritage site in 1988 and is designated one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”

The Challenge Foundation Mentor Program

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Challenge Foundation

The owner of Ventana Capital in Englewood, Colorado, Darwin Horan helps his community by donating to several charitable organizations. One organization Darwin Horan proudly supports is the Challenge Foundation, which seeks to end poverty and its effects on young people in Denver, El Paso, and Phoenix.

The Challenge Foundation‘s mentor program serves as a cornerstone of its work. Mentors partner with individual scholars and their families to encourage academic and personal success. Mentors become active participants in students’ school experiences. In the long term, mentors and students become friends and important parts of each other’s lives.

Prospective mentors must have a college degree, a clean driving record, and no criminal history. The Challenge Foundation performs comprehensive background checks to ensure that these criteria are met.

Mentors are expected to be in regular communication with their mentees as well as with the Challenge Foundation. Mentors and their middle school mentees meet at least twice per month, while mentors and their high school mentees meet at least once per month.

Ventana Capital’s Sierra Ridge Development


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Sierra Ridge

A graduate of Arizona State University, Darwin Horan draws upon a background in real estate development to lead Ventana Capital in Englewood, Colorado. Under the direction of Darwin Horan, Ventana Capital has spearheaded numerous residential developments in and around Denver.

Ventana Capital’s portfolio of development projects includes Hunter’s Run West, an 82.2-acre development in Larimer County; a 236-acre mixed-use development plot named Pillar of Fire in Westminster County; and The Waterfront, a Weld County mixed-use site spanning nearly 600 acres. In addition to these projects, Ventana Capital is developing its Sierra Ridge site.

Located at the corner of Chamber Road and Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County, Sierra Ridge is a 314-acre development site with approval for 1,600 residences. The project includes a planned community center featuring a pool and playground and a designated site for an elementary school that will be part of the Douglas County School District.

Conveniently located, the Sierra Ridge development stands about three miles from downtown Parker, Colorado. Residents will have access to a shopping center featuring restaurants, food shopping, and other small businesses less than two miles away.

A Brief Overview of Land Entitlement


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Land Entitlement

For the past two decades, Darwin Horan has worked in the home building and land development industry. He formerly served as the president of the largest home builder in Colorado and is now the president and owner of Ventana Capital, Inc., in Englewood, Colorado. Over the years, Darwin Horan has been responsible for securing entitlements for many projects.

Land entitlement refers to the legal process of obtaining approval from a regulatory body for the use or development of land. This process can be complicated and time consuming, but is an extremely important part of the development phase. Without obtaining the entitlement, developers do not know what they can legally do with a property. As a result, they cannot determine the feasibility of a development project and are thus unable to move forward.

There are several different forms of land entitlement, and most projects require several approvals from local regulatory bodies before they can continue. One of the most common forms of entitlement is the zoning. Each property is zoned for a specific type of use, such as commercial or residential. If a developer has a project planned that does not match the zoning of the property, he or she must try to get it rezoned.

Use permits and utility approvals are two other common forms of entitlement. These allow developers to add utilities to a property if they do not already exist and ensure that their planned use of the property is legal.

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Ventana Capital’s Lagae Ranch

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Lagae Ranch

Darwin Horan works at Ventana Capital, Inc., a land development and entitlement firm in Englewood, Colorado, where he serves as owner and president.

Ventana Capital is not only one of the most comprehensive real estate development and entitlement operations in Colorado, but one of the state’s most active. In addition to controlling more than $200 million in assets and 180,000 square feet of developed commercial property, Ventana is in the midst of developing 17 subdivisions throughout the state, such as Lagae Ranch.

The Lagae Ranch property can be found in Douglas County, one of the state’s most rapidly expanding regions, south of the Castle Pines Parkway and west of I-25 alongside some of Colorado’s premiere living communities. Measuring 243 acres, the fully developed project is expected to sustain as many as 400 multi-family units and 231 single-family homes, while still retaining 53 acres of open land. Potential plans for Lagae Ranch range from the possible construction of a Catholic church to an onsite charter school.

For a more in depth look at Ventana’s properties, consider visiting the firm online at