This weekend I visited with my first Jiu-Jitsu instructor Dan Maryanovsky. I contacted Dan earlier in the week asking if it would be OK if I stopped by. He was more than OK with it and looked forward to seeing me. It’s been probably close to three and a half years since I had last stepped into that room to train. The two classes I decided to step in on were the inaugural classes for the quarter. So it was heavy on what Jiu-Jitsu is, the does and don’ts of the class, and the customary introduction to Dan’s straight forward east coast ways.
While Dan’s was the only familiar face in the two classes I attended, the facial expression of each of the students brought me back. I remember the unsettled feeling of stepping barefoot on the mat for the first time. I remember trying to avoid eye contact with some of the other students who appeared to know something about the sport that I was about to enter. I remember how the majority of us looked like dorks. There was always a few who wore street clothes, others who refused to take their socks off, and some that looked like they were looking for a deeper understanding of themselves.
I ended up being Dan’s assistant as he demonstrated segments of the evening’s technique. After each addition he and I would walk around and give the students feedback and answered questions. Not going to lie, I do miss teaching. At this level they know almost nothing about the sport. The only thing carrying them is their excitement and willingness to take on something new. It’s incredibly fun to see.
I got the chance to roll with a few of them. For the most part it was all nice and easy. There was one guy who asked me to do what I wanted, he wanted to see how he measured up. I wasn’t a dick but I took the obvious submissions whenever possible within the duration of the three minute round.
Everyone was incredibly respectful, so much so I felt like I was a visiting Grand Master. The guy who asked me to go hard stopped me and said, “It’s an eye opener to be outclassed by someone smaller than me.” We laughed and I told him that I have the same experiences at the gym I train out of. Another guy caught me outside of the locker room and asked what my name was and also thanked me for coming by.
I loved visiting and look forward to making this more of a regular thing moving forward. That energy from brand new students is very infectious and fun to be around.
Thank you for having me!