It’s been five LONG years this month since I started training Jiu-Jitsu. There I was, young and spry. All fit with the kind of abs that women swoon for when I took my shirt off, which may have done often. The obvious standard of the American man beauty.
Well, not really. At 5’4″ I was just a few pounds shy of 200 pounds, ate out a lot for lunch, and wasn’t exactly into working out. Gyms bored me and lets be honest, there was no way “fat me” was going to start hitting the pavement. They try to tempt you with “runner’s high” but that’s not a real thing.
Doesn’t exist so don’t fall for it.
So long story short, Jiu-Jitsu got me off my ass and helped me lose some weight. I started eating better and was addicted to training which made me into this social butterfly that you have before you. I use that term loosely as I tend to keep to myself and usually dart out of class when I’m done training, but I’ll interact with people on Twitter and Facebook with ease.
During these five years with the help of Jiu-Jitsu I’ve learned how to run a personal website and blog. I released an eBook on Amazon. Won a couple of medals and made more mistakes than I’ll ever be able to remember. I cried once after a tough loss at a competition, don’t judge, it happens. Even fought a close teammate during the finals of Gracie Nationals and at one point contemplated quitting Jiu-Jitsu all together.
I’ve had people’s sweat drop onto my face and into my mouth. Haven’t decided which one is worse, but they’re both f’n gross and you would think those people would be dead to me. Oddly enough, they’re not. Contracted ring worm once or twice and have had my Gis painted in other people’s blood on a few occasions. The gentle art is a bit of a stretch. Especially for someone who is a slight germaphobe. I’ve spent more on athletic tape and anti-inflammatory drugs than any responsible American should who doesn’t own stock in any of these companies.
I’ve met some assholes along the way. You know, those people who like to grab at fingers and don’t wash their Gis. I still remember the guy who decided to spank Dean on the ass while in the middle of a match at a competition. Probably the oddest things I’ve seen to date.
What a dick.
I’ve watched Jiu-Jitsu friends tested by life, pushed to the breaking point, and held afloat with the love and support of their teammate.
I watched Will come up short time and time again yet keep signing up for the next tournament until he finally broke through at PanAms. I had never been so happy for a teammate.
Sadly I saw teammates come and go. Some quit, never living up to their potential while other’s felt the need to find a new environment to grown from. Myself included. Over these five years, I’ve had a few regrets but far more blessings than I’m probably truly deserving of.
One of which has been helping teach kids. I love it. As someone who may not ever have kids, this gives me a chance to give back to the next generation. Plus I’ve heard that if you choke out enough children, their life force gets transferred onto you and you become an immortal.
I’ve become a better human being over these last five years. I’m far more sure of myself than I have ever been. I’ve come to realize that even with my short comings, I am who I am and I don’t have to be anything else. I do work to smooth out some of my rough edges but I have noticed that my quiet respectful demeanor does shine through even in a loud crowded gym full of killers.
I thank you all. Past and present. Friends and foes. This has been one hell of a road!