A few weeks ago one of my favorite Jiu-Jitsu people was promoted to to the rank of Black Belt. Unfortunately, I was unable to be part of the promotion ceremony due to a work conference that started that weekend. Although, I was there in spirit. I’ve known Will Baldwin for most of of my time training and whether he admits it or not, has had a huge impact on my game and in turn my life.
If I’m being honest, I don’t remember much about how our friendship started. Will on the other hand loves to remind me that I was a fatty back then. For me, one day we just started training and without really talking about it, he became one of my mentors. I gravitated to Will because of his demeanor. For the most part he was calm and relaxed. He was also a wealth of knowledge and always incredibly giving with his time.
Before I knew it he was my primary training partner. He was the guy I looked forward to rolling with the most every week. I measured my growth on what kind of day he had sparring me. In the beginning I just wanted to survive, it was a good day when he wasn’t able to submit me with ease. The day that I started to threaten him during a roll, I finally felt like I was a training partner worth his time. We had good days and bad but I always knew that I was getting better from just from being around him.
I’m incredibly indebted to Will for all the laughs, taps, aches, pains, and the countless competitions he’s coached me through.
Thank you for everything. I’m so proud of you. This promotion has been a long time coming and well deserved!