I’ve been thinking about this topic for quite some time now. Debating whether it should be a regular thing or something I do as a one time deal simply because the inspiration hit me. I guess time will tell. As I’ve aged I’ve grown to appreciate the people in my life that have allowed me to grow and become a better person. I may not always say it regularly but I try to take time out every so often to express it. It may be a quick text out of the blue, “thinking of you”, “How are you?”, or “Hope all is well”. Sometimes it’s a thank you card or like today, a blog post.
Often times when you think about a successful gym, association, or company you think of the head. Naturally your mind will race to the public face of the company or organization. In Jiu-Jitsu we look at the name on the patch or the sign on the door. How does his or her lineage commands respect within the community. We recognize the successes of the students that compete and the level of instruction that’s received often by the amount of medals collected. The rising stars receive adulation and invites to to participate in Super Fights. The instructors will travel, putting on clinics and seminars to share some of their secrets to success.
In the end, all this happens only with the help of those behind the scenes. The quiet ones that commit themselves to the same level of excellence that competitors and instructors strive to reach.
At Gracie San Diego one such person is Ms. Margarita. I don’t say this lightly, but she in a lot of ways is genuinely the backbone of our school. Margarita started working at Gracie La Mesa sometime around 2012-2013, when at the time the school had roughly fifty students. Her hard work and stellar customer service grew the school to around eighty. After working at La Mesa for two years she moved over to Gracie San Diego (HQ) where she’s been an integral part of the program for the last two years. Ms. Margarita works tirelessly to make sure that the gym is kept clean, stocked, and operating well. She spends long days helping Professor Regis organize the In House tournaments or planning gym functions like this weekends picnic.
She’s his eyes and ears when he’s not around. The amount of faith that Professor Regis has in her says a lot about her judgement. I remember him once telling me that Margarita has been with me so long that she knows my expectations, she’ll tell me if an instructor will work out or not. So when I started teaching the Kid’s Class four months ago I was a bundle of nervous. Part of me actually dreaded teaching the class early on because I was worried I wasn’t doing things correctly.
Through several chats with Margarita, she assured me that things were going great and that I was handling the class well. These chats were priceless for me in that they allowed me to stop putting unneeded pressure on myself and just focus on enjoying the experience. She’s become my own eyes and ears and a bit of a confidant when it comes to the kids class. The success of the Kid’s Program is in large part due to her guidance.
If she’s had a bad day I’ve never noticed it. Every time I’ve walked into Gracie San Diego I’ve been welcomed with a genuinely warm smile and a “Hey Dave.” With as many students as we have, she remembers everyone’s names. From white to black belt or from child to adult, she has a way of making people feel like you matter. This devoted mother, bowler, and Disneyland fan is a highlight at the gym. She’s someone I’m thankful to have assisting in my development as an instructor. I value her kind words of support, and her patience, and understanding.
If you haven’t already, please take the time to thank her for everything she does.