Matthew Vella was promoted to the rank of Brazilian jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt tonight, February 20, 2015.
I received my blue belt in 2011 before moving to Maryland, and at that time I trained four to five times per week competing at local tournaments with mixed results. After moving to Maryland and training at a different gym, I realized that I wanted to start taking jiu jitsu seriously.
I learned about Crazy 88 through the gym that I trained at and decided that if I wanted to make the jump to the next level, I needed to be around people who had similar ambitions. I made the 45 minute drive to and from Crazy 88 five times every week. I would also wake up early to drill at 6am most mornings and attended classes during my lunch breaks. After almost a year of this exhausting routine I decided to find a new job and move closer to Crazy 88 so I could consistently train hard. This turned out to be a good decision because I began seeing good results at IBJJF tournaments.
My jiu jitsu season came to a disappointing end when I lost by an advantage at the Worlds and injured my shoulder shortly after. While the injury did keep me from training for several months, I believe that it allowed me time to clear my head, watch film, and get back into training as soon as I was physically able to. This journey ultimately led me to my recent promotion to purple belt which I can honestly say was one of the greatest moments in my life. While the journey has been long, I feel like its only just beginning.