A few years back my father decided that he would join Crazy 88 to learn jiu-jitsu, which I had never heard about before. Having given up the opportunity to play collegiate sports at my small school in Michigan, I decided that I would tag along to fill the void and restlessness that college brought. Right away I felt a connection to the art. At first jiu-jitsu was an escape for the anxiety of school and life in general, and it remained as such for a while due to my inability to keep a consistent practice schedule and develop a true connection to the art.
It got to the point where I wanted to compete in jiu-jitsu. So the summer of 2014 I competed at the World Championship for my first competition (IBJJF or in any other organization) and took third. Though not the result I desired, it was right then and there that I decided I wanted to learn the art of jiu-jitsu — not just escape from the realities of this world brought me.
I went back to school the next fall. I paid for gas and $100/month fee to train in Indiana twice a week (the closest place I could find a legitimate jiu-jitsu gym). Money got tight so I had to stop and wait until I returned to Crazy 88 to continue my training. I recently competed in worlds this past May (2015) and took home third… again :(
After Worlds, I sat down with master Julius and we discussed what my plan was with jiu-jitsu. By this time I loved and respected jiu-jitsu as an art, but I was treating it as a hobby —no dedication so as to avoid disappointment in the room and at competitions. Something had to change. So I decided to get serious. In all honesty, the decision to get serious was precipitated by a need for structure rather than a desire to get my blue belt. No matter how long it took — and it honestly didn’t matter how long — there was always a blue belt there, waiting for me whenever I decided to be ready for it.
My journey to blue belt ended on July 20, 2015. A day I’ll never forget. And a promotion “celebration” I’ll always remember. That moment was the moment I started living jiu-jitsu. Unlike many enthusiasts of the sport, I am not concerned with when the next belt will come or if I am meeting expectations or learning everything that is expected for my belt level. This is not to say all of that is not important, however, my attention is fixed on learning the art, loving the art, and continuously putting my best foot forward.
And that is what I intend to do.