Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Road to BJJ Black Belt: The Beginning

I'm still waiting for a doctor's appointment for my knee. The cool thing about it is I get to use my cane. As a joke birthday gift it's turned into a useful tool. The knee is still hard to walk on but I can still do a little ground work so I can still stay in shape and along with Pilates I think I will be fine until I get a diagnosis.

So I have been taking it easy and just coaching the guys and gals at Gladiators Academy. So this week I want to tell you how I got into BJJ. As most people my first exposure to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was watching the UFC. I was watching the first UFC at my first bachelor party(LOL first). I watched Royce Gracie win the first tournament and wanted to learn how to arm bar people. I was in Taekwondo at the time and started training with some guys that did American jujutsu.

I was training with them on weekends for about a year when I meet a Japanese student at USL. He was a black belt in Shodokan and was interested in seeing how we trained. He came with me one day and after we left he told me to not go back over there. I was shocked. So we talked some more and I showed him the UFC VHS(for the kiddies that was a tape we used before DVDs and the internet).

He said that what I was looking for was a Judo school. He had never heard of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu but 
said that looked like Judo. This was 1994 before the BJJ guys get pissed. As luck would have it USL had a Judo club and I needed a physical education credit so I signed up. I figured how hard could it be I was a black belt in Taekwondo and Judo is just another martial art. Man was I wrong.

They utterly destroyed me. I remember one day being just rag dolled around the mat. The guy was literally swinging me around in a circle and then snapping down to my knees. I looked up at him and said "I hope you're enjoying this." Knowing full well that he would continue to do it until I learned how to endure having another human hanging from me trying to slam me to the ground.

It was some of the toughest training I have ever done outside of boot camp. I was bound and determined to learn Judo because I wasn't the type of person to walk away from a challenge. Long story made short, I walked away from Taekwondo and started training only in Judo.

My Judo experience was amazing. I got to train with some of the finest people in the world, many who remain good friends to this day. I have meet Olympic and World Judo champions and got to train with one of the best blind Judo players in the world, Scott Moore. Scott was one of the black belts at USL Judo and a good friend, great coach and training partner.

To be continued......................

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