Another inspiring letter from a graduate to Blue Belt. Oss Jamie!
Becoming qualified to receive my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu represents an important milestone in my development, both personally, and as a martial artist. I began my training with BBJJ at a time of many major changes in my life. I had just moved into a new city to learn a new line of work, and gain the skills I will need to support myself. Without any previous martial arts experience, I decided to join BBJJ a month after arriving in Brooklyn, having been interested in Thai Kickboxing since I was fifteen. Immediately I was faced with challenges. Managing my schedule, developing a healthy training routine, and deciding whether martial arts training was really for me. As I met these challenges, and overcame them to face new ones, I began to understand that presenting myself with obstacles is the only way I can grow to fulfill my potential.
Initially I enjoyed entertaining the idea of entering competitions. It was quickly made clear to me that the school had no interest in training competitors. A room mate of mine had some MMA training and was encouraging me to compete like he had, despite the fact that he had quit training due to a knee injury and had gained a considerable amount of weight since. The more thought I put in to BBJJ’s philosophy on competitive training, and the more I spoke with people who had been involved in tournaments, it became abundantly clear why I myself shouldn’t be involved in competition, and what a unique environment I was training in. Several friends I went to high school with have joined BJJ teams, entered into competitions as white belts, and haven’t trained since. I now understand the value in longevity, and how much I stand to gain from a life of training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
As I graduated into the advanced program in Thai Boxing and BJJ training became available to me, I felt hesitant to join at first. I didn’t take BJJ classes very often, and took a few months to join the advanced class. It’s strange now to consider my hesitation. Mostly I think I was concerned over personal space, and whether or not I would be able to participate in live training adequately. Having been involved in the advanced program for about a year now, I can hardly imagine my life without my BJJ training. The skills I have learned on the mat have carried over into every aspect of my life. Learning to breathe, be patient, and thoughtful in an uncomfortable position has been the most valuable lesson to me. The instructors and professor have taught me to embrace and challenge my disadvantages, while presenting my advantages with grace. As I transition to blue belt, I look forward to finding and developing my style with new skills, techniques, and adjustments, while maintaining the fundamentals I have learned so far.