Goals part 2.

This is a continuation from my previous entry “Goals.” However, instead of triathlon the topic today is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). I began the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) under the tutelage of now black belt “Halo” Angel Lopez in April 2016. He received his black belt shortly after with his journey being unique, nonetheless, finishing in less than 6 years which is rare and unheard of as an average person will not achieve a black belt🥋 . For the past two years, I have been encouraged to begin this sport by my brother Sean who is now a 4-stripe blue belt. Life and busy schedules as well as fatherhood and taking care of two little ones has made it now a reality as I have reached 9 months. My progression is slow and steady as I’ve become more consistent since acquiring a minivan, YEAH, BABY! We have lived in Fresno for just short of a year and with no regret have already seen tremendous success and potential in making this decision with Gods guidance. We have become more involved in our children’s lives, our spiritual lives, and our community. Jiu Jitsu has brought a new challenge to me. It allows me to venture into unknown waters. If you have read my previous entries you will see how I have confronted my fears and set goals to accomplish more than I can imagine. I believe there is an inherent void in many people’s lives that is filled when we strive to grow as human beings. My father taught me it is a daily struggle. A daily goal. A daily walk with God. Jiu Jitsu has given me that opportunity to daily face my fear with a physical and mental grapple with another person. My experience grappling with people unleashes my brains potential by placing obstacles in front of it with the goal of getting over, under or around it within a 5 minute “roll.”

My first 6 months training in this sport as a white belt can be described with one word: SURVIVAl. A common illustration for Jiu jitsu is swimming with sharks and you are the food. The fear is not only of drowning but of fighting a shark and surviving. The emphasis is to defend. I have no prior knowledge in grappling such as wrestling or sambo so I have a clean slate in this regard. Once I’ve learned to survive then the next progression which I have started is learning to attack. Some say the best defense is a great offense. It’s true. It really is. Believe me. Being aggressive and “being first” is my primary goals in BJJ. Guard attacks and guard passes can open an arsenal that is hidden from an untrained eye. By being aggressive and taking the initiative while not waiting for your opponent I have found more success in my rolls. The more I study this sport and learn from my professor and coaches I start to “see without seeing.” I’ve rolled with tremendous athletes who perform at their peak when “seeing without seeing” in other words they roll with their eyes closed. Can you imagine swimming in the ocean with sharks and feeling confident enough to have your eyes closed? That’s what they do. It must have to do with spatial orientation (an understanding of where your opponent is) and proprioception (an understanding where you are). The beauty of this sport especially during an “epic” roll I have with my training partners is to see this in play: the push-pull, ebb and flow of two people moving in concert. My next goal is to win a single match at the no-gi All Americas SJJIF tournament this weekend. I will post in the near future the health benefits of practicing BJJ and some examples of practitioners who have sustained long and healthy high-quality of life.



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