I can't believe I just hit my 19th year of training. It's pretty crazy to think back to 1997 starting out as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu white belt. There have been so many highs and oh so many lows over my journey.
When I look back over the years it's the lows that were the defining moments in my life. Working out of those low spots made me a better grappler, competitor and person.
I always joke around about how bad I sucked as a white belt, but I was so bad. For me survival became a must and I became really good at it.
When I got to Blue Belt things started to get a little better and way more fun. I was starting to put things together and didn't feel like a submission dummy.
I still remember the day that I wanted to quit BJJ and almost did. Travis and I were training under the Legend Carlos Machado. Promotion day was here and lots of guys that I could beat were getting their Purple Belts so I knew today was the day!
Ranking ended and I was still a Blue Belt. I could not figure out what happened and left feeling shocked and angry.
I was devastated and on the ride home all I could think about was quitting. Travis gave me some good advice. He told me I could quit and be like everyone else who quits or I could train harder and become the best Blue Belt around. If Carlos doesn't think your ready then your not.
I let that sink in a little and got fired up, I was not going to quit. Quitting would be the easy way out. Looking back at the decision to make myself better on the mat and reach a goal was also a time in my personal life when things started to get better.
This was a defining moment of my life and I am convinced if I would have quit that day that my life would not be like it is today. And my life is pretty awesome.
I grew up with crazy low confidence and low self esteem. I was my own worst enemy at times. Training Jiu-Jitsu not only gave me confidence in my life, it taught me about facing challenges and overcoming them.
When things get hard in your life just buckle down and find the solution. Just don't quit!
Conclusion: I worked my butt off and was awarded my Purple Belt from Carlos. It really was the defining belt of my BJJ career. So many people quit before purple and I understood now. I never worried about another promotion again, I learned that when my Coach thinks I am ready then I am ready.
The skills that we develop on mat translate into skills that effect our lives off the mat! Don't get caught up worrying about promotions. Make sure to enjoy the journey because its the best part!
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