Lunch time. A reprieve from the everyday realities of life.
This is where I go to test myself… my mind, my body and my spirit. This is my laboratory. I bring what I have, throw it all out there on the mats, and see what sticks. Some things I keep. Some things I don’t. In the end, what I have is my own and nobody else’s. It’s MY game. When the experiment works, there’s nothing quite like it. The flow. The artistry. The motion. The dance. When it doesn’t you find yourself on the wrong end of an armbar, in a tangled mass of humanity, or possibly waking up in a room full of people unaware you just had a 20 second power nap. (Sometimes people actually snore when choked out. Seriously. It’s awesome.)
De la Riva, kimura, omoplata, berimbolo, kesa gatame. God bless you. The terminology is as diverse as the art, and only seems to grow as new pieces are discovered. Hell, some things don’t even have names… you know, that move where your leg goes over your opponents head, and you have wrist control, and they posture up, and you fake a sweep and shift your hips and grab a cross grip. No, I don’t know. Well, it’s a move and now it’s called (something in Portuguese because it sounds cool).
Our lab is filled with guys and gals of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, backgrounds, jobs, goals and dreams. Everyone that walks through the door has their own reason for being there. To compete. To be a champion. To try something new. To get in shape. To challenge themselves. To escape reality. To meet hot dudes in pajamas. (No? Just me?) Whatever the reason, everyone who hits these hallowed mats does so with a desire to help the other person maximize their potential and realize their goals. Everyone. The rare few that don’t probably won’t stick around long.
The subculture that’s carefully and purposefully constructed here flows from the top down. To be apart of something great like this requires a great leader. Someone to encourage, inspire and challenge the diverse family he’s created. That’s our professor. Just another one of the guys. (Just another one of the guys that can beat your ASS! I digress.) The brilliance of his jiu jitsu mind commands respect without commanding respect. A student himself, yet with a depth and breadth of knowledge surpassed only by a passion for teaching. Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach. Not here. The only thing better than listening to him teach is watching him roll (what we call sparring, and in no way connected with illicit drug use, although…never mind). The mastery with which he conducts his art makes the impossible appear possible and generally leaves heads shaking in disbelief. (I’m totally not getting paid for this but at least deserve a free month.) I’m eternally grateful for the lessons learned here from our professor… about the art of course, but also about myself… what I’m made of, what I can take, what I’m capable of, when I will break.
This is jiu jitsu. This is life.
This is Gracie Humaita, my other family.