Monday, February 24, 2014

My Brown Belt Promotion

So I'm a little late on this blog post but figured better late than never.  At least I'll be able to go back and appreciate the fact that I documented it in some way.  I started training in February 2008 at the age of 30 under JD Shelley (North Dallas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) which at the time was still Alliance affiliated.  We are currently Novia Uniao affiliated with Robson Moura.  JD was the second American black belt under Romer "Jacare" Cavalcanti and in our area was one of the few great instructors for quite some time.  Of course the sport has grown a lot but he still remains as one of the top BJJ instructors in my opinion.  I have stayed with him since then, received my blue belt in the early fall of 2009.  From there I became an assistant instructor helping with kids and adult beginner classes.  I feel that teaching has helped to keep me sharp and honest.  I'm constantly looking for ways to better my Jiu-Jitsu not only for myself in competition inside and outside the gym but to be a better instructor.

I have a family, a full-time job, etc.  I do my best to maintain a good level of training and teaching on a weekly basis while keeping my family life in order.  I probably average about four training days per week plus whatever teaching that comes up.  I have been very consistent with training never taking more than 30 days off the mats with injuries.  I wouldn't call myself a tournament rat but I have done my fair share.  I compete when I can but probably average 2-3 competitions per year since I received my purple belt in December 2011.  I did far more comps as a white and blue belt.  I'm not a superstar...I'm just a regular guy that never quit and does the best that I can to seek new information to take my BJJ to the next level.  I've had my fair share of victories in comps and plenty of embarrassing moments to go along with it.

Fast forward to November 2013 and the day came.  We had a very large (planned) promotion ceremony at our gym.  No one really knew who was due for what so there was some element of surprise. When I got called up to the front for my promotion I honestly didn't have any real expectations.  I had been a purple for just shy of two years and only had a couple stripes on my belt.  Well, when JD pulled out a brown belt I was pretty elated.  Very exciting moment that doesn't come without some burden of pressure.  If you make it to blue belt then you know what I'm talking about.  Junior belts are always looking for an opportunity to kick your ass and show they are ready for that next level.  They say to take ego out of the equation when rolling or training but who wants to get embarrassed by a junior belt really?  This attitude is what keeps us on our toes and constantly trying to take our skills to the next level.

I've been very blessed to have some consistent training partners (my level through black belt) that started around the same time as me and are still here to this day constantly striving to be better.  I also am very fortunate to have a loving wife that is super supportive.  She's always been willing to travel with me to tournaments and let me train late at night to make sure I get a good level of training on a regular basis. Without her this would have been much more difficult.  
Cole, Lindsey, & Me
Me & Martin (my best training partner was promoted to purple)

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