Reflection, Pride and The Team
I probably mention the word Team in conversation with my students, family and friends about one hundred times a day. Many people hear the word and pass it by. They see a team as a group of people participating in a competition on the same field, in the same game, at the same time, and with one goal of winning. How can a martial art, like Jiu Jitsu, where individuals compete with one other person from an opposing team, represent their team as a whole?
That concept, in and of itself, is an art.
When I see my students teaching one another on the mats every day, celebrating each other’s advancements and encouraging each other when they need support, the pride I feel is immeasurable. They not only see their own success in the success of their teammates, but bond on a level that only they understand.
That bond, that pride, and that accomplishment, is exactly what I was feeling the day of the 2017 GOOD Fight Championship.
Each one of the competitors on the Renzo Gracie NH Team stepped onto the mat, not as individuals, but with the entire Team behind them, cheering them on, lifting them up, and celebrating their bravery for stepping onto the mat for competition. Some teammates placed in their division, others did not. But all of them represented the academy with the highest level of honor and pride. The growth I have witnessed in all of their techniques, the confidence and strength that has grown inside of them through the gentle art, and most of all, the love and affection that each teammate shows one another every day, makes my heart swell with joy.
At the GOOD Fight Championship, Renzo Gracie NH took home the winning trophies in both the kids and adult category. Number One, in both categories!
As a Professor who has loved the art of Jiu Jitsu for the past twenty-four years, I had to take a moment and reflect on the amazing people, amazing Team, amazing accomplishment, that has been brought to life.
It’s humbling, really, to think that nineteen years ago I was stepping onto the mat at my first competition under Master Renzo Gracie. I remember standing there, looking around at the other competitors, nervous of course, and having a vision that one day I would own my own academy and create a Team of Jiu Jitsu students who would carry on the lineage of the great Jiu Jitsu Masters that I was fortunate enough to learn from. I envisioned myself teaching at the academy and coaching their competitions, understanding all too well what they were feeling the first time they competed, the second time, the fourth time.
That vision became a reality while I watched my students compete at the GOOD Fight Championship. They may have walked onto the mat by themselves, but they had the whole Team behind them. For that, I am both proud and grateful.