I really don’t know where to start this blog, so many things come to mind, but here it goes. The week I spent in the USA Maine camp has been one of the most eventful weeks of my travels. After being able to relax for the two weeks between camps, my body felt much better and it was ready for the mats. I however realized on the first day attending the classes that my head still had a loads of unprocessed information and techniques. I tried to pay attention but I caught myself drifting away thinking about similar techniques that I’ve seen or other unrelated topics. With that in mind I decided to only take 1 or 2 classes per day but focus on the open mats, trying to roll with as many different people as I could. The week went on and I started to see that my Frankenstein techniques were falling together. Having my body in good condition I was able to perform better then in the St. Barths camp and my movement and skills started to get smoother and more goal oriented.
I finally felt how this trip had pushed my BJJ further down the road. Saturday rolled around and my class was scheduled at 3 pm. A certain familiar stress feeling started to creep up at me. It was the same kind of stress that I used to feel when I was competing in my earlier days. I had coached before at my local Judo club, I had even stepped in a few times to coach at my old MMA gym. This however was different. I was in a group of world class coaches with years of experience. To be honest the thought often crossed my mind that I did not belong. Like I’ve said before, I strive at pushing myself past my comfort zone and forcing myself to grow. That experience did certainly push my limits but I’m happy I did. The class went on with only a few minor hiccups on my part, but overall I’m happy with how it went and I know it will get better and easier with experience. That being said to all the people who attended my class and those who came to me after it with kind words, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me your time and showing what I have to offer interest.
While still recovering from my adrenaline dump we went for the last open mat and lined up for the last photo shoot. Christian stepped up and had a small speech about a very persistent white belt named Evan Law. He had trained for 7 years and still had his white belt. Christian brought out a blue belt and told him to step up. I am truly happy for him, he deserved that and even more. From what I heard it was long overdue. Then it happened. Christian started another speech about an person who sounded familiar. When he mention that this person lived in the middle of the “freaking” Atlantic I realized he was talking about me. I had to focus all my strength to hold myself together and keep my composure. According to witnesses my face became bright red as a stoplight. He grabbed an purple belt and told me to step up. He slapped me with it and that was it, I was officially an purple belt. While trying to process all that happened I see Nelson running towards me, thinking he was about to give me a hug I raised my hands. He grabs my hands and throws me head over toes. I was too happy to care, I think he just wanted to get payback after I threw him at my class.
Photo Credit: Shawna Rodgers
With all that behind me, I can’t imagine spending the last days of my trip with better people. Everyone I met, new and old friends, you are what made this week great. Being able to share it with you guys was my best reward. So to all the people from the camp, I’ll see you down the road.
Photo credit: Shawna Rodgers
Photo credit: Shawna Rodgers