Hey All, Ive been doing some Wrestling Blogs for all of my wrestling families at Lions Den and hopefully some families looking to get their child into the sport. Being a Martial Arts gym , I figured why not share some experiences Ive had coming up in the martial arts community as well. Im hoping to get some of my friends to read this and take the leap to try something that has improved my life as well as my families over the years. As an adult , I think the hardest part of trying something like this out is stepping thru the doors of a gym on that first day. So let me tell you about what went into me joining and trying this out and how things went for me.
I started Jiu Jitsu when I was 27 years old. I had 2 sons at the time and had actually put them into it so they started a few months before me. I put them into this as it had interested me as well. I was in the fitness industry and had been a personal trainer for years at the time. I was an athlete growing up, playing in many sports and once out of college, those days were gone. So what does a Jock do now? I got into boxing and did some Karate for fun. The UFC was starting to really gain some momentum back then and this little guy named Royce Gracie was dominating the sport. He was a skinny guy who was beating up on all these big guys. It was impressive and at the same time made me curious. I had my share of scuffles growing up , was in great shape and a personal trainer and had been bouncing at local bars.I thought I could handle myself pretty well, but after watching this skinny guy in the UFC do these things to larger opponents , I was curious. I had done things like Karate in the past and had friends who had gotten black belts in things like Karate and Tae Kwon Do. They spent years devoted to this stuff and to be honest, the stuff just didn't work. Ive seen some people with backgrounds in these arts have a false sense of confidence and things not turn out well for them when it was time to use the stuff. On top of that my kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coach was relentless in getting me to a class.
So I took the leap, I went to a class one night. It was an eye opener! A lot of people are fearful that your going to go in and get your butt kicked. Thats not how it works, when you start you go in and usually they have you go with another beginner and you learn some techniques. However when learning these techniques , you do realize how these things can be used as well as how the art can help you immobilize someone regardless of how strong they are. How you can distribute your weight to make a small man feel like he is 3 times his weight when he is on top of you. I realized how effective this art is and also just how much I didn't know about fighting , self defense and hand to hand combat. I was hooked! No punches thrown, no silly fancy kicks , just effective technique. It was incredible.
It was one of the best things that ever happened to me and over the course of the next year, it got me in the best shape of my life both physically and mentally. I had met some of my closest friends along my journey and formed bonds on the mat that cannot be replicated. After being a personal trainer for years , I witnessed and experienced how hard it was for most people to get in shape at the gym. It was tedious and I hated seeing so many people come in, step on a treadmill or elliptical for a month and see no results and quit. Its boring and most get tired of it quickly. The results I was seeing in the Jiu Jitsu gym were incredible. The guys and girls joining me on the mat each night were anywhere from 18 to 65 and they were getting in incredible shape. The best part was, they were enjoying it. We were all having fun, joking with each other, sharing stories from our days , learning some really cool techniques and again HAVING FUN! I fell in love with it. Sure, I had other aspirations , I wanted to get good, get my black belt someday , compete in MMA , but I loved all of it. Not only that, but I was sharing this with my children and learning along side of them. This in turn made it easy for me to help them learn along the way. Having the same hobby , we ending up sharing so many cool experiences as well. There really is nothing like it.
12 years later, a lot has changed in my life. My boys are grown with one in college and the other on his way. I now have a Martial Arts school of my own and continue to try to share the thing that greatly improved my life in so many ways. I love seeing the look on every new members face as they learn what I did on my first day 12 years ago. I love seeing the results my members are getting health wise. Upon opening , we had 3 members lose 35 lbs over the first few months. Ive seen members in their 40's find a new hobby that re invigurated them after many of years being stuck in the same routine. Ive seen large families who had been running kids all over to different sports, find 1 place where they could all be together and do something they enjoy ..... much like mine did. There is nothing like it.
12 years ago, we didn't have many places to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There was a place in Albany , Hudson , Saratoga and the place I had chosen in Latham. These days , you have many to choose from and rarely have to travel more than 20 minutes to find a place. I highly encourage anyone and everyone to give it a try. It doesn't matter if you have never done a sport , haven't been active in years or think you are too old or out of shape. You can do this , it will open your eyes to all you can achieve and you will love all that comes with it. The knowledge , the health benefits , the friends you will gain from it..... Give it a shot.