A Personal Journey in BJJ
My personal journey in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu began while looking for a martial art for my two children, hoping that they would follow in my footsteps and use the values, principles and discipline of a martial art in their every day lives. I began when I was 8 years old studying Judo at the American International School in the Philippines. It was a great way to build my confidence as we had just moved there as a family and I was in a strange land with no friends. Since that initial experience, I have gravitated to one form of the many arts available as a mechanism to relieve the stressing of everyday life, for exercise and for a sense of belonging. I currently hold a first Dan in Goju Karate (10 Years), and a shodan in Judo ( started when I was 6 years old ). Becoming a BJJ Gracie Barra Instructor will allow me to not only guide my own two children in their BJJ journey but also share the knowledge I have with others who are interested in a lifetime of learning.
This essay is written for those looking for a great art that will keep giving and that one can participate in well into their middle age and beyond. For those like me who will struggle with standing up martial arts and the impacts the rigors of practice will have on our joints and connective tissue and for those busy executives who like me need an avenue to play chess in real life, on the mat, working on not only flexibility, strength and technique but on how that applies to real life.
My personal experiences will give you an insight into my journey from finding the right academy, starting as a white belt, yes I started from the beginning as the sport is very different from any other martial art, it is hard to get credit for your past experiences. Starting BJJ will open your eyes not only to the practice of the art, but the Brazilian way of thinking, and their culture. It will introduce you to some of the written/unwritten rules and etiquette the history of the sport and hopefully help you separate myth from truth. I will discuss what really motivated me to start and how I developed the discipline to continue. Having put my hand up to become an instructor so I can help influence the development of the many young people in our school has certainly added another dimension to my journey in BJJ with Gracie Barra.
In life and business where movement drives advantage and where static positions no longer bring sustainability, BJJ mimics this in the practice of the art, allowing the practitioner to experience the real life fight or flight response, how adrenaline effects your movement and how technique will beat size and strength any day. Yes it is true, applying these principles to other aspects of your life will bring you even more success in all other aspects.
I will guide you through all the stages of your journey, from finding an academy, selecting the right club and instructor to your fist steps and sessions, guided by my own experiences. You will get a view of how to deal with injury; pacing yourself and seeking out those building blocks that will help you develop your own style in the art, and something many other martial arts frown upon.
You will learn how three basic principles and mastering them will open doors to a long and rich experience. the principles of movement, balance and leverage are not only important in the practice of the sport but in your everyday professional and private lives as well. I will elaborate on my insights to how i have benefited from learning these principles and then applying them to business and my personal life.
Getting Started and Finding the Right Academy
One would think that finding the right academy is not something you would spend a lot of time thinking about, but from my experience serious consideration should be given if you intend to make this sport a lifestyle choice for you and your children.
First, find the right location, the academy should be clos enough to home to enable you to train several times a week without the burden of travel preventing you. Like your Gym membership, there is benefits in joining a club that allows you to train in multiple locations and gather different experiences all under the same banner. Having a documented curriculum and standards for everything from cleanliness to working with children is really important as it ensures that the duty of care has been placed high on the priority list of operating a Gracie Barra School.
Second, Instructors and Coaches at the academy of your choice need to be trained, (you would naturally expect that, but don’t be surprised if you ask the question and get a blank look at some so called schools.). You can tell if the school is right for you by spending some time observing several classes, watch how people are taught, and the environment with student to student interaction.
By: Brian Pereira, Blue Belt,
Professor Marcio Lemos
Gracie Barra Hornsby