If you travel by bus in Rio de Janeiro you’ve noticed one of the many announcements displayed on the side of busses, buildings and billboards. During commute your eyes wander and you catch a glimpse of the hundreds of signs and billboards. You’re not looking for anything in particular, but then one makes you linger on a bit longer. Just enough to pull out your phone and write down the number/e-mail you’ve just read.
For Adjal such a sign proved to be life-changing. The 16-yearold boy commuted on his way to physiotherapy when a sign, no different than the rest, caught his attention. It read: “Carlos Augusto Jiu-Jitsu ” and underneath he could see a bunch of people dressed alike through the window.
Passing by every day on his way, his interest began to grow and one day he got off the bus and walked through the door of the school. “I was greeted by Carlos Augusto in person . He explained everything to me – training times, tuition and the way jiu-jitsu works. I left the gym thinking to myself I would return to learn.”
Curious and determined, the current brown belt from GB Rio Matriz came home and told his parents what he planned on doing. The next day his mother visited the school and enrolled her son. He didn’t even have to wait a day!
His will to train was so strong that he trained on his very first day in a pair of sweatpants and an old shirt, which later turned into a kimono, as he recalls, “I bought the kimono and began training every day. Besides making me more confident and sure of my physical and mental abilities, I became more calm and collected.”
He found himself in a new environment (the same as the guys in the window), and now he was among those who could previously only see from afar, as he recalls, “At that time I met wonderful people who are still part of my life today. When I started, the Professor Joelson ” Joe ” (currently an instructor at GB Mother River) was a purple belt and trained in the evening. Mauro Santos, the ” Sapão ” was a brown belt and gave classes in the morning. Jefferson Moura , Lucio Rodrigues ” Lagarto ” Villem Coelho and many others were there with me ” he recalled .
Everything seemed perfect until he graduated from high school and he didn’t get into university immediately. Unsure of what course to take in life, Adjal found himself taking on a job to make ends meet and as a result his Jiu-Jitsu training suffered. With no time to train during the day, he had to resort to two evening classes per week.
24 hours a day seemed insufficient to wear the kimono and soon Adjal realized that while he was still a purple most of his friends had already earned the much-awaited black belt, “I stopped training regularly. I started attending marketing college at night and worked during the day. I could not find time to study, train and work . Sometimes I trained during vacation and weekends.” says Adjal.
Time passed and he stopped training altogether as well as quit college. The pace of work was overwhelming and it began to affect his health as he recalls , “I started getting fat and lazy and found more and more excuses not to train.” Aware that his lifestyle was further leading him away from the sport, Adjal tried to return once more in 2007. After three months a knee injury permanently took him out of jiu-jitsu .
Without a proper outlet, work problems began to interfere with the personal life. Waking up early and going to bed late had become something normal for Adjal. After 20+ working weeks and awful dieting regime he became obese. As he himself said , “It is very easy to point and laugh, but it is very difficult and shameful to admit you are obese.”
The disease landed him in hospital in 2011 with blood pressure of 23/18. He spent 4 days in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and 8 more days for observation. Adjal was suffering from heart failure. “Due to the weight gain, my heart was not pumping enough blood and oxygen throughout my body. For the first time my life I was afraid I was going to die and I began to worry about my health. There were numerous times I tried to lose weight through a diet after consulting with a nutritionist and a cardiologist “. One year after admission and a lot of tests, a cardiologist informed him he was only alive and well because of the medications that he took to control his pressure.
Dependence on medication was what Adjal feared the most and the only alternative to lose weight was bariatric surgery – a procedure performed on obese patients to reduce the volume of the stomach, “I was scared and depressed, because as most obese people I saw no way to beat my condition. But I went in search of help.” The first consultation before the surgery was reassuring. They guaranteed I could have a normal life again and finally be able to return to jiu – jitsu.
On January 10, 2013, he underwent surgery and it was a success. The next day he began rehabilitation with a renewed hope that he would be able to train again. At the end of July Adjal called the friend and former training partner Joe, bought a kimono and attended a workout. He spent a few days training in different places until settling in the Gracie Barra Rio Matriz under the leadership of Jefferson Moura, “I started training 3 times a week and work out 5 times! At the end of 2013 Jefferson promoted me to a brown belt and recently I have started competing again. I got my health back, made new friends and a new family,” says the brown belt .
With an enviable disposition and strong presence in practice , in this month of February Adjal won two bronze medals at the state competitions in Rio.
The story of Adjal repeats thousands of times around the world. Many people overlook their health and fall into a dangerous pattern of excessive work and no fitness regime. But you need to remember that the human body is like a machine and if you fail to maintain its parts, eventually it is start slowing down until it gives up completely. Even if you’ve fallen in a bad pattern, however, there is still hope! Because for every mistake there is a lesson in life. There is always another chance. Thanks to stories like this , we can find the strength to look forward for ours.