Finding in the unknown the reason for a new direction in life is somewhat risky. In the mats around the world, it is not very difficult to know people who have literally fallen in love with the gentle art. It is not only a passion, which has often its beginning based on an aesthetic matter. This is a sport that has the power to penetrate the hearts of the people and give them a new life. A new direction.
It is in these new ways that the most unlikely changes happen, because often we do not see what is just in front of us, and to learn how to see them we need to distance ourselves a bit and only then will we find them.
It was this way that Helen Arruda chose for her life what she never thought of doing before: jiu-jitsu. In 2012, after graduating with a degree in Portuguese and English Languages, Helen traveled to the United States to do post graduation studies. After a few months on Uncle Sam’s land, on her way to the university, she decided to stop and sign up in that gym that she passed every day. Initially, she joined the Muay Thai classes and, after much insistence of friends, Helen decided to take a trial class of what, at that point, was a strange fight, “I did the trial class and from that day on I never stopped. A few days later I met teacher Draculino, which also has a school in Houston, Texas, the state where I lived,” told this girl from the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
But in this life, not everything is perfect. After meeting Draculino – one of the great names of gentle art in Brazil, knowing that he had a GB school in the same place where she lived was, momentarily, great news. However, Houston is a US city 1625.22 kilometers long and to get the school, Helen would need to go 110 km – just in one way, totaling “only” 220 km (about 138 miles) as part of her routine in order to take classes with that black belt. What would you do if you were her? Stop training or would seek elsewhere? For Helen there was no decision other than becoming a student from GB Houston, “I liked him so much and the learning environment that he provides in his GB unity, so I decided to drive those 220km around 4/5 times a week . Never less than that, but many times more than that!”
The car speedometer numbers would never approach the immeasurable value of the pleasure provided to Helen by the mats. Friends and a second family, her masters program at the university had been left a bit behind. That unknown sport became what would make Helen make her future choices for life, as she herself said, “I realized that the Jiu Jitsu was what I wanted for me, compete and teach would be my goals from that moment on.” After 2 years and 3 months on US soil, Helen Arruda returned to Brazil and went straight to Florianopolis, “In the same week I returned, I met Professor Saldanha, Master Carlinhos and the GB ‘Floripa’. I was a bit nervous and I introduced myself. I said I was a student of Draculino and had just returned from Texas, now in Florianopolis and intending to stay. “
Just after hearing Helen words, the instincts inherited from his father spoke louder within Master Carlos Gracie Jr, “He said he felt that I was the right person at the right time and at the right place, and that, of course, had been the fate. Can you imagine hearing this from your master?” recalled the blue belt. The Master’s affection for the new jiu-jitsu lover was reflected in the support and advice offered, which helped Helen to improve her life in all aspects.
Today, Helen is part of the administrative body of the GB Floripa, besides helping in key classes and supporting the girls students on the mat. From the Language Arts school to administration. From a master’s degree foreign trip to the sport that would change her life. Here is a story that well illustrates the power of the gentle art in our lives.