Rob speaks about the transformation that he’s undergone in the past fourteen months while doing BJJ.
I am writing this letter on the occasion of leaving Denver to receive my commission in the Army, and I wanted to share some thoughts with you before I get on the plane in a few hours.
As you know, I started studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu about fourteen months ago, and I did so with somewhat unclear intentions. I often drove by the academy, and had an occasional inclination to see what this BJJ thing was all about. It was only by meeting Joaquin “Topo” Romero that I saw how enthusiastic an individual can be about BJJ, and at his urging I came in for an intro class; I joined that night.
I went through some big changes right away, but some came much more slowly. I walked in the door that first night 185 pounds, but after about six months I couldn’t seem to eat enough to make the scale say 170 (more like 165, really). My mental transformation was even more evident than the physical one. I started BJJ as stiff as a board, and everything, including the warm up, was a fight against my surroundings. I always considered myself reasonably fit, but BJJ was a killer. I would come home sore and stiff, covered in small bruises, and I wondered why I was getting so beat up. Nobody was doing to me, though (well, sometimes they were); I was beating myself up most of the time. A senior student pulled me aside after class around my third month and told me that I needed to relax. I asked if he had any technique advice, and he repeated that I should simply relax. This one word has changed my game more than anything else.
This urge to relax has crept into the rest of my life, also. I have been fighting my external environment for as long as I can remember, but through BJJ I have learned that “sometimes I have to be rock, but sometimes I have to be water.” This simple lesson, repeated nightly on the mats, has helped me in every facet of my life, and I have the Easton BJJ family to thank for it.
Although I am leaving the school, the school is not leaving me, and I look forward to taking the lessons I’ve learned and applying them to both my life and my game.
Thanks to you, your coaches, and my fellow students for all of the guidance,