Holiday Closure: All Easton Schools Closed Dec.14 & morning classes cancelled Dec.15

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October 24, 2023

Easton Fall 2023 Belt Promotion: Appreciating Each Step Of The Way

Tatyana Grechina

Easton Fall 2023 Belt Promotion: Appreciating Each Step Of The Way

Twice a year, all of Easton gets together to celebrate our collective growth and achievement with our All-Easton BJJ Belt Promotion. Our Fall 2023 Belt Promotion Ceremony took place at Easton Denver on September 9th and kicked off with its traditional Randori. Roughly 90 people got promoted and plenty more showed up to roll! 

Amal told us about the time he got to train with a 92-year-old Master Helio Gracie in Brazil (the Gracie brother who pivotally influenced Jiu Jitsu as a ground-based grappling sport due to his own size and strength!), many a tear was shed, and everybody got to sweat it out.

These moments always bring a time of reflection, celebration, and pride in our martial arts family. The students earning new belts have stuck to their goals despite whatever life throws at them, and they’ve shown us all what can be done by taking baby steps every day. 

Our Belt Promotion Ceremonies also bring a time of gratitude for the community and everyone who has been a part of your martial arts journey. Many people graduating alongside you have also spent time in the trenches with you, seen you at your worst and at your very best.

“I think the real thing about Jiu Jitsu,” says Professor Mark Jackson from Centennial, “is that you build these great friendships. I used to think you build the best friendships when you’re a kid, but I no longer believe that.”

Among the 10 students receiving their black belts stood Denver comedian, actor and musician, Ben Roy.

“I do want to say that, when I first started,” said Professor Ben, gesturing to the other newly minted Black Belts behind him, “I was jealous of everybody up here. But now, I’m totally jealous of the kids.”

Just as the journey becomes the destination, it sometimes takes getting to that next level to appreciate the places you’ve passed through. 

[Team Easton Takes On Kids PANS 2023 With Flying Colors]

Ten new blackbelt, with Eliot Marshall, Amal Easton and Alex Huddleston standing behind them. Image: Luma Murib.

Most people can commit to something daily, but committing to something that not only challenges you physically but also pushes you mentally becomes a lot less appealing than something easier like a glass of wine or a journaling habit.

BJJ teaches us how to defend ourselves, but it also gives us more – it teaches us that if we commit to something day by day and keep showing up, we can and will reach our goals. And even more importantly – it gives us a community that becomes a second family to many of us as we share goals, challenge each other and build each other up.

Sticking with something as mentally and physically challenging as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a different effect on everyone, but in the end it always requires the same thing: just doing it.

[Amal Easton: A Seed That Sprouted A Community]

Amal Easton congratulating a lineup of new Blue Belts. Image: Luma Murib

Success looks different on everyone. It also proudly serves as one place in life where we can confidently say it’s okay to keep moving the goal post.

All of the students who earned a new belt on September 9th, and in each Belt Promotion Ceremony, have wanted to quit, and definitely have gotten crushed, thrown, triangled or submitted. Failing along the way isn’t actually a failure – failure means growth. If you show up to class and get submitted, you still won because you’re training instead of sitting on the coach.

Along the journey, you will also encounter obstacles outside of your control like injuries, adversities and life changes that can create setbacks and make you question your progress.

“Over so many years, there’s a lot of injuries,” says Professor Bob Yeager from Arvada, during his speech. “There were times I thought I was going to have to stop. The thing about Jiu Jitsu for me is it just brings peace to my soul.”

If we stay clear on our priorities, these obstacles can serve as valuable lessons that make us stronger and fuel our determination. 

Professor Alex Huddleston presents his wife, Professor Beth Huddleston, with her black belt. Image: Luma Murib.

That is the magic of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – the resilience it builds in us as we train. We’re forced everyday to get over our fears, doubts and insecurities by leaving our egos at the door, taking up new space, and stepping out of our comfort zone.

Congratulations to everyone who leveled up! Remember, this is only the beginning. Promotions don’t mean “it’s time to quit, we made it” – it’s all about the journey; see you on the mats.

If you didn’t get promoted this time, check out The Path To Promotion for tips on making steady and consistent progress, and deliberately seek feedback to see where you can improve further.

[A Word About Promotions In A World Of Expectations]




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