Total Commitment

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Total Committment

As I said in my very first post, this space is a forum for me to use to keep everyone updated on everything that is going on with the academy as well as an exploration of my own personal journey in Jiu-jitsu.  This entry will serve as both.

It has been almost four years ago that this little Jiu-jitsu academy in Denver, NC got its start.  If I’m being honest, I was a little reluctant in the beginning to even pursue the idea.  I was a fairly new brown belt at the time, and was very focused on my own training.  When I was first approached about starting a Jiu-jitsu program at what was at the time a Tae Kwon Do academy, I rejected the idea.  I didn’t want to take time away from my own training to teach, and I had so many other things going on that I couldn’t commit much time to the program.  However, upon the request of Luis Togno (my instructor at the time), I reluctantly agreed to start an affiliate club on a part time basis.  I was teaching classes one night per week, which was all the time that I could commit to at the time.  After a chance meeting in a Wal-Mart parking lot, I became friends with Luke Amos, who was a Jiu-jitsu purple belt new to the area.  We began training together some, & eventually, he began to help teach at the academy & we began running Jiu-jitsu classes for adults twice a week.

A lot has changed since then.  My instructor tragically & unexpectedly passed away.  As painful as it was, it led me to begin training regularly with my new instructor Steve Hall & the Fight to Win team.  Changing teams wasn’t easy, but it has definitely led to major growth in my Jiu-jitsu.  The academy became a Fight to Win affiliate & slowly continued to grow. I saw the opportunity to expand the program and did so.  We added a kids program, and started to slowly add more classes.  I started to realize the vision of turning this small part time operation into a full time Jiu-jitsu academy.  In August, of 2013, I officially took over all of the business operations & became the sole owner.  Then, on December 9, 2013, I finally achieved the goal of obtaining my black belt in Jiu-jitsu under Royce Gracie & Steve Hall.  This was a major accomplishment for me personally and for the academy, as we became the first Jiu-jitsu academy in the Denver area with a black belt instructor at the helm.   My vision for the academy was always to start small & grow slowly.  As the team has grown, my passion for running the academy has grown along with it.  I have been very excited to see where it has come in just a few short years.

Now, we have reached another major milestone.  As I announced at our Spring Seminar this past weekend, we are moving to a new, bigger, & better location.  Work is being done now to get the new spot ready, & I am hoping that we will be moved in & running classes there by the beginning of June.  We will have more mat space so that we have room to grow as the team continues to expand.  There will also be some schedule changes coming up as well so stay tuned for that. I am very excited about the new place & all the possibilities that it holds for the future of the academy.

And now, for some more big news that will have a major impact on me personally as well as on the team. One of the things that I have learned in my years of training is that you can't do a technique halfway & expect it to work. In order to properly execute a takedown,  sweep, or submission, you have to go after it with 100% full commitment, and you must have confidence that it is going to succeed. If you hesitate because you don't believe in the move or are too worried about the consequences if it fails, you are almost guaranteed that it will.  I feel that the same is true with running the academy. In order to make it succeed, I have to commit to it 100% & believe in its success.  It is with this in mind that my family and I have made the decision that I will soon be stepping away from my full-time job as a law enforcement officer in order to teach Jiu-jitsu full-time. This is obviously a huge move for me personally, and while it is a little bit nerve-racking to make such a major change, it is more of a feeling of excitement than one of apprehension.  I believe in myself & my team, and I truly see a huge potential for the future of the academy.

My plan is to be running the Jiu-jitsu school on a full-time basis by the time we move into the new facility. This will mean big things for the school, including more opportunities to train as we will now be adding daytime classes to the schedule.

I'm sure that there will be some growing pains along the way, but I am very excited for the future.  I am completely committed to making this successful. I hope that all of my students & training partners are just as committed to continuing their growth and development in Jiu-jitsu. Together, we will all help to keep the team moving forward.

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