5/2/13

What are you waiting for?

As popular as are the UFC and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there are still a ton of people out there who have little to no real concept of what BJJ is all about. It can be confusing to the uninitiated. Maybe people who train in Jiu-Jitsu are just a bunch of thugs, ready to steal your lunch money.  Maybe we're just a bunch of sweaty jocks, ready to pounce on the new guy when he walks through the door. For the record, this couldn't be further from the truth. The people with whom I've trained Jiu-Jitsu are some of the nicest, well mannered and respectful folks I have ever met, inside and outside the school. The only crassness, criticism and down right rudeness I ever encountered at my first school came from other people outside of my class, mostly from Karate practitioners. Don't take Karate. They will try to beat you up and steal your lunch money. And a couple people from Judo. Stay away from them too. The Kobudo practitioners...top shelf. Never heard a bad word from them, or the Yoga people. The point being, It's not about the discipline. It's about the individual people.

About twelve years ago, I had no idea about any of this Jiu-Jitsu stuff. A friend of mine was into the UFC and he was telling me about Royce Gracie and his brother, Rickson, and how amazing they were. My friend gave me two DVDs to watch. The first was, "The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr," a documentary about the MMA career and personal life of Mark Kerr.  The second was, "Choke," a documentary about Rickson Gracie and other fighters who were fighting in Tokyo's Vale Tudo 1995.

After watching those two videos, I was hooked! I started searching around town for a school that was teaching this Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but none were. There wasn't even anything in Omaha at the time. In the meantime, I stumbled into a martial arts school where I began taking Aikido.  This was definitely not what I was looking for. I then started taking classes in Daitoryu Aikijujitsu. Still, this was not BJJ, but I was learning some awesome wrist locks and other joint locks.

Then one day I was at the dojo and I saw this half sheet of paper taped to the wall near the locker room. It said, "Jiu-Jitsu class, Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00 PM." I thought to myself, could this be what I was looking for? Was it really here, right under my nose this whole time?

It was what I was looking for. Ido Pariente had established a solid training program that mirrored the BJJ community at large. By the time I began training in Jiu-Jitsu, Ido had returned to Israel. He is now a 2nd degree BJJ black belt under Patrick Bittan, and owns seven academies in Israel called MMA Israel. However, his students carried on the traditions that he had established. The format of the class, the techniques that were taught, the drills we performed, all could be seen in any BJJ school around the world.

I struggled for years to learn Jiu-Jitsu, attending bad class times, showing up to find a locked door, holding class as a white belt because an instructor didn't show up. But, I stuck with it.

For me, the opening of Lincoln Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Center is a dream come true. To have something like this at your doorstep and not take advantage of it is just unthinkable. For the majority of us who have struggled for years to make the best of a less than desirable situation, we can fully appreciate what a BJJ school like this means to us, the community and to the region.

4 comments:

Narda said...

LOL! @ kobudo 'top shelf' comment. I'll take the compliment...even if it's only by association. ;)

I enjoy your posts.

Gina said...

I don't often beat people up and steal their lunch money, but when I do, it's because I train karate.

Conan said...

@Narda: Thank you! All kidding aside, I did try to steal Eric's lunch money once, but couldn't get with five feet of him.

khaddix said...

Eric's going to be a double threat with Karate and Judo!