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“Long and hard is the road that out of hell leads to light.”-Milton

For the last 8 months, I have been undergoing such a challenging year. The path to my brown belt was hard enough and now I am finding that from brown to black, my JiuJitsu journey hasn’t gotten easier. My JiuJitsu journey hasn’t necessarily gotten harder either, it’s just a lot different. It’s as hard as it has ever been, but the changes transcend everything I’ve experienced thus far in previous ranks.

Everyday I tie my belt around my waist, I’m reminded of what I’ve put in to get where I am at. I am reminded of everything that I have lost and everything that I’ve gained. I am reminded of the life I gave up in pursuit of my dreams in order to fulfill my purpose and reach a pinnacle of self-actualization.

The road from brown to black has been different. It is a spiritual road for me. Physically, my body has undergone changes. My brown belt life thus far has seen me eat better, sleep better and live better. I am learning how to take the stick out of my ass and enjoy life a little more, spending more time with friends and loved ones.

On the mats, I am faster, more cunning and more ruthless than I have ever been. I am learning how to use my body more effectively and efficiently than ever before and I have really honed in the things that make me unique. My game is evident and it shines brightly when I train.

My instruction has become more passionate. I sweat with my students. I bleed with my students. I share my soul with my students. There are times I sit after the lights are out in order to reflect on my day in hopes that I’ll have enough energy for the drive home since I gave my classes my all. My body is worn. My mind is blank. My spirit is at peace until it’s time to go back to the real world.

Spiritually, the changes I’ve undergone in my personal life have taught me the true value of patience and persistence. I tie my belt everyday with a heavy heart knowing that the situations I face are the consequence of the life I chose. I soldier forth. I continue to put one foot in front of the next and I continue to get back up every single time I am knocked down. These days, it seems I have been spending a lot of time on the ground but I never tire of standing back up and moving forward.

My journey from brown belt to black belt has seen such an immense transformation in my life. In the same year, I lost my mentor and the woman I loved; the two people that were supposed to be there for me through thick and thin. I have been left to navigate my way through the world with the help of some really amazing people I am very fortunate to call my friends and family. I would be alone if it weren’t for the great men and women that have nudged me forward in my time of need.

Since receiving my brown belt, I have been thrown into a world where I am completely lost. I know nothing else but to show up on the mats every single day, tie my belt around my waist and put in the work. Despite all that’s happened this year, JiuJitsu has been non-negotiable. I modify my training for injuries. I go lighter on days my body is wrecked and if I’ve got nothing left in the tank, I push for just one more round.

This is non-negotiable because there are people that are counting on me to succeed.

To everyone that has supported me endeavor since day one and to everyone else that has shown support along the way, you have no idea how much you have meant to me. I owe my past, present and future successes to you and will continue to fight the good fight until there is no fight left. I know I have quite a ways to go, but I’ll make it eventually.

I will make it, one way or another, and I will be standing tall, with my dignity and integrity intact, on my own two feet the day it comes.

“Once we turn pro, we’re like sharks who have tasted blood, or renunciants who have glimpsed the face of God. For us, there is no finish line. No bell ends the bout. Life is the pursuit. Life is the hunt. When our hearts burst… then we’ll go out, and no sooner.” -Steven Pressfield

As always, thank you so much for reading. This year has been trying in many respects, but I continue onward and upward.

If you have similar experiences or if you’ve enjoyed reading this, please comment below. I want to hear from you since your experiences are important.

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