The Summer of BJJ Experiences
Unlike many of my peers in university, I spent my summer chasing not internships, but belt stripes and competition medals. You see, I had started doing BJJ about 10 months prior, and fell madly in love with the sport. Before I knew it, I was training thrice a week and craving more. While I only had experience doing no-gi, I was curious to explore BJJ in the gi. This took me to Trifecta, which stood out for its beginner-friendly and welcoming environment.
One of the things I really appreciate about BJJ as a martial art is how it uses positioning and leverage to make it possible for someone to beat a bigger opponent. Professor Marcelo's technical teaching impressed me on my first lesson; his deep attention to small details made every technique seem like magic. If you angle your knee just the right way, drop your pressure at the right spot, and hold the right grips, your opponent's De La Riva guard just falls apart. Learning from Prof Marcelo means getting your mind blown weekly -- his techniques focus on the finer points of jiu-jitsu with such effective outcomes, leaving you thinking, "Wow, why didn’t I think of doing it that way?!"
At Trifecta, I had the opportunity to spar with not just training partners at the same skill level, but with higher-level belts too. While everyone had their unique styles of grappling, one thing that stayed constant was the openness and sincere desire to help each other improve their game. Although I was very new to the club, when I expressed a desire to compete, I was encouraged to sign up for an upcoming competition. I wanted to challenge myself and see what I could accomplish, and hopefully get the medals to show for it. Training for the competition was a fantastic experience; I got to know many people at the gym better, and learnt so much more.
As a stripe-less white belt, I didn't dare to expect anything of my performance, but I was gaining confidence that I wouldn't be absolutely humiliated during my first fight. The night before the competition, Prof Marcelo gave us words of encouragement. Rather than telling us to go hard and win medals for the club's glory, he told us that we shouldn't treat our competition experience any different from trainings. At the end of the day, the 5 minutes on the mats are just a tiny fraction of the hours of training that we've been through, and will continue to be like that as we move along. It's all about enjoying the process. With this mindset going into competition, I was able to give it my best shot and leave with no regrets, despite losing my fight. I was proud of the effort I had put in, and I could really see how much I had improved in the span of two short months.
As summer comes to an end and my time at Trifecta draws to a close, I'm grateful that I have had the chance to train with and learn from this group of friendly, driven and skilled grapplers. I leave with a medal count of 2, but it isn't these pieces of metal that I'll be taking with me to the next gym I join. The clever techniques, the exhilaration of a roll, the friendships forged with a slap and bump -- these are the things that made me fall in love with BJJ, and that I've found at Trifecta. For the rest of my BJJ life, even as I seek after the gold medal, I'll always remember to enjoy each moment of the long winding way. #EnjoytheProcess