We are all in this together...
My first partner (we started with in a few weeks apart) at the Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu academy was a woman named Anna. We both came into jiu-jitsu hungry to learn. Once we got the taste for the sport, it made us desire more. We were hooked. And the addiction began.
Over the course of the next five years, Anna was my most consistent training partner. We progressed through so many levels together. We were both promoted to blue belts on the same day. In our long conversations, we would attempt to strategize together on on what areas we needed improvement. We were eager to discover techniques suitable for our size. She was my first gage.
By gage I mean some one whom acts as a way for you to accurately gage your technique against. Some one who is at that same level and weight. A realistic opponent in competition.
As a blue belt, one of my most influential partners was a 12-year-old boy named Sawyer. He was already a black belt in Japanese Jiu Jitsu and instantly excelled in Brazilian jiu- jitsu. He absorbed the lesson plans and techniques he was taught like a sponge. He dominated in competition and was a heavily decorated competitor. It was truly amazing to watch him in action. Kids in his division didn't even stand a chance.
His game was tight and in my opinion he was one of the most technical members of the academy at that time. Frankly, he had no other choice but to have solid technique since he could not possibly out muscle grown men. Yet, he regularly dominated despite his obvious short comings.
He taught me one of the most important lessons I've learned so far. The importance of all of the little details in Relson Gracie jiu-jitsu. How they all pieced together to work beautifully. He made me believe.
I've had a lot of training partners come and go for various reasons. I see them all as little pieces in my puzzle in progress. I've learned different lessons from each and every one of them. I look forward to being able to see the whole picture some day.
The partners, mentors, teammates and instructors I have today are amazingly talented and generous. I am very fortunate to be on this team and to be apart of this family. I may be the one on the podium who is awarded metals, but I also share my success with those who've trained with me.