How Long Have I Been Training?
I started training in February of 2016 at Gracie Barra in Kirkland, WA (GBK). With GBK I earned my first three stripes on my White Belt, competed in my first BJJ competition, and gained another family of friends. In August, I moved down to Orlando, FL and took a 4 month hiatus. In all honesty, I was lazy and wanted to get my body acclimated to the 3 hour difference. I gain a lot of weight from drinking and not eating right. My conditioning suffered from picking up cigarettes again. And I just fell into a downward spiral away from the fitness life.
One night in December, after waking up from a nap, I got myself out of bed and drove to Gracie Barra Oviedo (GBO) and introduced myself to the Professor. I came in after the advanced class so I had a chance to get to know the Professor a little bit and just to talk story.
I came in the next night to meet the head Professor, Todd Broadway, and take the MMA Class. It was a different world for me, worrying about elbows, knees, and kicks. I boxed for a little bit in college, but nothing serious. Professor Todd noticed the way I moved and started to focus on giving me MMA pointers and scenarios. I felt welcomed.
3 months later, I earned my 4th stripe and Professor Steven informed me that he was putting me on the Green Belt Test. I was shocked, relieved, nervous, and honored all at once. I had never tested for a belt. I suffer from test anxiety. And I wanted my Blue Belt. We didn’t have Green Belts or belt tests back home, but I trust the system and the professors. The journey never ends so why rush?
The Belt Test
From showing up right on time to being called out after the first demonstration, I’m glad I was able to earn my Green Belt. My buddy and testing partner, who agreed that the loser of a 10 minute grappling session and a sudden death takedown match would drive, picks me up 10 minutes late and slightly hungover. His gi also was recently washed and not dry so he smelt like a wet dog and luckily we were blessed in a spot right in front of the academy.
The Green Belt Test consisted of a list of moves that we are supposed to be able to demonstrate at a basic level of understanding. Moves like a forward shoulder roll, hook sweep, self defense from certain situations, and takedowns. The list was split in half by both partners and the Professor in charge would call out the move to be demonstrated and what number was going to execute said move. As nervous as I felt before the test, all the butterflies left after my first forward shoulder roll.
Before my forward shoulder roll, my testing partner made me laugh by whispering, “don’t mess up the forward shoulder roll now”. After all the white belts demonstrated their forward shoulder roll, Professor Lawrence called me out for being only one that smiled and seemed like I was enjoying myself. I was. During the backward shoulder roll, a number of students started to smile when Professor Lawrence would yell out, “Smile! Look like you’re having fun!”
Once we got into the takedowns, escapes, self defense scenarios, sweeps and submissions, Professor Lawrence seemed to not pay attention to us. I want to believe he felt confident in our first couple of demonstrations that we knew how to move and we’re the top of the curve. Jesse that we were smiling and were technical and smooth with our movements. We weren’t asked to demonstrate a move over due to lack of understanding or asked to wait to be observed.
Overall, the Green Belt Test was simple and was less nerve racking than I prepared for. It’s better to be more prepared than not, but Professor Steven and other higher belts were making me nervous with their jokes, but were also reassuring on how the test was going to be ran.
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Thank you for checking out my blog and have a great day! For those of you that train, Oss!
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