At the time of writing I will have been training in the martial arts for 14 years. It started out with a group of friends getting together in a garage on the island of Oahu, in a small but lively town called Kaaawa. Saturdays turned into weekends, weekends turned into several times a week.
It would be pointless of me to list down the different styles I’ve trained in because I have no official rank in any of them. While official ranking does not equal skill or ability or knowledge for that matter, it is a convenient way of establishing status.
Four years after I started my journey in the martial arts, I found myself wanting to step out on my own, away from my circle of friends, and learn a martial art separate from what they were teaching me. That marked the beginning of my training under Relson Gracie, and I received my first degree blue belt from him.
Eventually, I found myself wanting to step out of my comfort zone, yet again, and would say goodbye to my home in Hawaii for a new adventure, a life in Japan on the JET Programme. My adventure continues onto this day with no sign of stopping.
Since I’ve been here in Japan I’ve done Judo, Kyokushin Karate, Shooto, and submission grappling. My love for Jiu-jitsu would bring me to find my current place of martial joy, Paraestra Hakata, where I train under Kenshi Tomari, a Leo Vieira and Yuki Nakai black belt.
Last year, I injured my knee three times and had re-constructive ACL surgery. At the time of writing it has been over one year since my surgery and it is safe to say I have had no training in any martial art since then.
The impact of my injuries and surgery didn’t end there. I also wrote of Murasaki BJJ, a blog I’m proud of having written, which kept track of my training in Japan and other martial goodies. It’s disappointing to say I haven’t kept up with it. One can write only so much about recovering from surgery especially when all one wants to do is train. Rather than pick up where I left off it felt better to retire that blog seeing as it was time to move on.
The months following my surgery was hard. It was physically demanding; I couldn’t drive so I had to walk everywhere, and ride crowded buses and jam packed trains to work. Imagine having to commute for weeks after surgery, up and down stairs, fight through rush hour traffic on one good leg. My patience was tested on a daily basis.
Since then I did a lot of reflection and contemplated the direction in my life or lack there of. I wasn’t doing the things I identified so strongly with for a several years and it left me feeling empty. Something had to give. I mean, my life didn’t completely revolve around my blog and my training, did it?
I’m not sure what exactly happened, but somewhere along the lines of doubting me and doing my rehab, slowly getting back into shape, my attitude changed. I read and studied more. I took a “no excuses” approach to everything. I avoided or spent as very little time as possible with anything, or anyone, negative. I made sure to make things fun and to take it easy, fun mostly, because if it’s not fun why bother.
I wasn’t training and I wasn’t writing, but I was working on improving, seeking to be the best version of myself. Believe it or not, I’m walking around with a competition mindset. I’m more confident and self-assured even though I’m not doing Jiu-jitsu. Not yet anyway.
I changed my approach to Jiu-jitsu. It doesn’t define my life; to say so would mean my world revolves around it, that my life would be meaningless without it. Nah.
My name is Patrick. I am a Jiu-jitsu Practitioner and Jiu-jitsu enriches my life. This is the first of many.