I also wanted to be athletic. I missed that side of life from my youth very much and I could, frankly, do better.
The thing is I didn’t know what to do to be athletic. Nothing I tried stuck for longer than a few months. That meant I wasn’t able get back to being athletic. I wanted to feel young and in shape again and look good!
To make things worse, I felt terrible because I felt like a quitter all the time. I felt even worse about the situation because I was unhappy with my results. I felt like I had wasted years of my life that I could not get back.
The problem was that I was blaming external factors and I knew that wasn't right. Which meant I was a person that had lots of excuses - I was lying to myself and had been for quite a while.
Then, as if by chance, something amazing happened...
I signed up at a jiu jitsu gym, because it was near my house frankly, and found REAL reasons to get in better shape!
It slowly became clear to me how to improve my fitness and health in a manageable way and in a structured environment. I saw I would never backslide or "quit" again, because the results were tangible and measured by objective observers (my coaches). I was being held accountable by people who cared, not an app, not a workout program I read, and not even myself. Seeing my own progress in something and having people say "You're actually doing a pretty good job." meant the world to me, and still does.
I also learned that fitness programs that work, always have a bigger driver than vanity or looks. I could always compete with myself (to improve technique, to not get so tired, to just get better at warmups!), fulfilling the need to measure my own success.
As a result I stopped worrying about what I looked like and even my "success" against teammates when I trained.
And when I did that, I fell in love with jiu jitsu.
Suddenly, I was training every day that I could, and doing so at a pace I could manage.
That’s how I realized the secret to getting in shape without going to a traditional gym. I was having to work hard at the gym every day just to keep up (and escape, lots of escapes) and was getting in shape not out of vanity, but out of necessity.
My plan was to start teaching everyone else in the gym how to train jiu jitsu for their own benefit too.
So I started teaching as soon as I could, assisting during class as soon as I got my blue belt.. But I didn’t stop there.
I started running two beginner classes every week on my own soon after that.
Then, I took a much more prominent role and started assisting for over 10 hours a week at my instructor's new gym.
But there was still a problem...
I didn't have anywhere near the influence I wanted to have on all the new students I was meeting. Yes, I could say certain things and be encouraging to kids and new adults. Yes, I could train a certain way to try and lead by example. But no one wants to take advice from a blue belt. That is the hard truth. I don't have the experience necessary in the sport to really make waves.
I ended up getting so frustrated that I decided to find some people who were already making the kind of waves I like to ride, and get their message across to as many people as I could. I needed the right kind of jiu jitsu minds to help me.
I chose to call it “Zen Jiu Jitsu Events”.
I thought if I could create something that would make it possible to train with instructors and practitioners that think and feel the same way I do, in an amazing environment, I’d be really happy.
After many many phone calls and emails, making a website for the first time, testing different formats, working into the night to do all this while working my day job AND coaching, and of course nearly driving my wife insane, we created Zen Jiu Jitsu Events.
I can now offer something that no one in the jiu jitsu arena has offered before. A TRUE jiu jitsu retreat with the opportunity to learn from amazing black belt instructors, in a beautiful place, with your family and friends. What else could you want?