I was a newly grounded road warrior, having traveled across the country for work for over three years while trying in vain to do anything I could to stay in shape without going to a traditional gym. I really wanted stop hating the way I looked and felt physically .
And I really wanted to be athletic again. I missed that part of life from my youth.
The thing is I didn’t know exactly what to do to be athletic. Grown ups don’t really play sports like kids do and no gym routine I did stuck for longer than a few months. I just wanted to feel good again and be in shape like I was, and I didn’t know how.
And to make things worse, I felt like a quitter because I couldn’t stick to a routine. I was unhappy with my results and felt like I had wasted years of my life that I could not get back.
I had also blamed external factors and I knew that wasn't right. I was travelling too much. I didn’t have time to work out. Good gyms were too expensive.
I recognized that I had lots of excuses and had been lying to myself for quite a while.
Then something amazing happened...
I signed up at a jiu jitsu gym near my house on a whim and discovered REAL reasons to get in better shape!
Once I joined, it quickly became clear to me how to improve my fitness level in a very manageable way and in a structured environment.
I saw that I would never backslide or "quit" again, because my results were being measured by objective observers - my coaches. Seeing my own progress in athletics and having people say "You're actually doing a pretty good job." had never really happened before and meant the world to me. The all-for-one one-for-all mindset of everyone in the gym was something I had never even had in youth sports and is probably part of the reason I never stuck with anything even then.
I also started to understand that fitness programs that do work, always have a bigger reason for their success than just vanity or looks.
I now needed to compete every day. At first it was just against myself to get through warm ups and later it was competition with teammates in the gym in sparring. I was getting in shape out of necessity, not vanity.
As a result I stopped worrying about what I looked like and eventually even my results against teammates when I trained. I started really loving jiu jitsu for what it gave me outside of techniques and submissions and self-defense - all the things I think I subconsciously felt were important.
Suddenly, I was training every day that I could, and doing so at my own pace. I wanted to train jiu jitsu forever and take care of my body while doing so. I didn’t need to train hard or train like a professional player to enjoy jiu jitsu. In fact when I did, I usually ended up getting banged up being one of the smaller players in the gym.
My plan now was to start teaching everyone else how to train jiu jitsu for the health benefits and mental strength aspects that I loved.
I started teaching as soon as I could, assisting during class as soon as I got my blue belt.
Then I started running two beginner classes every week on my own.
After that, I took a much more prominent role and started assisting and teaching 10 hours every week at my instructor's new gym.
But there was still a major problem for me
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 was the hard truth. I didn't and don’t have the experience necessary in jiu jitsu to really make waves.
I decided to find some people who were already making the kind of waves I like, and get their message across to as many people as I could. I needed the right kind of jiu jitsu minds to help me.
Out of this desire came “Zen Trek Jiu Jitsu Events”.
I thought if I could make it possible to train with instructors and practitioners that think and feel the same way as me, in an amazing environment, and turn the whole thing into a vacation while I was at it, I’d be really happy. And there’d probably be lost of people interested in that kind of adventure too.
So after lots of phone calls and emails, making a website for the first time, weighing different formats and locations, working into many nights after my day job AND coaching, and of course nearly driving my wife insane, I created Zen Trek Jiu Jitsu Events.
I can now offer something truly unique in the jiu jitsu community. A jiu jitsu RETREAT with the opportunity to learn from amazing instructors, in a beautiful place, with family and friends. What else could you want?.
I’m really excited to host an event in Bend, Oregon at the Sunriver Resort featuring Roy Dean, Emily Kwok and "Trumpet" Dan Lukehart. These are three instructors that I have admired for years and that I will finally have an opportunity to learn from in person. And I'll be able to bring my wife and dog along for the trip - which was ALWAYS an impossibility with out-of-town events in the past.
I’m also really excited for you to join us!