Words by Shaun Gregory
There is something truly special about leaving your heart and soul on the mats, no matter the outcome, win lose or draw-the natural high from hand-to-hand combat can turn a terrible day into a great one.
At least that’s the experience I receive each time I open the doors to my Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) gym known as HuronBJJ in Clinton.
Sweat drips down my face, my heart pounds and as each match concludes, my stress levels decrease.
Since I can remember, I’ve always been a person who struggled with anxiety and I still do to this day.
But when I have my gi tied up (which looks like a traditional karate suit) and I’m training I feel free.
When your body is worked that hard, there is not much anxiety can do.
Anxiety acquires energy, and after rolling around trying to sweep, wrestle or submit your opponent for an hour straight, not much is left in the tank.
It’s safe to say, BJJ is the best consoler for many mental health problems.
Being a fan of Mixed Martial Arts, which consists of karate, wrestling, judo, boxing and a few others-I always wanted to dabble in one of the sports.
I tried kickboxing when I was about 16, but I got my butt kicked and quit after two weeks.
As the years progressed, I developed a passion for watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In UFC rules one can win a fight by points, knock out or submission.
With a background of heavy weightlifting, I decided to shift my interests into the submission side of it-BJJ.
It was all fine and dandy until this little 15-year-old girl submitted me after 30 seconds, talk about embarrassing. Not that she was a girl, but she was like 120 pounds give or take.
And that’s the way this sport works, it’s meant for a smaller opponent to beat a larger opponent.
BJJ is a grappling-based martial art with its central theme focusing on the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in various ways that force him or her to submit by tapping out.
Before I heard about the sport, I thought it was just a bunch of meatheads rolling around on the ground trying to strangle themselves. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s a sport, which influences friendship, and it’s not for brutes by any means, everything is calculated and based on technique and patience.
The best part about BJJ is how long it takes to get belts. Every person starts with a white belt and as they rise up the ranks it is replaced in order by blue, purple, brown and black belts.
To my knowledge, it takes about 10-12 years of training to receive your black belt, 0.5 per cent of people who have immersed themselves in the world of grappling have achieved such a feat.
It’s been about five to six years for me, so I cannot wait to be the small percentage of people in the world to be labelled as being in possession of the highest rank.
Roughly 10 of us from my gym in Clinton are competing in Toronto next weekend, so I hope we can bring back some hardware to Huron County.
Signing out from my house on a cool October day and giving you some advice, if you are ever thinking of training in MMA, just do it, you have nothing to lose-Shaun AKA the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guy.