I started my Gracie Barra journey in September 2014.
I walked into the gym very apprehensively. I was a very heavy guy. I was 30st and 10lb in 2014. I thought I didn’t really belong or had the right to go there as I was very unfit and not used to exercising. I would walk up one set of stairs and be out of breath. I could hardly run the length of myself. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was always something that I wanted to take part in but always had the mindset of “I need to be fit to do this”. How wrong I was. Taking part in BJJ GETS you fit.
When I walked into the gym one of the blue belt lads showed me around and really made me feel at ease. It calmed me down and made me eager to get started. During the class I was exerting myself like I hadn’t been used to before and it was a fantastic feeling. Everyone was really welcoming and my preconceived notions that people would judge me just melted away. The next class I came in and met Ricky and he couldn’t have been nicer. I remember at the time I couldn’t even wear a gi as I couldn’t get one to fit and his words ring in my memory “We’ll get you into one in no time!”
As soon as I had my first few classes, I was hooked. All I could think about was when could I get back into the gym and “what techniques are we going to be learning this week?”. I love the rolling aspect of Jiu-Jitsu as I like testing myself with other people and seeing my strengths and weaknesses. I became a Jiu-Jitsu addict.
After my first class I had signed up for a membership and would talk to anyone who would listen to me about Gracie Barra and Jiu-Jitsu. Slowly but surely, I started to get into the swing of things and I attended a seminar with Lucio “Lagarto” Rodrigues and received my first stripe on my white belt. And this may sound cheesy but it was one of the proudest moments I’ve had. The seminar was fantastic and what made the biggest impression on me that day moreso than his techniques, were his words. Very inspirational and motivating.
I work shifts which is unfortunate as I can’t have a set pattern for Jiu-Jitsu. Luckily, the schedule is really wide with Gracie Barra so I can pretty much work it around my shifts. Recently, I also started taking P.T. sessions with coach Graeme and I’m now hooked on those too. Coach Graeme pushes me to my limits, we practice technique and we have a good laugh whilst doing so. It’s that kind of attitude and those kind of moments that really keep you interested in Jiu-Jitsu, in my opinion.
Fast forward to May 2015 and I am now 24 st 2lbs. I have three stripes on my
white belt and I am aiming to compete later in the year. My weight loss journey isn’t anywhere near complete, but Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu has helped me lose a lot of weight inside a short amount of time and has helped me turn my life around. A
nd in the process of doing so, I have made a lot of really great friends and met some fantastic people. I even have people asking me about it after seeing my results.