This past year has been a year of transition. There is no comparison to the previous year, and this one has become without a doubt, one of the best in history. Most of this has come from my exposure to Kyokushin Karate at Contact Kicks Dojo, an amazing teacher and philosopher, in my instructor Sensei Steve Fogarasi, and now most recently my BJJ teacher Coach Mike Aviado.
I have been really reflective the past couple of weeks. Classes have been punishingly hard, as the dojo prepares for testing and tournaments. Just when you think you can’t lift your leg one more time Sensei yells out for 20 more jodan mawashi-geri. You have to dig in and find the spirit to push through and persevere. Sensei Fogarasi tells us that the mats will show who we are and what we are made of, what type of character. When we think we have no more, are we able to tap into our reserves and spirit.
I was feeling like I wasn’t improving, especially as it relates to cardio and conditioning. But, when of the sempai reminded me how far I’ve come since I started, when I couldn’t get through two or three rounds without practically dying. He was right.
As I looked back I couldn’t believe how far I’ve come in the past seven months! I am a different person. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. And him telling me this not only made me reflective, it inspired me to up the game. I took on Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and started cardio and road-work. Began biking the 10k to my office and home every day, and alternate days from dojo training running a minimum of 6k.
This time last year I was stressed out, unhealthy, smoking, drinking, depressed and complaining. Not knowing what directions to take in life.
Flash forward one year and the difference is unbelievable. I feel like I’m in the greatest condition of my entire life, both mentally and physically, with healthy relationships, nothing to complain about and so happy with life. And unless it inspires me, I try not to make it part of my life.
This past weekend I was having bit of rough time, both on Kyokushin kumite night, Friday, as well as BJJ the next morning. I was feeling a little low and distracted. After class Coach Mike told me more about his background and where he came from. Before BJJ he was partying, drinking etc., and he was very hard on himself when he looked into the mirror. However, this all changed when he discovered BJJ. He transformed himself into a world caliber competitor and one of the most respected coaches in the game. And how did this transformation happen for him? How did he find out who he truly was? He looks at me with a smile, a smile that shows confidence shining through. Similar as Sensei Foagarsi says, Coach Mike smiles with his eyes and says… “The mirror lied, the mats told the truth”.