I have been a student of Jiu Jitsu on and off for many years now. Most of my training has been based here in the New Jersey / New York area, and some of it spanned the world while on active duty in the Marine Corps. All and all, I have been a student of martial arts for over 20 years. At this level of experience I have formed many habits, habits that are good for Jiu Jitsu, and habits that are not so good for Jiu Jitsu. Through my journey in BJJ, I have trained at numerous schools. Some schools had legit Gracie Jiu Jitsu instructors while some were just gyms with a blue belt instructing 10 minutes of basic level BJJ techniques followed by two hours of open mat. I’m not saying that one is better than the other, any kind of training is much better than sitting on the couch eating chips watching old UFC fights. It’s up to you, the student of Jiu Jitsu / MMA, to seek out a school, gym or an academy that works best for you.
For me, Training Grounds was like my Jiu Jitsu home; but because of location it made it difficult to make it to class as often as I would have liked. Anyone who lives in the northern NJ area can relate to the traffic on RT 4, RT 17 or the Garden State Parkway. From where I lived, Bergen County can be a nightmare to get to, so the commute to Westwood, Nj could easily turn into two hours. After almost two years away from training, I decided to jump back in – full force. My goal is to receive my Black Belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu and to train 3-4 times a week. To keep me honest I have started a blog on Buddhasport.com titled “The Jiu Jitsu Journals – My Journey from Blue Belt to Black Belt.” Making my goal public means I have a duty to fans of the site to follow through.
There is a saying I learned in the beginning of my martial arts training – “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Professor Horneff has always taught techniques in a way that made sense to me and if I didn’t understand he would explain it another way that would get through to me. So why wasn’t I training with him every chance I could? After all, he’s a Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt with a reputation of being one of the best BJJ instructors in not just Bergen County, but New Jersey. Even though I learn so much every time I’m around him, I wasn’t ready to be a student yet. Then the other day, I was watching an armlock video we had filmed and an inexplicable motivation hit me. Here, I have access to train with one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructors on the east coast, not to mention one of the few Ralph Gracie black belts on the east coast, and I’m sitting here spending hours on Facebook and Youtube getting fat.
I shot Professor Wil a text, and as always, he said “Come on down.” The teacher appeared to me because I was ready. Professor Wil had always been there knowing that when I was ready I would know. Maybe you have had a desire to start something, maybe it’s not even related to MMA, BJJ, or Kickboxing; maybe it’s some other skill altogether. You probably know where to go to learn this skill, so what are you waiting for? There is no time like the present. Ask yourself if you’re ready to be a dedicated student. To say you’re going to do something is good but to actually do it is better. The teacher is always there, it’s up to you to make them appear.