Thursday December 5th hosted promotions at Atos Jiu Jitsu, the last activity of another eventful year. Trails of cars lined the freeway, congested and frustrated, aching to get another foot forward. Offramps and the streets approaching the academy were no different, seemingly as if to commemorate the evening. At 5pm families descended desperately into the parking lot that Atos shares with several small restaurants, squeezing between cars and conspicuous concrete curbs, hoping for one last spot near the place next door. Such spaces quickly filled up and future attempts were fruitless. Moments later one of the business owners came in, requesting that all cars be moved away from marked spaces. Despite the chaos, however, those who attended somehow managed to navigate their life until the moment of their arrival.
With so many things relying on each other in order for the ceremony to go on as planned, the execution of them must be an expression of the importance of the evening, but yet again this is something that humans do every day. Though our obligations may decieve us, we have free will, and after fulfilling those obligations we can choose to do whatever we like with our time. Whether it be for us to spend an evening on the couch, or for us to eat a light balanced meal at lunch, work hard to get off early, go straight to the gym and work on a new position, it is our choice. Each day is as important as any other, and the concerted effort to take every day and make it a productive one is something to be rewarded in any aspect of life; Jiu Jitsu is no different.
Professor Galvao began, speaking greatly of the value of consistency and seeing every day as an opportunity. Consistency and discipline are first cousins and close friends, and getting acquainted to them is an inevitability when Martial Arts are involved. Martial Arts gives us a code of respect, an unwritten guide on how to act on and off the mat, but the classroom is always the mat and sometimes there are contradictions. Surely this is true at any age, as was evidenced at the very beginning of the night.
Jorge “Alito” Hererra, coincidentally the first to be promoted that night, shot his infantile hand skyward and shouted, catching Professor Galvao mid-sentence, “Can I go to the bathroom?” to which an eruption of laughter was met. Sometimes, the need to be respectful simultaneously cancels itself. Adults who arrived early parked in marked spots that on any other day would have gone unnoticed, only to be moved when the ceremony began. The drivers’ desire to be on time made them ultimately arrive later, upon which time they must enter the mat and also interrupt the Professor speaking in order to shake the hands of the black belts. Needless to say experience is needed in order to navigate the etiquette; experience that one gains while participating in something much greater than themself. The saying “It’s the journey not the destination” is very popular in Jiu Jitsu, and for good reason. At most schools, belts are given without a test. The level for which a belt is an expression is achieved through dedication and consistency, not to be studied for or thought of as achievable without every single other day in life that led up to it.
Still, Thursday was a day that marked a new chapter in many people’s lives, and this is something to be celebrated. Tradition asks us to remind those promoted that when they are built up, they must be brought back down right away and each promotion was met by being thrown by the black belts. Not a single minute passes after being complimented for achievement are students subsequently reminded that they are not invincible and as if that wasn’t enough, at the end of ceremonies all of those promoted are put through the gauntlet where everyone else removes their belt and pelts the promoted with it. Some do not like the keeping of this haze-like practice, but it is a very important reminder. Every day is a choice, same as the one before it and the one after it. Even if it feels more important than any other day, it is crucial that every one before it led to it and every one after it requests of us more choices. Our dedication, through the good and bad, no matter how close they are together, gets us where we want to be.
List of those promoted:
Grey and White Belts:
Jaeden “Keefer” Jaylo
Gabriel James Lala
Gideon James Lala
Yellow and White Belts:
Yellow and Black Belts:
Orange and White Belts:
Jaelin Rose Quinto
Lyric Joicelle Quinto
Orange and Black Belts:
Juan Carlos Carmona
Professor Andre Galvao will be in Brazil for the remainder of the year, back in time for your New Years Resolution training wishes. Gym hours and class schedule are the same until the gym closes December 25th-January 2nd.