Belt Rank : Blue
Years training : 2
School / Professor : VSBJJA,
5xWorld Champion Vitor “ Shaolin” Ribeiro
I have been a fitness professional for about 14 years, very passionate about it and extremely dedicated to it, done fitness competitions but about 3 years ago and
although at the top of my game, I found myself becoming extremely burned out, drifting away, completely losing interest, flat lining so to speak. I found
myself depressed and extremely out of focus. I had to do something to get out of the rut. I had to find a new performance goal that would help me grow as a person and as an athlete.
The first attempt was getting involved with self-defense Training. I met and trained Avi Nardia of KAPAP combatives who’s a Black Beltunder John Machado and some of the ground defense stuff he taught was based on BJJ. I remember it was extremely frustrating. I had no prior Martial Arts experience, (only some Muai Thai for fitness purposes) and nothing BJJ related was making sense to me. However, I am a person that likes to explore, so I decided upon returning to NYC (training was in Rochester NY) I will look for a school and give it a try. I went around, did trial classes at a few academies, but when I finally walked into Shaolin’s, I immediately knew this is where I want to be.
It was a bumpy ride. I thought that the fact that I am a trained dancer and an athlete will make things a piece of cake. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was even more frustrated than my initially experience in the combative training and felt that I would never get it. It took about 5 months for things to make sense to me and with the constant help and encouragement of Shaolin and my training partners, it has turned from a mere curiosity to an obsession. I had to take a 5 month absence from the mats due to a neck injury (unrelated to BJJ) and that was the moment that really sunk in, how in love I am with the art.
BJJ overall has made me a better person. It taught me that you can’t push for things to get better, but let go to allow them to get better. It taught me that in life you can’t just skip to the good part. You have to go through hard times and put yourself in an extremely vulnerable, uncomfortable situation, in order to achieve your goal. It also taught me to laugh with myself
and not take myself too seriously and train for me to get better, not to out train others. Bad days for my ego were great days for my soul. BJJ also made me a better fitness coach. It taught me to be patient with others and understand that everyone has a different rate of progressing. Last but not least, I have met some amazing people, that although they try to hurt me J , they have become my friends and important parts of my life!