Lessons From Our Trip To The Worlds
June 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Here at Island Top Team, we are all about learning, so when we sent a contingent down to the 2013 World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Long Beach, California a couple of weeks ago, it wasn't simply to compete, it was to learn as much as we could about ourselves, about Jiu-Jitsu, and about life dammit! Here's what we learned:
1- Jack In The Box is just amazingly delicious! At the beginning of the journey, our head instructor, Professor Robert, announced to our competitors that while they were free to choose their meal providers, he would exclusively be dining at Jack In The Box, on account of the insuperable pas de deux of flavor that is the waffle breakfast sandwich, and the sourdough jack burger. Met first with skepticism, the boys were soon converted, and the Jack In The Box down the street from the team's hotel became their second home, so much so that the manager, upon serving them their breakfasts one morning said "see you tomorrow", eliciting the reply "oh no, you'll see us tonight!".
And they did
2-Jack In The Box is a great place to eat if you want to lose weight. All of our competitors ate nothing but Jack In The Box (occasionally consuming more than they had ordered as the greatest restaurant in the entire known universe often gives you extra tacos or sandwiches you didn't even order!) while doing nothing but sit in a car for the 20 hour drive down to California, and yet they all lost weight before their weigh-ins.
3- The spirit of Jiu-Jitsu is not synonymous with the name Gracie. Island Top Team welcomes BJJ students who find themselves in Nanaimo for a week or two to train at our academy free of charge, because we believe in fostering a sense of community in the BJJ world (our head instructor has travelled extensively and found most academies he has visited to be similarly disposed). Alas, when looking for a place to roll during our visit, we checked out the Gracie Academy in Torrance, who wanted us to pay $40 per person for a drop-in fee for one class. We cordially invited them to get bent. Luckily, we were generously welcomed at a school named Jiu-Jitsu League, whose owner, BJJ black belt Kevin Howell, had arranged for open mat sessions every day of the week the Worlds were held so visitors from out of town would have a place to train. The night prior to their matches, Gary, Shane and Umesh, along with Dwayne (who thoughtfully joined us for the week to support the team and make sure Shane had a training partner to roll with as our head instructor was suffering from an obnoxious rib injury) were rolling next to the Miyao brothers, Leandro Lo, and various other lluminaries who would go on to dominate the brown and black belt divisions at the tournament:
They walked there in slow-motion, Reservoir Dogs-style
4- If you have to dry your gi just before competing to comply with IBJJF's stringent ruleset, California is a handy place to be.
The sun is the source of his power... no, that's a lie, it's actually Jack In The Box
5- Our guys are pretty good at Jiu-Jitsu. Aside from their competition results, the guys looked awesome when they rolled prior to and after the tournament. In addition, one of our students recently attended a Mendes bothers seminar, and found not only great success while rolling with several participants of higher rank, but that many of the details being shared at the seminar were ones he was already familiar with from class.
We also walk everywhere in slow-motion... sometimes while ignoring giant explosions behind us, no big deal
6- Professor Robert is a lousy tour guide. Sure, he brought the boys to the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, and the Griffith Park Observatory, but those were just by accident while he maniacally drove around looking for Jack In The Box.
Who said 'addiction'? Shut up!
7- Competition can be extremely motivating. Despite driving through the night to get back to Nanaimo, all 3 of our competirors attended class within hours of their return, ignoring the sleep deprivation, and the lack of available Jack In The Box here in Canada, with an eye towards improving their BJJ skills. Island Top Team is looking forward to sending an even larger contingent to either the Worlds or the Pan Jiu-Jitsu tournament next year (perhaps both!), to test ourselves against the best. We're certainly not planning to go for any other reason...